In the Way of the Cross – Jesus, Why Go Up That Hill?

Next week, now as then, we'll lay palms at his feet.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!

But this week, today, now as then, Jesus has options! We do, too.

So here's the question. JESUS, Sweet, Sweet Jesus, WHY GO UP THAT HILL? 'That hill to Jerusalem and the cross? There was and is still good-work-for-God to be done elsewhere. The famous 10 Cities of the Galilee, where the lilies neither spin nor weave, yet give God glory. Plenty were the souls there still unconverted. (Kinda like our neighborhood, right around here.) 'No town, village or lane anywhere not in need for a healer (then or now.) "Lord, how about holding back awhile, waiting for things to cool down. We can make room for you, safe(r ), more comfortable for you (and for us). You are not now or then God's puppet, but God's Son. You have choices. So why go up that hill?" Why? Why?

Here's why.

1. Jesus understands God's moment when it comes.

2. He consciously chooses in favor of Earth-Like-Heaven

for this time… and the time to come.

3. Jesus trusted God, God alone, God above all, with the outcome

especially when the climb lay uphill.

 

Jesus says it like this, "Now's the time. 'The hour God's ready to glorify me, for God's own glory! Listen, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth, dead to the world, it'll never be more-than-just-a-grain; but if it dies, it sprouts to bear much fruit. In the same way, hold onto what you've got, as is, you lose it. But let it go, reckless in your love, and you'll have it forever, real and eternal!" (The Message, alt.) Says Christ, "If you want to serve me, you gotta follow me. Where I am, you are. And God will honor you." "I'm goin' up that hill. Where are you goin'?" Jesus wants to know.

As for Jesus, he understands God's moment when it comes. And he's goin' up that hill. We can see where he's headed. He tells the time, not on his watch, but by keeping watch. O, there's religion aplenty, Temple (church)-goers all around him. But, say the prophets, no knowledge of God in the land. People are God-hungry. So, here come these Greeks, folks not-from-around-here, who want to see Jesus! That's the sign! He shows them who HE is, so they will know who GOD is. Love. All-out love. Not-counting-the cost love. Cross-facing love. Cross-willing love. Anything to-have-you-know-me-and-love-me-back love. Why Jesus up that hill? Not because God requires it. (The prophets agree.) But because we require it! You do. I do. So gross, grave, grandiose the grime on our souls, in them, nothing less will do. I wish I understood. I do not. But I can say I've experienced it. Take Tuesday last. 'Hassled. Muttering under my God-borrowed. Hurrying. Late for an unwanted "date"/mtg. Out 175. Up 32… 50 yards to a screeching halt. And fumin' at my fate. 'Til I saw/realized the accident and its broken victims. Their plight moved me to pray. My selfishness, to near tears. I ended up wrong-turning, later, lost. Me. Convinced of Jesus/the cross. But in that hour unconverted/unchanged. 40 yrs. preaching him, in 40 seconds betraying him. Why the cross? I'm that cussed, contrary, covered in sin. And he takes it all in, all on, all away from me. O, in this and a 1000×1000 moments washed in the blood of the Lamb. Why up that hill? Jesus understands his moment, GOD's moment. Do we ours? So many all around, still come to say, "We want to see Jesus." Will we show/tell/walk them up that hill here?

Christ consciously chooses Earth-Like-Heaven for now and always.

He always sees today from tomorrow's side! "Have this mind among you which was in Christ Jesus… who humbled himself, obedient to death, even death on a cross." That's our home/heart work. O, Jesus sees the hour. And the situation. Time to fall into the ground. Give it up. Give it over. Be like seed in the ground, even when gripped by the cross. Why? Because that's the way to bear much fruit. The harvest for God tomorrow is worth the surrender today. How often I've seen this in those who follow him. Grace: called me to her house the day she learned she was dying: not to cry or pray (we did both), but to take a check around to City Hall for Main Street Christmas lights! "I want the kids to see he's the Light in a dark time," she said. (18%! of moms/dad were out of work that W. Md. year.) Paul: fractured hands, 2 organs failing, wife in heart trouble, still off to Work Camp. Why up that Hill? "Because when I sat on that hill over Normandy beach in '44, I thought sure I felt Jesus lookin' and sayin' 'No more.' So I don't tear down, but build up' 1 kid at a time." PJ.: a Bd. of Child Care kid. Abandoned. Street rescued in Jesus' name. Now a skilled stained glass artist. And youth coach. Despite battling constant pain since birth. Why up that hill? "Because I have to give back. I have to follow him. Because his believers came lookin' for me, and picked me up, and took me in."

Why up that hill? How could he, this Jesus? Christ trusted God, God alone, God above all, with the outcome… especially with the uphill climb. O, he wrestled. Like us. Be sure. "I know it's comin', a burden, a debt for others to pay. I can't see it. 'Don't prefer it. Let this cup pass. Still, not my will, but yours. For you. For them, here and to come. For you, Father. You. Not one that you gave would I lose." And so the hill, himself, wholly in God's hand. The crown-thorn, the nails, the stretching, the last breath… trusting. Three days in the tomb, leaning on the Everlasting Arms… like us, waiting for Easter light.

It's a week 'til the palm and the pomp. Jesus has options. He has from the start. So why up that hill?

Because: He knows God's moment, takes it as his own.

              He chooses for Earth-Like-Heaven, tomorrow today.

              He trusts God, alone, above all, even himself, with the outcome.

"If you want to serve me, you gotta follow me," he says. May this be such a place, and we such a people. Let others argue, lead or follow as they will. May we be those with a personal experience with Jesus Christ. And a personal conviction to walk with him:  on the down hill ease, the level plain, and even the uphill climb.

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