Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus

"Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus" is the call that stands at the heart of Crosstown's "Verse of the Year" for '21 from Hebrews 12:1-3.  Our Lenten series will challenge us to move forward in our vision of Jesus.  We'll look at the core of Jesus' teaching that directs us to live in a new and distinct manner.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.  I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.  I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.  Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!

 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me.  I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”
John 17:20-26 
Here is the prayer at the "heart" of Jesus' ministry.  It is sometimes called "the REAL Lord's Prayer."  Literally, Jesus is praying for US!  Jesus is crying-out to the Father that his followers would live-out a unity that is beyond human capacity to understand.  In our fractured and polarized climate, how can we possibly live-into this prayer?  
“In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.  But now you have been united with Christ Jesus.

Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.  He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.  Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near.  Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people.

You are members of God’s family.  Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.  We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.  Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.”
Ephesians 2:12-22
Jesus' work and sacrifice on the cross is about the restoration of our relationship with God.  YES!  And...there is more!  Paul boldly proclaims that "blood of Jesus" has transformed our human relationships with one another.  The community of Jesus is to be a "space beyond enemies" where we live in peace with one another--including those with whom we disagree.
Rather than simply a focus on "me and Jesus," the practice of "fixing our eyes on Jesus' is a spiritual "super power."  
Lent is a journey that reorients our lives to view others through the radical lens of grace and mercy!    
-Pastor John
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