Just about everyone I talk to says the same thing, “Lent is rushing by.” It seems impossible that Palm Sunday is upon us and before you know it we will be returning to the events of Holy Week and finally the supreme joy of Easter.
What was Jesus doing at this time? Luke tells us (KJV), “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face that he should go to Jerusalem.” His mind made up, his resolve one hundred percent firm, he turned south heading right for Jerusalem.
Jesus knew what awaited him there. He knew he would suffer horribly and be executed. Yet he “set his face” for Jerusalem. There is no small irony in Jesus’ going to Jerusalem to die. It should have been a lark. It was the city of God, Zion. It was the center of the universe for the Jews. It was the place where the Son of God should have been exalted. Instead in the most ignominious way imaginable, God’s Son suffers an ugly death at hands of the highest religious officials in the faith.
Jesus knew what he was doing these last days of his life. How about us? Are our faces steadfastly set toward the goal? What is that goal?
The goal of Jesus was our salvation. Our goal is to follow him. Jesus gave himself. Our goal is to give ourselves. Jesus did what he did to glorify God. Giving God glory is our purpose too. We review what we are doing and how we are living. Do we strive to give of ourselves in our families, our marriages, our church, our community, nation and world? Have we set aside lesser goals, like our own advantage and taken up holy ones, like Jesus? Have we responded to the call of the Holy Spirit to care? Have we asked God to open our eyes to see human need and how to respond to it, loving neighbor as self?
One thing we have learned from the pandemic is that no matter our circumstances, new or old, good or tough, we are still the same, given the same challenge, to live as followers of Jesus.
In the little bit of Lent left to us, let’s picture Jesus in our minds. He and the disciples are walking along the main road, the highway if you will. They see what Jesus has in mind. They see his resolve to walk into the teeth of the lion, to put himself in mortal danger. They follow. They follow till he is arrested then in fear they flee. They do not come back to him until after he comes seeking them out after his death and his rising from the grave. When he comes to them a new age has dawned. In that age, the age of the resurrection we live. Our lives are hid in Christ’s life. We are a new creation.
In this last little slice of Lent may our faces be steadfastly set looking where Jesus is looking. To the reconciliation of many, to the life of his church, to the coming age of his return.
Please pray with me. “Dear Lord, Jesus could have gone the opposite direction, instead full of resolve and commitment to you, he went to Jerusalem. Their hatred did him in, taking him to the cross. For us he endured that. May we be as resolute as he, dear God, in obeying and loving you. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”