Headed for Jerusalem

Mark 10: 32–And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem and Jesus was ahead of them…

As I read these words today, the solemnity of Holy Week came upon me. Suddenly, Holy Week wasn’t about being done with Lent. It became about following Christ into Jerusalem, to that tumultious week where he went from praises and “Hosanna!” to being mocked,  beaten and killed. Walking to Jerusalem to die.

Jesus  knew exactly what was going to happen to him: “’See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise’” (Mark 10:33-34). In the past I’ve thought of this speaking in the third person as a way of allowing the disciples to continue to stay in the dark if they wished to, but today it struck me that maybe Jesus did this for himself as a way of keeping some psychological distance on what was about to happen to him. Steeling himself for what he knew was to come.

It all seems so surreal. What person in their right mind would walk into a trap set for them that they know will result in their death? Our human spirits shrink from this, just as the disciples did: “And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid” (Mark 10:32).

Do we truly understand what is about to happen to our Lord Jesus Christ? Are we willing to walk with him in the face of our fear and come face-to-face with death once again–Christ’s death and our own death? Can we watch with him in Gethsemane, weep with Mary and John at the foot of the cross and then wait in hopeful expectation that what he spoke of would come true–that he would rise after three days?

Let us set our faces to Jerusalem. We will undoubtedly, like the disciples, find that we are not able to follow Christ as we hope to, but he will forgive our forgetfulness and fearfulness. Just keep him ahead of you.

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