Written for “Transitions” by Anton Lim & Terra Leavens
“Any thought of Christ using me to change the lives of students on my campus was completely absent when I first started university.
But by the time I entered fourth year, my dominant thought and prayer was, “Jesus, how can You use me to help students discover the life-change that comes from knowing You?”
– Jonathan, P2C Alumni
You are about to embark on a significant journey.
Everyone says it, but that’s because it’s true—your time at college or university will be life-changing.
Picture yourself, for a moment, standing at the edge of your new campus. As you look out over the buildings and people, what goes through your mind? There are people you’ll meet, things you’ll learn, choices you’ll make that you can’t even imagine right now.
But it’s really not just about the degree or diploma.
This moment in your life actually reminds me of a moment in Jesus’ ministry. There are some interesting parallels here. Now, before you think I’m over-spiritualizing, check this out…
STANDING AT THE EDGE
The week before Jesus was to go to Jerusalem to make His ultimate sacrifice, He was with His disciples doing ministry. Luke 9 records that He sent out His disciples to every village and town to preach the gospel. He fed the 5000, and performed many other miracles. It was in the midst of all this that His disciples heard Him predict His own death.
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Luke 9:22)
And a second time…
“But while they were all marvelling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.’ But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.” (Luke 9:43-45)
“The Son of Man must suffer…and be killed….” There it is, in black-and-white; the greatest event in all of human history declared to the disciples. God’s plan of salvation was fast approaching and the disciples have inside information.
The disciples did not understand
But the disciples did not understand. Twice Jesus tells them what is about to occur, but they are wrapped up in the excitement of their own lives, marvelling at miracles, and bickering about who was the greatest. They were missing the bigger picture.
Plainly said, they had no idea what Jesus was talking about.
But Jesus knew His purpose
Jesus, on the other hand, knew that His Father had sent Him to earth for this very event. It was a earth-shattering, heaven-altering event, and Jesus was ready to embrace it.
The disciples were distracted
Naturally, there was a lot going on in the disciples’ minds, and they were distracted. Consumed with their own affairs, the disciples started arguing about who was the greatest. Perhaps they were looking forward to Jesus overthrowing the reigning Roman empire, and wanted to be first in line.
But Jesus was focused
Jesus, on the other hand, knew what was ahead and understood it. And He was absolutely focused. We read in 9:51, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”
HE SET HIS FACE
“He set His face to go to Jerusalem.”
Amidst the disciples’ confusion and distraction, Jesus knew that what was ahead of Him was going to be nothing short of significant. He was focused and determined. Like a horse wearing blinders to keep it from looking to the right or left, Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem”. He was on a mission and he was not going to be distracted.
Yes, Jesus knew it would be extremely painful, but He had greater things on His mind. The writer of Hebrews 12:2 tells us it was for “the joy that was set before him” that he went to Jerusalem and the cross.
What does this have to do with going to university or college?
DO YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR PURPOSE?
It’s really not just about the degree or diploma.
What lies ahead for you at university or college will impact the direction of your whole life. As you head off to school history will be made. The question though is whether you understand the possibilities of this significant season. It is no accident that you are going to university.
Have you considered that God invites you into a great missional opportunity?
At Power to Change, we’re all about helping students discover Jesus. We want to see you grow in your faith, and we want your peers who have never heard Jesus’ incredible, life-changing message to have the opportunity to discover Him.
God has plans to invite people into relationship with Himself, and invites each of us to participate. Have you considered that God could use your time on campus to help others discover Him?
ARE YOU FOCUSED? ARE YOU DISTRACTED?
There are many new experiences to be had, and a ton of new responsibilities. It will be thrilling, exciting, and hard. How will you keep yourself focused on how God wants you to invest your time?
It’s good to focus on academics, future career paths, and building lasting friendships, but dream a little as well…
How could God work in and through you?
How could God use you to change eternity?
And how will you keep that as your focus?
SET YOUR FACE TOWARDS SEPTEMBER
The next two to four years hold an amazing amount of opportunity for you to get involved in what God is doing on campuses across Canada. Did you know that there are tens of thousands of students in Canada who don’t know Jesus, who have never heard the life-changing message of the gospel?
As you set your face towards Concordia, or U of T, or Langara, or wherever you will attend, consider the mission ahead. God is calling you to embrace the work He has for you as His ambassador on campus.
Will you let Jesus make His appeal through you to the thousands of students on your campus who do not yet know who He is?
HOW TO GET FOCUSED
1. Know your purpose
Take some time by yourself, perhaps in your favourite chair, or outside in your favourite spot. Ask God what He wants to do through you during your college or university career. Read Luke 9 and ask God to give you a vision for your time in school. Consider sharing what you hear with a trusted friend. How will you keep this vision before you?
2. Find other Christians on mission
Don’t wait to find a group of like-minded Christians. You can find the Power to Change group on your campus right now. Click on your school. Then click and join the local campus P2C Facebook group. Introduce yourself and get connected.
Will you ‘set your face’ towards your campus?
“It was during my first year on campus that I boldly asked Jesus to help me see those around me like He does. Since then, I have had an unshakeable burden to point my friends and classmates to the One who has ‘all authority in heaven and earth.’
“Looking back at my post-secondary career, I am deeply grateful for my education, but I am most thankful for the friends with whom I took the initiative to share the gospel and those on my floor in residence who I served. I am thankful for the friends who pursued Jesus together with me and who took risky steps of faith.
“These are the memories that will last, and their impact echoes into eternity.”
– Jonathan, P2C Alumni