They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid.
— Mark 10:32
Many hikers start the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain in Georgia. Only a fraction, however, complete the entire trail. To make it all the way up Mount Katahdin in Maine at the end of the trail, the destination must become an unshakable goal.
Though Jesus meandered through Galilee and Judea during his ministry, he had one final, unshakable destination in mind, and it was deadly. When he told his disciples he was going to Jerusalem, they were astonished. They knew only too well the ugly jealousy and hatred that the religious leaders had for Jesus. They feared for his life, not to mention their own.
Though he had told them about this before, Jesus’ disciples hadn’t grasped the purpose of his mission. He was going to fulfill the Scriptures’ promise of a suffering servant, who would take the sins of fallen humanity on his shoulders (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). He went to Jerusalem to die on a cross there—in order to give us new life and eternal hope. Thank God that he didn’t quit!
We all face hardships in this journey of life. When we feel like quitting, we need to remind ourselves that Jesus kept marching toward his destination. And now that we are freed from sin and death through him, we can share Jesus’ hope and peace with everyone around us.
Lord Jesus, despite the hardship and suffering you endured, you never gave up on redeeming us. Help us never to give up on you. Amen.