As the time approached when Jesus was to be taken up into heaven, he determined to go to Jerusalem.
(Common English Bible)
Have you ever had to do something you dreaded, but you just had to make up your mind to do it? Sometimes we hesitate to take a step that may involve risk because we don’t know what the outcome will be; sometimes we hesitate because we know the projected outcome, but don’t really want to face it. Let me show you what I mean.
A few months ago, I had the smallest hint of a toothache. I knew I should go see my dentist, but didn’t want to because I dread going to the dentist. I love my dentist as a person, but anytime someone is poking around in my mouth with sharp instruments, it puts me on edge. So, although I knew I should go to the dentist, I put it off until the toothache became so annoying and painful I couldn’t ignore it any longer.
I determined I had to go to the dentist even though I knew the outcome: I would need to have dental work that would hurt my mouth and my wallet. So I picked up the phone and made the appointment. In the end, I did have to have some dental work, and it was a bit painful to have a root canal; but afterwards, I felt better, my tooth didn’t hurt and I was glad that I had taken care of it.
We all have those things we don’t really want to do, but must. In Luke, the writer tells us Jesus “determined to go to Jerusalem.” Now, he knew this trip would probably lead to his death, but he also knew God’s plan for the restoration of humanity’s relationship with God depended on his death. So he made up his mind, gathered his friends and set off for Jerusalem. He would not be distracted from his purpose of putting our relationship right with God, not even if he dreaded it.
For the next week, we will launch headlong into Holy Week, the week in which we remember the passion or death of Jesus. For Christians, this is a monumental week, one that in some ways we dread every year because we have to face the facts of Jesus’ torturous death.
But without Holy Week and the events leading to remember Jesus’ death, we would not reach the best part of all — the Resurrection which we celebrate on Easter. Jesus died so that we could get to Easter — to Resurrection — to eternal life with God. While we remember the events of the week, let’s not forget that without all that happened,
Easter would not be possible.
Know God walks with you through everything you face just as God walked with Jesus every step of the way to Jerusalem and ultimately to the cross. And know that because Jesus lives, we too, will live.
What are some things you are dreading this week? Remember the hope of the Resurrection and trust God to walk with you every step of the way, even through hard times.
Rev. Jan McCoy is the associate pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at email@example.com or at covingtonfirst.org.