A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem (Road Trip). In summary, Jesus started that last trip in a great crowd, but when He took His final steps, He was alone. Of course, we know that the Cross was not the end of the story, and with Jesus’ Resurrection, it was actually the beginning of a new story.
When Jesus set out on that last “road trip,” Luke 9:51 tells us that “...Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” The King James version tells us that “He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” This was no casual, spur-of-the-moment journey. Rather, this was the journey that Jesus was literally born to make. And He knew it. Resolutely. Steadfastly. He had told the disciples at least three times what would happen (I’m using scripture from Luke, but the gospels of both Matthew and Mark contain the same predictions.)
Luke 9:22 “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law, and He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.“
Luke 9:44 “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.”
Luke 18:31-33 “Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him, and spit on Him; they will flog Him and kill Him. On the third day He will rise again.’”
When Jesus set out, not only did He know exactly where He was going, but He also knew exactly what was going to happen.
Author Roy Gobel, in his edgy 2022 “Junkyard Wisdom” blog, details Jesus’ final journey:
He’s walking to Jerusalem with people who are deeply engaged with his work. Many will die for him.
He’s walking to Jerusalem with a large crowd of people with a wide range of motivations for following. Some have good intentions, while others are more self-interested.
He’s walking to Jerusalem with people, like certain Pharisees, who are actively engaged in undermining him.
He’s walking to Jerusalem despite warnings from his inner group and people he meets along the way.
He’s walking to Jerusalem knowing that it’s his last road trip. He knows the pain and suffering awaiting him.
He’s walking to Jerusalem talking about worry, being lost, being hated, and the evil lurking in our hearts.
He’s walking to Jerusalem telling stories about the beauty of the kingdom of God.
He’s walking to Jerusalem and grows tired and gets hungry … and yet still has to attend parties with people who annoy him.
He’s walking to Jerusalem ready to let hypocrites know what he really thinks of their act.
He’s walking to Jerusalem looking for every chance to be generous and loving toward the sick, the victims of abuse, and the pure of heart.
He’s walking to Jerusalem giving everything he has to give—and still walking resolutely. Still understanding what will be asked of him when he arrives.
Jesus can seem like a walking contradiction. One moment filled with compassion, the next shouting “woe to you!” But the Jesus we meet in Luke’s road trip is deeply human. He is shockingly loving. He is unfathomably brave.
For the disciples, Jesus’ words about His Crucifixion and Resurrection made no sense:
Luke 18:34 “But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what He said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.”
Why did Jesus hide the meaning of His words from His closest followers? It’s easy for those of us on this side of the Cross to shake our heads at the disciples’ lack of understanding, but I’m pretty sure we would not have been any wiser.
If they had understood Him, they probably would have thought that this final trip to Jerusalem was the end of the road, and they would have done everything in their power to prevent the trip. But instead, Jesus’ approach to Jerusalem was filled with joy:
Luke 19:36-38 “As He rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As He was now approaching the path down the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”
As Easter approaches, we are again on the road to Jerusalem with Jesus, and because we now know the meaning of the end of the journey, we can also shout, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”
I hope see you on that road!
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