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Oct 5 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Fifty-eight – Matthew 20:17-19

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death . . .” Matthew 20:17-18

The reason I chose to spend three hundred and sixty-five days with Jesus in the Gospels was to get to know him through those who lived and traveled with him and whose lives were transformed by his teaching, touch, and person. To know Jesus Christ is the ongoing goal of Christian spirituality (Php. 3:7-10).

In the passage above, Jesus was walking with his disciples into his destiny. There were others on the road with them, but for this particular message he took the twelve aside so that he could speak to them privately. What he had to say was not for the crowd, but only those closest to him.

Why did Jesus tell the disciples what was waiting for him in Jerusalem? I doubt that it was to prepare them for it, because they never understood these brief announcements (Lk. 18:34). True, he wanted to give them notification that these things would happen so they would not stumble, but remember when they happened that he had known they were coming (Jn. 16:1, 4). There was another, more important, reason Jesus unburdened his heart to them.

The stress of what Jesus was carrying proved to be too much for his mortal heart and mind–it was enough to kill him (Mt. 26:38). He wanted to share the burden of his suffering and sorrow with others who loved him. The wonder of it, is that he opened his heart to humans rather than to angels. He showed them his future, but he also let them look into his soul.

Lord Jesus, it is in giving Yourself to us completely that we come to know You. We see in Your pain and grief, experiences that are not unlike our own. Oh Lord, You too know what this feels like. Only in Your case, it is for us that You suffered. Thank You for drawing close to us so that we can draw close to You.

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