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« Unconditional Surrender | Main | God and (Guess What?) »

Two Miles to Bethany 

“And he led them out as far as Bethany.”  Luke 24:50 

It all started at Bethlehem; it all ended at Bethany. Both places saw miracles, angels, crowds of believers. Bethlehem was the beginning; Bethany was the ending. Bethlehem was the first hope; Bethany was the final glory. The two locations were close to each other physically, but how far from Bethlehem to Bethany really? We could ask the surveyors, the road builders. But why not ask the one who walked the road in question? How far?  How far from a great beginning to a grand finale? How far from an honorable mention to the grand prize? How far from an also-ran to the championship? I submit that Bethany is beyond the good. To do well is good.  To go beyond is great! 

Take the case of Samson.  He compromised his power.  In the lap of Delilah, he became spiritually blinded to the source of his strength.  He actually thought that he—himself—was the one who was responsible for his own abilities, strengths and achievements. But, there is a very telling scripture that describes the condition of Samson after he lost his hair.  “When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, ‘Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart.’ So, the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand. Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ So, he awoke from his sleep …but he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.  Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison. However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven.” Judges 16:18-22. 

Samson finally got to his own Bethany, but his Bethany was beyond his dungeon!  Bethany is always farther than you anticipated, farther than you wanted to go, farther than the flesh appreciates. Something must die on the road from Bethlehem to Bethany.  Bethany is beyond the sacrifice—maybe the sacrifice of your most prized possession!  “That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.” -Thomas Paine. 

How far is it to Bethany? And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” Matthew 5: 41.  In mileage, Bethany is somewhere between one and two miles from Bethlehem. If you only go one mile, you will never get there. At the end of the first mile, Jesus was a great teacher, a miracle worker and a leader of men.  One mile would have been enough for an also-ran.  If he came to seek, but not save, one mile would have been enough.  If he touched someone, but didn’t transform that person, one mile would have been enough. He was all of those things at the end of the first mile. But, at the end of the second mile, he started a revolution! The second mile made him the Savior The second mile made him the victor over death, hell and the grave. The second mile made him the ransom for mankind.

You cannot get to your Bethany of Glorious Ascension unless you are willing to go to your Gethsemane of Complete Consecration and Calvary of Ignominious Crucifixion.  Some are more than willing to have a nice building, a place for weddings, baby dedications and funerals, to just be nice people, good citizens, have reasonably happy lives. You can have all these things at the end of the first mile. But, if your life is to count for more, keep going.  This is not the challenge of the also-rans. It is the challenge of the champions.Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24.

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