The older gentleman remained in his wheelchair watching the TSA agent remove items from his overstuffed bag. As I walked by the agent held up two bottles, one of aftershave and the other, cologne, informing the seated witness that he couldn’t take these items with him onto his flight. Briefly, I saw the aged man look with bewilderment and confusion. Couldn’t take with him? But, he needed these things; after all, that is why he packed them. Unfortunately, the bottles stayed behind at the TSA counter.
I wonder how many of us will hear something similar upon meeting Jesus.
“You can’t take that with you.”
“But, wait Lord, I need these; the property, possessions, prestige, and power.”
“No, all those stay behind, all you can take with you, is Me.”
People living in the way of Jesus, responding to His gift of eternal salvation, will gather in glory with God. People, not things.
In life, we often think we need things to look good or help us navigate the challenges before us, like those two bottles. Consequently, we strive to get them and carry them with us through life, often becoming our focus, our passion.
What passion drives your soul? Can you take it with you when you meet Jesus? Is it a bigger house, greater income, being American, physical appearances, local news, gaining influence, loving people, building knowledge, sharing the gospel, or knowing Jesus? Or, is it something else?
How does what you hold close reveal your heart? Do those desires lead you toward Christ, or away from Him?
The week between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, or Easter, is known in church history as the Passion Week. We journey with Jesus into Jerusalem for Passover discovering with the first disciples that He will be the sacrifice, dying on a cross for our sins, defeating death, and rising again just as He promised. It displays the single greatest act of love in human history.
Have you ever pondered why this week carries the name “passion?” I find myself considering the “passion” of Jesus. He pursued people. He left the glory and riches of heaven to become the Way to God on earth. He humbly and willingly demonstrated His passion through suffering and sacrifice for you and me. We see His passion through His humble obedience.
What would it look like for you to slow down this week to examine intentionally your passions and pursuits?
For inspiration, follow in the footsteps of Jesus this Passion Week. Leaving heaven behind He pursued us, to become all humanity needed. His aim was the cross and the empty tomb for you and me. How does that compare to your passions and pursuits? As your guide, use this “Passion Week Timeline” to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus as you seek to gain perspective regarding your own passions. Is your goal to love God and love people? Or will you meet Jesus and hear, “You can’t take that with you.”
Whatever you discern about your passions can shape your life after this year’s Passion Week passes.
How does God want you put to work the gifts He has given you to make the gospel known to a lost, confused, and searching world? In what practical ways will you encourage those near and far to follow Jesus?
On my journey, the closer I get to Jesus, the more He becomes my one and only passion. I have determined that Jesus is my passion. I’ve learned that in Jesus, I have all I need. I don’t need property, possessions, prestige, or power. The life I live is not for me; it’s all for Jesus. I get to live for Jesus by helping people know and follow Him.
In just a few days we will grieve that our sin sent Jesus to the brutality of the cross. Search your heart; mourn your condition without Jesus. Don’t be so eager to run to the resurrection. Jesus’ death and sacrifice deserves attention. Use this “Good Friday Stations Booklet” to guide your reflection.
Then, joyously partake in the greatest celebration known to humankind, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Easter Sunday. Join me: abandon all other pursuits and make the passion of Christ your passion.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
A.W. Tozer. The Radical Cross: Living the Passion of Christ. Chicago, IL, 2015
Billy Graham. Hope for Each Day: Morning and Evening Devotions. Nashville, TN, 2012