The way we think about distance is a funny thing. I used to live in Sydney and had to travel for 40 minutes to get to work every day. When I moved to the Gold Coast, I was shocked to find out that I thought 20 minutes was too long to travel for some things.
And of course, if you live out in the country, distance is nothing for you!
Today I want to challenge you about where you are at with Jesus. I want to challenge you to go a little further for him. And I’m going to do it by looking at how he went a little further – in fact, all the way – for you.
The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 5:7–8 that,
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I want you to come with me to the night on which Jesus was arrested.
From Jerusalem, he walked the path that wound its way up the Mount of Olives with his disciples. He needed to be alone.
When he came to a place called Gethsemane, Jesus told most of his disciples to sit there and pray. Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and went a little further. Then he told them to stay there and watch with him.
Jesus was asking them for their moral support to help him face what was coming.
Then the Bible in Matthew 26:49 says that Jesus went a little further and fell on his face on the ground and prayed in agony of spirit.
The name “Gethsemane” means “the olive press.” There were many olive trees there.
And together with the olive trees, it seems that in the time of Jesus, there was an olive press there. This consisted of a massive circular depression cut into a rock. The olives would be harvested and placed there, and then oxen would pull a huge circular rock round and round, crushing the olives so that the oil flowed down a channel to be collected.
That’s like what was going to happen to Jesus on the Cross. All the sins of the world would be placed upon him, crushing the life out of him.
Think of it: Jesus would take into his life all the wrongs, cruelties, murders and atrocities ever committed. That includes all of the suffering, the loss, the pain, and the grief that anyone has ever gone through. Jesus would take all of it.
You see, Jesus went all the way. But then he went even further!
Just as he went through death for you, he also rose from the grave victorious for you.
You can’t go where Jesus went or do what he did, however he went before us and opened the way. So that today, if you trust in him, you are made right with God. That’s called being justified through faith.
And because of it, you’ve entered into true life the moment you believe. Jesus took what we have so that he could give us what he has: peace, happiness, and eternal life.
In 1984, as a young fellow, I remember being glued to the television, watching one of the most incredible finishes in the history of the Olympics. The place was Los Angeles. The race was the marathon, and the runner was the Swiss Gabriela Andersen-Scheiss,
She’d become dehydrated, and she was twisted in pain as she entered the stadium for the final lap. The medical personnel rushed to help her, but she waved them away because she knew that if they touched her, she’d be disqualified. And more than anything in the world, she wanted to finish.
The L.A. Coliseum crowd applauded her as she limped around the track, sometimes stopping to hold her head in her hands.
If there’s one thing she was thinking, I’m sure it’s, “A little further, a little further.
Whatever your situation, I’d like to invite you right now to decide to go a little further for him even if it’s just one step. What’s the next step he wants you to take?
And I’ll tell you why I’m inviting you to do this. It’s because of how far Jesus went for you, because he went all the way.
You may be someone who hasn’t ever decided to follow Jesus before. Right now, you can decide to trust him with your life. Let him lead, one step at a time.
Or you may be someone who has already come a long way in life due to following Jesus. Jesus went all the way for you, so go a little further for him.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question. Sign up to his free online course called Becoming a Follower of Jesus to learn about Jesus and His message.