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Lent: Looking to Jesus

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This Lenten season, Pastor Eugene encourages us to look to Jesus, our trailblazer who has paved the way for our future joy and glory. 

During my National Service days, I used to dread Sunday evenings. That was usually the time when I would have to report back to camp. After a weekend of rest and relaxation, it was tough to return to the rigour of army life. My army buddies and I would invariably experience the “booking-in blues” as we made our way back to camp on Sunday evenings. The last leg of my journey involved walking in from the main road to the camp entrance. I remember how my heart would grow heavier with every step.

Jesus' experience

But this is nothing compared to what the disciples experienced as their Master, the Lord Jesus, approached Jerusalem. Getting each step towards the city would have filled them with greater fear and foreboding.

The disciples knew what was coming. Jesus had already warned them twice about what to expect: “And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.” (Mark 8:31); “He was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” (Mark 9:31)

Yet, Jesus was remarkably unperturbed. He was “walking ahead of them” (Mark 10:32), determined to do his Father’s will. The disciples were amazed at Jesus’ resolve, but also afraid of what lay in store for Him and them. If their Master was to suffer and die, then what would become of His followers?

We live in uncertain times. While we can be thankful for how the pandemic situation appears to be improving, other things such as wars, rising costs, and health concerns worry us. Besides the external circumstances, we also face struggles within. Our hearts may be grappling with idolatry and sin, with fear and anxiety, with anger and bitterness, with discontentment and resentment, or with discouragement and depression. Like the disciples we, too, may be questioning what will become of us in this troubled world.

Beloved, let us consider Christ as we draw closer to Good Friday and Easter. Heed the encouragement of Hebrews 12:2: “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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Jesus went resolutely to the cross because of the joy set before him. What is this joy? It is the sure hope of life and glory. Jesus looked forward to His resurrection from the dead, and His exaltation to His heavenly Father’s right hand. For our Lord and Saviour, the pathway to everlasting joy went through Calvary.

Jesus, our hope

We celebrate Good Friday and Easter by praising our gracious God for what Jesus Christ has done through His life, death, and resurrection to save undeserving sinners like us. This is the wonderful, good news of the gospel: If we turn away from our sins and trust in Christ alone for salvation, then we are united to Him by faith. Where He is, there we shall be also. Therefore, because Jesus has obtained the joy set before Him, we can also be assured of future joy. 

Jesus is our trailblazer. Because He faithfully trod the path to the cross, the way to life and glory has been opened to us. He is the founder of our faith. He died and rose from the dead, that we might die to sin and be raised to new life.

Jesus is also the perfecter of our faith. He who began a good work in us shall not fail to bring us safely home to glory. So, let us take courage and not lose heart. This Lenten season, let us consider Christ and hope in Him. Thanks to Jesus, we can take up our cross now, confident that we shall one day enter His joy.

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So, let us look to Jesus, who leads us from death to glory! Let us gather with and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ with the promises of the gospel. And let us speak of Jesus that others may also know Him.