How can we share Jesus' journey? We talk about sharing the Bible ... God's Word, and that is good. But remember what John 1 said ... "In the beginning was the Word (meaning Jesus) and the Word was with God and the Word was God." So ... when we share God's Word, aren't we supposed to share Jesus? And how can we share Jesus if we are only observers of His journey? Here is my point.
I hear people say "I love the Bible!" or "He/she really loves Scripture!" This might be true, but do you grasp what the Bible and Scripture are asking of us? These are not words on a page to be solely read, memorized and observed. Jesus desires that we participate and live in them. For if we share His journey, we walk His path, live His life, see through His eyes and hear through His ears.
The people of Smyrna got this loud and clear. They understood that God's purpose and Jesus' plan did not deliver us from suffering and struggling for our faith. In fact, they are commended for their following Jesus (as is expressed in Hebrews 13) "outside the camp." Here are the words of that passage ... "So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore!" [Hebrews13:12-13]. As I think of all of the pop-theology and "land-over-yonder" thinking about God anesthetizing our pain as a primary part of His plan, I am reminded of John 17's prayer of Jesus in which He asks God NOT to remove His followers from the world but to protect them from Satan. In this prayer and the words before and after, Jesus tells His followers they WILL have pain, suffering and heartache, but that He has overcome all worldly things on their behalf. There is nothing the world can throw at us that Jesus cannot redeem.
If you love the Bible and Scripture, remember that our love for God's Word means we love Jesus enough to understand that following Jesus means we do suffer, struggle and strive, because we will eventually arrive at our home with/in Him. Thanks be to God! Randy