Jesus makes the turn toward Jerusalem.
Not another like him, number twenty-one.
Now I get it. Now I get why Spring is such a big deal! I have never watched as tiny buds popped out on my trees seemingly out of nowhere and as my mostly-dormant lawns turned green again. Having spent all of my life in California, this is the first time I have experienced the advent of a real Spring. It is quite magical and there really is a sense of newness in the air. In addition, we have the joy of remembering the greatest event in history - the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . . Easter.
Hmmm, I find myself wondering what Jesus was thinking about in the last couple weeks of his life. Was he remembering the conversations he had with the Father before he came to be born as a baby? Was he fondly recalling family life in Nazareth? Was he counting down the days until he would be reunited with the Father? Hmmm.
In a few days, some will observe the day the church calls Palm Sunday when Jesus was cheered as he entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and people threw their garments down waving palm branches hailing his arrival. But wait, friend -- how did Jesus know it was time to go up to Jerusalem where he would be arrested, tried and crucified?
Hmmm. Three years earlier, how did Jesus know when it was time to do his first miracle, turning water into wine to rescue a wedding party showing himself divine?
And how did Jesus know it was time to go out to the Jordan River for John to baptize him? Hmmm, lots of thoughts.
In context, we remember John was preaching a message of repentance in the desert, preparing the way for Jesus as had been prophesied. And we recall that immediately after his baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted..." 40 days and nights of fasting.
How did Jesus know when to move, when to go and where to go?
He was led by the Holy Spirit, Matthew informs us.
How did the Spirit lead him, how did he sense his direction? Jesus prayed.
While he was truly the Son of God, the gospels tell us that Jesus withdrew often to pray. He knew Isaiah's words and the value of listening for the leading of God to know his will: "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way, walk in it.'"
Over the years, I have had many ask me how to ascertain the will of God - we have our answer today. If we look at Jesus, he clearly shows us how to know God’s will by what he did himself:
~>Jesus made prayer a priority.
~>Jesus prayed regularly, and
~>listened for the direction of his Father's voice
which he heeded. Plainly, Jesus obeyed what he heard God lead him to do.
Jesus embodied the desire to do the will of God by making prayer a priority.
Think of it . . . to the keen reader of the gospels, throughout Jesus' ministry, there is a sense of an advancing timepiece moving toward a climax of epic proportions--that which we will celebrate in our hearts and minds on Easter Sunday.
In the fullness of time--the time the Father had appointed, Jesus began his final journey to Jerusalem. He came into town to the cheers and palm-waving crowds . . . maybe some of the same people who shouted CRUCIFY HIM by Friday. He went to celebrate Passover ~ that famous Passover meal we call the Last Supper. It was also the same Thursday night he would be betrayed by his own disciple and friend, Judas; the night he would then walk across the Kidron Valley the short distance to the Mt. of Olives, where he would enter the dark Garden of Gethsemane to pray, to agonize over what was to come.
Jesus knew the Father's will because he prayed regularly, and he listened for his voice. Ohhhh, yes. I want that to be true of me too - in these days before Easter and all year long.
Just discovered this beautiful, apt song by Scotty McCreery,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZAFsIZh_Mk; (also in full at the end of the podcast)
Seek God’s will and find his direction for your life in prayer,