By Joe LaGuardia
We are but a few weeks away from Holy Week. It is around this time that I am reminded of “watersheds” in the gospels, those little verses in which Jesus turns from local ministry in the northern country and begins his journey to the cross.
Sometimes a watershed verse is simple, such as the one in Luke 9:51, “And he set his face towards Jerusalem.” Other times, it is a little more nuanced, such as Mark 10:32, “Jesus and his disciples were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus walked ahead of them; they were amazed and they were afraid.”
I appreciate Mark’s watershed for several reasons. For one, Jesus walks ahead of his disciples. He always goes before us, marking our way. He leads us and guides us, and we are to follow him. No one is ahead of him, and those who try to get ahead of him do so at their peril.
Jesus is adamant about going to the cross too; he knows that whatever needs to live must die first. Even in the midst of death and darkness, Jesus goes before us– “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me!” (Ps. 23:4).
If you are anxious or uncertain, if you feel lost or can’t find your way, you may want to stop and pray. Ask God, “Where am I getting ahead of you? Where have I failed to follow you? Where have I gotten off-course?”
Backtrack your steps, and remember that the deeper you go into sin, the more laborious getting out of it when you reverse your course.
Second, those who follow Jesus have mixed emotions. Some disciples were amazed; others were fearful. When we walk with Jesus we will be amazed; but fear is not absent–especially if we are unsure of Christ’s way.
It is scary to walk with Christ–it requires vulnerability and risk. Sometimes he goes places where we do not want to go; of course, when we follow him, we are never alone!
The writing of F. W. Faber, cited by Arthur J. Gossip in the Interpreter’s Bible on the Gospel of John, hits the nail on the head and beautifully summarizes this lesson,
We must wait for God, long, meekly, in the wind and wet, in the thunder and lightning, in the cold and the dark. Wait, and He will come. he never comes to those that do not wait. he does not go their road. When He comes, go with Him, but go slowly, fall a little behind; when He quickens His pace, be sure of it, before you quicken yours. But when He slackens, slacken at once: and do not be slow only, but silent, very silent, for He is God.
Be sure to follow Jesus today. Don’t get ahead of him…or yourself! It may just be a watershed in your own life.