Mark 10:32 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him,
Jesus knows where he is headed and with confidence leads the way to the cross. Following behind him are two groups of people. The disciples are quite amazed at his sure steps to the place where he says he will meet his death. Another group of followers are straggling a little bit further behind, afraid of what is going on. Should they really follow him to Jerusalem or not? They are not sure and they are living in fear.
Over and again in Mark we see the intentional teaching that Jesus provides for his disciples. While they are amazed at what he is doing, he takes them aside and makes this another teachable moment. They must understand what it really means to be on the road to Jerusalem.
We are continuing our Lenten journey and for all of us this includes going up to Jerusalem. Our spiritual journey takes us somewhere on the road to Jerusalem. We belong to one or the other group. This means that we may find ourselves with the disciples, amazed at what is happening and not fully understanding — and yet, willing to follow. This attitude of our hearts will take us further down the road than we can imagine. They couldn’t comprehend everything that was happening and yet they followed along in faith. Jesus continually amazed them because he was not like any kind of earthly leader. His confidence in the mission was unmistakable and they were determined to stay close to him and follow Jesus all the way to Jerusalem.
We may also discover that we are a part of the second crowd who found wholeheartedly following Jesus quite difficult. They loved being touched by him — experiencing the miracles. This was great but really following him to Jerusalem — that would be hard. No longer was this message about them having good things happen in their lives, but this man was talking about suffering and death. Now, they were afraid. Maybe this Christ was going to expect too much of them and this wasn’t really what they had bargained for. They began to slip back and become consumed with fear. For all of us, the Lenten journey may suddenly become too serious — too real — too difficult and we are not sure that we want to continue.
The Lenten journey leads to the cross and life in the kingdom. This is a new reality in which we are invited to live. The more that we know Christ, the closer we draw to him and the more we will be amazed. He takes time to gently teach and lead us in the way to go. The more that we hold back, the more we will become fearful and the temptation run from him, great.
Our Lenten journey brings us to the Jerusalem road. How we will make that journey depends on our closeness to the Savior, who is trying to lead us to life in the kingdom. Join the crowd of the amazed, draw near to him, and he will teach and lead you in the way to go.
Lord, please draw me close to you and give the strength and courage to follow you on this journey. Amen.
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