Where do you go when you are sad or hurting? Where do you go to be safe? The better question is to whom do you go? Who do you want to be with when life is about to hand you a hard thing that has no give? Who do you want to sit with you in silence? Or make you belly laugh regardless of the circumstances?
Do you have them in mind?
Jesus did. Actually he had two places and a group of people in mind.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Slow, steady and smelly. The palm branches fanned the air around him and the cloaks rippled like waves as they touched the ground before him. Shouts filled the air and a children’s choir delighted his heart. Innocence singing.
Zechariah’s word manifested.
And the spiritual leaders of Israel missed it. Before the palm branches stilled the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were rebuking and berating Jesus for the content of the children’s song.
But, watch Jesus.
Jesus moved past them. He was neither flattered by laud nor discouraged by criticism. He had set his face; he went to the temple.
Home away from home.
But what did he think when he entered the gates and courts? What did he mull in his mind as he studied this shadow of the reality? What was his assessment of this meager copy? What he found was a poor copy. A mimicry.
Sadly, this was not the house of prayer he longed for and needed. He had walked through the gates and entered the courts with a set face. He had come to pray. He had come to worship. He had come to talk to his Father.
What he encountered angered him.
Would it have angered us? Would we have been offended? Or would we have not seen anything out of the ordinary?
Jesus turned and walked away. He left his temple. He would talk to his Father somewhere else. He reset his face. His destination was Jerusalem, but that wasn’t where he was going to lay his head. He was going to another home away from home.
With his twelve men Jesus set out for Bethany.
He was going to Martha, Lazarus and Mary’s house to be among friends who had become family. He was going where he knew he was loved.
He could let his guard down in Bethany. No one would attempt to trap him in trick questions. No one would demand from him there. They would just let him be. (And if they didn’t, Martha would make sure they did. Don’t mess with Martha.)
At the most critical point in Jesus’ earthy life he needed to be with his Father and he wanted to be with his dearest friends.
He knows at the end of the week he is going to be left standing alone to face his accusers. He was going to meet death—face to face.
And where does he choose to go?
The hardest part of this earth-journey for Jesus was about to come. Pain, suffering, isolation and rejection. And he shows us what we should do. He always does.
Where do you go when life starts bending you backwards, when people start giving you grief, when your accuser points the finger at you, when your life becomes a hard thing?
Where do you go?
I hope you don’t have to think about it too long