Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.
Pilgrims used to sing Psalm 122 on their way to Jerusalem. Nowadays people go to New York for entertainment, to Rome for beauty, and to Paris for romance. In the biblical world, Jerusalem was the place to be. It was “the city of the Great King” (Psalm 48:2), where God was enthroned in the temple. At festival time, all the tribes of Israel would go up to Jerusalem to glorify God.
Starting when he was just a boy, Jesus joined the annual Passover pilgrimage. Can you picture him in the crowd? A smile stretches across his face as he sings this psalm. He’s anticipating the sights and sounds of the city. Jerusalem is the place to be.
As an adult, Jesus continued to visit Jerusalem regularly. Each of those visits seemed to stir up opposition. Eventually the city became a dangerous place for Jesus, a place to die. But that didn’t stop him. He still went up to Jerusalem one last time to celebrate the Passover. But that wasn’t the only reason.
Jesus also had several appointments to keep there: one with the ruling council, one with the Roman governor, and one with a cross. So, for Jesus, Jerusalem was the place to be. And that was for our benefit. So we can rejoice that he went up to Jerusalem.
Jesus, we are so grateful that you went up to Jerusalem. You embraced the cross and its shame for the sake of sinners like us. Thank you. Amen.