The Journey to the Cross: It’s Thursday


On this day, Jesus is a little past the mid-point of his 140 km walking journey from Capernaum on the north side of the Sea of Galilee to Jerusalem. He is traveling with throngs of other pilgrims—men, women and children—who are all headed towards Jerusalem for the Passover Festival.

God works through the flow of normal human events: a mother braiding her daughter’s hair, a husband changing oil on his wife’s vehicle, a friend buying a coffee for a friend who is feeling sad and then listening while they pour out their heart. But God also interrupts the flow of normal human events from time to time to jolt us out of our complacency and remind us that his goodness, love, mercy and grace is with us.

Luke records for us an event that happened sometime during that four-day journey. Perhaps it happened on Thursday.

31 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. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. (Luke 18:31-34)

At this point, everything is normal, and then Jesus gives his followers this very disturbing news. And they didn’t understand any of it.

This is our life. Things are going along normally, and then we get disturbing news—a serious health diagnosis, an unexpected financial hit, a loved one breaks a treasured relationship—and we don’t understand. Its meaning is hidden from us and we do not know what God is doing.

Sometimes all we can do is hold on. And the best One to hold on to is the One who is holding on to us, the One who suffered for all of our iniquities, the One who died our death for us. Because Jesus rose from the dead from us, we know that he will bring us safely through whatever challenge we are facing in life. He is always faithful. He is always loving. He is always with us.

It’s Thursday.

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About James Paulgaard

Living in the in between, becoming, but not quite there yet, old and new mixed together, hanging on with all my might to the One who is holding onto me.
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