Where are you headed, Jesus?
Ever notice how often we ask some form of the preceding question? We see someone coming out of their apartment with a coat on and we ask, where are you headed George? Or we see someone standing in the lobby looking out of the windows, obviously looking for someone and we ask, where are you headed Betty? And their answers may be relatively simple. Maybe George was going for a walk outside or getting ready to get on the bus and go to the Jewel or a doctor’s appointment. Betty might have been waiting for her daughter to pick her up and take her to lunch or maybe for a bit of shopping.
We are always curious about where people are going. You hear that someone is going to be going on vacation and your first question is usually, where are you going? We like to see if it is somewhere that we have been, or would like to go; or if it is somewhere very special or off the beaten track. We are always interested in where people are going. Think about when your grandson or granddaughter says they are going to college in the fall and you ask where. Same thing happens when they get a job, you ask where is that job?
Last week we ended the season of Epiphany with Jesus going up on the mountain and being transfigured, glorified in his person as God. Then in the middle of the week we celebrate Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season, and the question we might want to ask is where are you headed, Jesus? Because of the confession of the disciples that Jesus is Christ the Son of the living God and Jesus’ transfiguration, things are different now. No longer are the disciples going to be moving around the region of Galilee. Now it is different and Jesus has told them where they are headed, Jerusalem.
This is not the first time that Jesus and the disciples have headed to Jerusalem; they have been there before. What is different this time is that for Jesus this is the last time he will head to Jerusalem. Jesus answered the disciples’ question of where they were headed and he told them Jerusalem. But he added to the answer, that he was going to Jerusalem to be arrested and tried by the Religious Leaders and turned over to the Roman rulers who would kill him. But he also told his disciples that on the third day he would rise again. Unfortunately, they didn’t listen and understand all that Jesus told them.
But Jesus heading to Jerusalem to die is good news for us. He is headed there to die, not because he did anything deserving death, but rather because we did. Jesus is headed to Jerusalem to die on a cross to pay the price for the sins that we have committed. It is with his shed blood that our sins are wiped away and we are put in a new and right relationship with God. Jesus is heading to Jerusalem to save us. That is the good news of Lent and that is why we focus on sorrow for our sins, knowing where Jesus is headed and why he is going there.
Lord God, we often want to know where you want us to go with our lives. Yet your answer is clear to us. You want us to follow Jesus. You want us to go with Him to Jerusalem and to the cross on Calvary and see where He suffers and dies so that we receive the forgiveness of our sins. During this time of Lent strengthen us to walk with Jesus knowing that it is for us that He suffers and dies. Amen