We Reach for Crowns, but Run from Crosses


Peace and comfort is what we all seek. No matter our geography, we all want peace and comfort. As I sit in my home, I look at all the comforts of life I desire. First, I feel the warmth of the heater. Well, it’s not that those things are wrong, but sometimes they are barriers to growth and development. In the flesh, our focus is on us, on that which makes us look or feel good not on that which makes us good. We Reach for Crowns, but Run from Crosses, but not so with our LORD. The opposite is true. He reached for His cross and not His crown. Let’s peer into John 18 to see this.

“When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.

Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.””

First, this portion of text begins with Jesus completing His prayers. We under-estimate the need for prayer in our lives. It is an under utilized and necessary practice and tool in our lives; yet, Jesus, who was God incarnate, modeled for us how we should face adversity and hardship, trials and tribulations, betrayals and denials by those whom we love. It was not just for this moment, but it was a regular practice of Jesus’. His betrayer, Judas, knew exactly where Jesus went to prepare.

Jesus’ prayer and knowledge prepared Him for what was about to happen. Remember John 13, that is where Jesus told Judas “What you are about to do, do quickly.” Instead of serving Himself, He was serving His God and Father. Like Jesus, we should seek to serve our God and Father, but We Reach for Crowns, but Run from Crosses. 

Jesus evidences His deity by demonstrating that He knew (v4) all that was going to happen. Jesus knew the cross was coming, but He did not shrink back from it. In fact, the text tells us that He “went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”” Jesus reached for His cross but not His crown. How do we know? Again, the text tells us. “Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” When Jesus made another I AM declaration power from that declaration resulted in his pursuers, who were armed, to fall to the ground. We will address that power another day. Today, we want to focus on how contrary Jesus is to our actions as We Reach for Crowns, but Run from Crosses. Jesus could have chosen to destroy those coming to carry Him to the cross. He did not. Jesus, long before the cross, counted the cost of redeeming man by giving up His crown and His life. He willingly did so. John 10:18 “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”

We run away from trials and hardship. We run to comfort and convenience. We Reach for Crowns, but Run from Crosses. As believers in Christ Jesus, our actions must be different. Philippians 2 tells us “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Jesus did not reach for His crown. He reached for His cross. He was not selfish but selfless. We are told if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ…be like-minded. If you call Christ Lord and Savior, you can no longer position yourself selfishly – We Reach for Crowns, but Run from Crosses, we must reach for Christ who considered Himself less than what He was to accomplish God’s will. Our lives are not our own. We must see life as Paul exhorts in Galatians 2:20 “20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” For the believer, our lives cannot be consumed with reaching for crowns, the convenient and comfortable, without being willing to reach for the crosses, selfless moments where we endure hardships and trials. After all, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 Be blessed.

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