Hope Beyond Despair: The Ultimate Journey!”(Mt.20:17-19).
“As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death, and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!'”
In the gospel according to Matthew this was the third time that Jesus was predicting his death.
The prediction contains despair, the reason why Peter had to rebuke him when he made this prediction earlier(Mt.16:21-ff).
Jesus in turn scolded Peter for being an agent of Satan, but Peter did what any of us would have done if we were there. Which fisherman would want a dead Jesus when he has been taken away from the risky stormy seas, the biting cold of the night, the constant mending of torn nets and the unwelcome smell of fresh fish!
The carnal man can only see the journey to Jerusalem as a despairing one. There seems to be no hope for the future in that journey to Jerusalem.
But that’s the unfortunate state of who we are. We hear/read but decide what we take and discard what we do not cherish.
Otherwise, there is this sentence that is contained in the predictions of the synoptic gospels: “On the third day he will be raised to life!”
In this statement Jesus expresses hope beyond despair.
We cannot keep defining hope, but despair is “the complete loss or absence of hope.” The journey to Jerusalem is the ultimate journey; full of despair, but overshadowed by hope.
Pain and suffering are integral parts the ultimate journey of life.
The good news is that even though we may receive fatal punches along the way, on the overall it doesn’t end in fatality. There is a happy ending to a sad story.
A little caution: The betrayer (Judas) is from within your close circle. Your religious authorities and experts of Scripture are those who will condemn you to death and turn you over to outsiders. And when the outsiders mock, flog and crucify you, they will sit by and claim innocence.
Even so, bear with them for in all these things, they are merely tools in God’s hands.
Dear friend, always be ready to make that ultimate journey because there is hope beyond despair!
Prayer of the day and week: Holy Spirit equip me with the strength to embark on my Jerusalem journey against all odds. Amen!
Welcome back to a new working day and week! Have a blessed day and week! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.