The beginning is the end, and the end is the beginning.
Here's a wonderful, wonderful devotion from My Utmost.
The Missionary's Goal
In the natural life our ambitions alter as we develop; in the Christian life the goal is given at the beginning, the beginning and the end are the same, viz., Our Lord Himself. We start with Christ and we end with Him — until we all attain (RV) to the stature of the manhood of Christ Jesus, not to our idea of what the Christian life should be.
The aim of the missionary is to do God’s will, not to be useful, not to win the heathen; he is useful and he does win the heathen, but that is not his aim. His aim is to do the will of his Lord.
Let's imagine then that this passage was talking about love. We think- God will love me more if I did this, or if I was like this. That's not true. Just as the beginning and end of the Christian journey is the Lord Himself, His love is infinite and boundless. Our entirety is in Jesus. We are called to experience Him, to love Him, and to be with Him. Throughout. And His love for us is as unwavering and unfaltering as He Himself is!
In Our Lord’s life Jerusalem was the place where He reached the climax of His Father’s will upon the Cross, and unless we go with Jesus there, we will have no companionship with Him. Nothing ever discouraged Our Lord on His way to Jerusalem. He never hurried through certain villages where He was persecuted, or lingered in others where He was blessed. Neither gratitude nor ingratitude turned Our Lord one hair’s breadth away from His purpose to go up to Jerusalem.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
“The disciple is not above his Master.” The same things will happen to us on our way to our Jerusalem. There will be the works of God manifested through us, people will get blessed, and one or two will show gratitude and the rest will show gross ingratitude, but nothing must deflect us from going up to our Jerusalem.
By virtue of placing our gaze on Jesus, we become a blessing. Not when we go to the left or to the right. Not when we try to fix the world or try to better ourselves. I know it sounds counterproductive. But all that Jesus every asks us to do is to follow Him. Abide in Him. Love Him. And when the gaze is sufficiently fixed on Jesus, He gives us directions about life. From the inside our. From His heart to ours, not vice versa. Never vice versa.
“There they crucified Him.” That is what happened when Our Lord reached Jerusalem, and that happening is the gateway to our salvation. The saints do not end in crucifixion: by the Lord’s grace they end in glory. In the meantime our watchword is — I, too, go up to Jerusalem.
Go up to Jerusalem with Jesus. What's your Jerusalem? Where is your gaze? Follow Jesus. No matter the cost and no matter the condition. Fix your eyes on Him. It is simultaneously the most powerful and most docile action for any believer.
Featured image from here.