Go! for Lent: Matthew 26:36
Jesus covers a lot of ground in the gospels, but who determined where he went?
Matthew, the gospel writer, tells us that the infant Jesus was carried by Mary and Joseph from Bethlehem to Egypt, to avoid Herod’s wrath. Mark tells us that the Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness after his baptism in the River Jordan. All the gospel writers describe Jesus’ capture in Jerusalem.
Indeed, Jesus is pushed and shoved and chased and led and sent out all throughout the gospels. The gospels are filled with characters who change Jesus’s course, even if only for a brief moment.
Jesus, of course, determined a great deal of this too. It is Jesus who took Matthew, James, and John up the mountain to experience his transfiguration. It is Jesus who, at the age of 12, sneaked off to spend time in the temple. It is Jesus who led Peter, James, and John into the Garden of Gethsemane. And what did he do there?
I’m no biblical scholar (I wish I was!) but it does seem that more often than not, when Jesus was driving the action, it was to be with his Father, in prayer. Jesus retreated from the world to reconnect with the Father who sent him, and then when the moment was right, he returned, and allowed himself to be open to the needs and actions of those around him. He is willfully vulnerable, and then he returns to the Father, then more vulnerability, then more of the Father. It is a pattern: openness, prayer, openness, prayer.
And in this season of Lent, it can become for us a pattern for our lives, for we too are called to be open to the world, vulnerable to the concerns of those we love and those we’ve never met—to allow the weight of the human experience to rest on our chests, even if just for the day—and then we are called to take all that weight and worry to Jesus Christ, our mediator and advocate, who redeems all wounds and injustices, and who makes broken things new.