Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem.
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:
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.”
Jesus is on the road to Jerusalem. He is travelling there with his disciples but others join them in a sort of travelling pilgrimage convoy. Perhaps the crowd are there because they are simply caught up in the moment. The disciples are there because they are following and learning from Jesus. Jesus is there because it is his destiny, his purpose, the reason why he came.
His travelling on the road has something of the ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’ feel from the ‘Wizard of Oz’. The difference is he is not travelling to the Emerald City but to the ‘Holy City’.
Except when he gets there he will discover that rather than being the ‘Holy City’ it is
The ‘Empty City’
The ‘Rebellious City’
The ‘We are in control City’
And as in the Wizard of Oz it will all be a bit of a sham.
Or as the great Bob Dylan might sing:
How does it feel,
How does it feel,
To be on your own,
With no direction home.
Like a complete unknown,
Just like a rolling stone?
Jesus would have preferred to be going to Jerusalem to gather its people to him like a bird with its chicks under its wings. That was never going to happen. Instead there is an ominous gathering of grey clouds.
He is on the road to:
A climactic show down
An ultimate collision
A last battle
A Jerusalem finale
Or perhaps just to hand himself in
It is a bit like Frodo and Sam on their way to the mountain top darkness of Mordor in ‘Lord of the Rings’. The difference here is that it is not the ring but the ring bearer who must be destroyed and there will be no rescuing eagles at the end of Jesus’s road.
If we are following Jesus then we must be on a road too. Where is your purposeful road taking you to? Or are you aimlessly drifting? Or perhaps you are sitting on a roadside bench and you have been on it longer than you realise? Or maybe you are stuck at a crossroads or repeatedly going round a roundabout and uncertain which exit to take?
Of course the big difference between us and Jesus is that he was on the road to the Old Jerusalem. We are travelling to the New one, to a place of light, healing and eternity. You can read about it in Revelation chapter twenty.
The American poet, Robert Frost, talks about walking through a ‘yellow wood’. Suddenly the road forks. Will he follow the main and well-worn pathway or will he go on the grassier one, ‘the one less travelled’. The poem reminds us of Jesus talking about the two roads, the broad ‘full of people’ road and the ‘more demanding’ less used uphill track. In both cases the ‘road less travelled’ is the best one to follow. Life as a journey is a very common metaphor. Of course, thinking and reading about the journey is one thing but actively following Jesus, striding out on the road is another matter.
Get your feet on the path.
Meet other people on the way,
Enjoy the occasional picnic,
Live the adventure.
Question, which line in this little piece best applies to where you are on the journey?
As you travelled, help me to travel.
To walk in your footsteps,
To live the adventure,
And to arrive at the New Jerusalem.