Let’s take a moment to look at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46) where Christ endured agony in His soul as He foresaw the suffering and the burden of the sins of the world. Gethsemane comes from the Hebrew words ‘gath’ meaning press and ‘shemen’ meaning oil. The symbolism of olive oil and the suffering of Christ is significant, since olive oil, one of the staple ingredients of Jewish life, is produced through a rigorous process of crushing the olives.
Watch this to gain perspective:
The crushing of Christ brought us salvation and the riches of heaven. The cross became the gateway to joy, and led to the glorious fruit of Christianity across the world.
Isaiah 53:10, 11 [NLT]
But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief.
Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants.
…..And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.
Our mandate as Christ’s followers is to love as Christ loved, and offer ourselves as a sacrifice and aroma to God (Ephesians 5:2), which is the heart of a lifestyle of missions to unreached countries.
Here is a story of crushing and sacrificial love that has galvanised generations. Jim and Elisabeth Elliot shared a passion for taking the Gospel to those who had never heard, thus went to eastern Ecuador as missionaries, part of a team of five young families. Their objective was to share the Christian story with a violent, isolated Auca tribe. The five men including Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, Peter Fleming, Nate Saint, and Ed McCully—were slaughtered in 1956 by members of the tribe.
Elliot lived up to his quote “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” See his journal entry in the image shown.
But Elisabeth stayed in Ecuador, met two Auca women who lived with her for a year, and went to live with the murderous tribe. She and her daughter stayed for two years, and many came to Christ. Others have since continued to work with the tribe, and most of them now follow Christ.
Reflect on the cross, and Christ have your soul, your life, your all, declare your life to be one of sacrifice and impact.
Reflect on Jim Elliot’s quote and pray the Holy Spirit move us to have a heart for the unreached and persecuted church
- That we repent of our cozy lifestyle, willing to be crushed and offered for Christ (Luke 9: 24), fearlessly tell others about Jesus.
- the Lord open our hearts to be Kingdom builders – being either a Sender or a Goer to the persecuted nations.
Check the News and pray choosing one nation per day for the next 5 days: Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Ukraine/Russia, Syria/Turkey.
- for the Muslim community to find Christ during Ramadan (Fasting month started 23 March)
- for the churches in Muslim nations, especially the Christians for whom Ramadan is a time of extra pressure and anxiety.
- that the Christian witness would inspire those who plan to harm them.
- that God would provide supernaturally for the physical needs of persecuted Christians.
- that Christians experience God’s peace, wisdom and discernment in their weakness and harsh circumstances.
22 Mar 2023