Day 371 | Thursday, 25 March 2021
As we draw closer to Palm Sunday, I was reviewing the Gospels as to what each had to say about the days prior to Jesus’ entry into the city of Jerusalem. This was the last journey Jesus would make with his disciples to the city. We find that in Matthew and Mark Jesus predicts his death and resurrection.
Matthew 20:17-19 Jesus predicts his death and resurrection 17 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve aside by themselves on the road. He told them, 18 “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Human One will be handed over to the chief priests and legal experts. They will condemn him to death. 19 They will hand him over to the Gentiles to be ridiculed, tortured, and crucified. But he will be raised on the third day.”
Mark 10:32-34 Jesus predicts his death and resurrection 32 Jesus and his disciples were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, with Jesus in the lead. The disciples were amazed while the others following behind were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he told them what was about to happen to him. 33 “Look!” he said. “We’re going up to Jerusalem. The Human One will be handed over to the chief priests and the legal experts. They will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles. 34 They will ridicule him, spit on him, torture him, and kill him. After three days, he will rise up.”
In the Gospel of John, a prophesy comes from Caiaphas: John 11:47-53
47 Then the chief priests and Pharisees called together the council and said, “What are we going to do? This man is doing many miraculous signs! 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our people.”49 One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, told them, “You don’t know anything! 50 You don’t see that it is better for you that one man die for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed.” 51 He didn’t say this on his own. As high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would soon die for the nation— 52 and not only for the nation. Jesus would also die so that God’s children scattered everywhere would be gathered together as one. 53 From that day on they plotted to kill him.
“It’s time to get moving. Jesus is heading with his disciples to Jerusalem and the cross. And he is out ahead of them.
“That is, always the way it is. Jesus is out ahead, leading the way. He beckons us to the cross – down the peculiar road of the kingdom where you give up all claims to having defined or established yourself on your own – but he always leads the way. He will not ask us to go somewhere he has not already been, and he will not abandon us to go anywhere difficult without him. Indeed, the whole of the Christian life, promise, and hope might be summed up by saying that “Wherever we may be, Jesus has already been; and where is now, we will someday be.”
“Mark describes some of those who follow as amazed others as afraid. Or perhaps many are some of both. Do they sense what is coming?
“Jesus is leading, but the road is still difficult. Moreover, almost every element of our culture counsels us against it. Deny one’s self? Put others first? Be dependent on grace, mercy, and forgiveness? Extend the same to others when they appear to have done you wrong? Risk suffering rather than embrace security? Madness.
“The madness of the kingdom. And so, Jesus goes ahead.
“If we find it difficult, we may take some comfort in discovering that Jesus’ first disciples found it no easier to follow than his latest. And so, Jesus tells them what will happen. And they don’t believe. So, he tells them again, and they don’t want to believe. And so, he tells them yet a third time, here, on the road to Jerusalem. And they just can’t believe what they hear. And so, he goes on ahead. He always will, leading us to the place we cannot go on our own, to bring us through death into life.”
Prayer: Dear God, help us to follow. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
PS - if any of you in WNY who receive this are on Spectrum cable, watch the news channel this morning to see an interview with the Shepherd and Mouse. This morning only.