Luke's gospel notes that as the time drew near for Jesus to be taken up
to heaven, "he resolutely took the road for Jerusalem" (9, 9).
Jesus had gone to Jerusalem other times for Passover, but this year it would
be different. He Himself would be the paschal lamb, offering Himself "as
the perfect sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit" (Heb. 9, 14),
thus becoming our blessed passing-over from death to life. But first he
would be rejected, endure many sufferings, and be put to death.
And he knew this. Time and again Jesus warned his disciples of the cross he must embrace, the chalice he must drain. Such knowledge did not deter him from taking the road to Jerusalem. He proceeded steadfastly, confident of God's love for him. Regardless of what it cost him, Jesus was determined to fulfill the Father's will. "For the sake of the joy which lay before him he endured the cross, heedless of its shame" (Heb 12, 2).
Jesus prayed the psalms often. Now he was fulfilling their very words. "I kept my feet firmly in your paths; there was no faltering in my steps" (Ps.16). "I walk the path of perfection. I trust in the Lord; I have not wavered" (Ps. 25). "My feet you made swift as the deer's....you gave me freedom for my steps; my feet have never slipped" (Ps.17).
So resolutely did Jesus proceed on his course that he chided the hesitant. To the man who first would bury his father, he remonstrated, "Your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God." To another wanting to linger over good-byes at home, Jesus observed that no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom. As followers of the Christ, we also must steadfastly proceed on the path God chooses for us, trusting that ultimately we will reach the heavenly Jerusalem, that eternal dwelling place with the Lord.
As we travel along, we find courage and strength in knowing we are not alone. Jesus walks beside us, leading us to the place he has prepared for us from all eternity. With Him we pray to the Father: "Yet I was always in your presence; you were holding me by my right hand. You will guide me by your counsel and so you will lead me to glory." (Ps. 72) Let us resolutely take the road to Jerusalem with Jesus and so enter with him into his glory and fullness of life.
Alice Claire Mansfield
© April 1993