Sometimes we joke about taking a one way ticket to such and such a place, be it some haven of beauty and rest (and hopefully warm in temperature for those of us experiencing Arctic cold kind of weather) or some out of the way place where tourism would not exist. In our following of Jesus it is a one way journey, a journey with, in and through Jesus to the cross. Of course on the other side of that death is resurrection. In fact the glorious resurrection comes only through that hideous death.
To truly follow Jesus as did the disciples of old, there truly is no turning back. We follow and continue to follow in spite of all our weaknesses and sins along the way. And there may be even a point when our faith is wavering. I think of Thomas of old, after our Lord’s resurrection. On the way, Thomas’ pessimism is apparent, when he suggests that they too should go to die with Jesus. Or at least I read it that way, although it could be an expression of faith. And perhaps to some extent I identify with Thomas who needed to see to believe. But sight of the risen Christ was not necessary for the faith of others who personally did not see. At the same time the eyewitness accounts of the risen Lord, and there are many, are part of the gospel and present for our faith. This isn’t some fairytale or teaching for a faith not rooted in real life. What took place in Jesus’ death and resurrection occurred in time and space, bringing into the old world, the new world. Through his resurrection, the new creation in Jesus had come.
After Pentecost, things certainly did change. Yes, the disciples who lived with Jesus lived a unique experience, important for us all in their witness of faith and of the gospel. On this side of Pentecost after the Holy Spirit came with new life and power, we get to experience by the Spirit the resurrection life of Christ in our following. While at the same time not yet being glorified. Positional wise we are glorified already with our ascended, glorified Lord, seated with him in the heavenly realms. But experientially we are not there yet. Only through the resurrection of all things in and through the resurrection of Christ, will that be completed.
And so Lent is a one way journey so to speak as we look ahead to Good Friday and Easter. To our Lord’s suffering. And his death and resurrection. And as we identify in our lives with him more and more in that.
Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.