We are hosting early morning gatherings this week. I thought I’d post my reflections on and/or excerpts from my teaching.
As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. (Luke’s Gospel, 9:51)
‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned. And you will never see me again until you say, “Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ (Luke’s Gospel, 13:34-35)
I believe Jesus knew exactly what was waiting for him in Jerusalem. I think he knew the storm he was stirring up, and that when we walked into the center of the storm, he would encounter pain and suffering and death.
And he went anyway.
He went because, as Israel’s king, he was going to (finally) be the suffering servant that God had wanted Israel to be. He went because he knew that God wanted to take his mission to the whole world, to the people beyond the borders of Israel, but in order to do that someone had to pay the price for Israel’s sin, someone had to end the exile that Israel was in so that the light could go out to all the nations.
In this sense, Jerusalem represents the fulfillment of his mission, and “the road” is the path to that mission. Everything is leading up to this moment, this destination.
I love that phrase, “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”
He strips everything away, and begins to focus on the culmination of his mission. Distractions will no longer be allowed. He has to complete his mission.
As we begin our own journey to the cross on Friday, is there anything distracting you?
In a sense, our mission this week is to enter into the story of Jesus’ last week. By doing that—by faithfully and compassionately remembering Jesus’ last days, suffering, and death—we are making the story current and real.
- Can you “resolutely” set out for Friday?
- Is there something you need to set aside for these final days of lent, in order to allow God to work in your life?
- What can you do to clear space for your mission this week: to listen to and experience the fulfillment of Jesus’ mission?