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I would love to visit the Holy Land. I can’t imagine touching stones that Jesus Himself touched, or seeing the same landscape (admittedly changed a bit by time). I think it would bring certain parts of the Gospel narratives to life for me.
Ah, the romantic in me!
I know that the stones, the streets, and the hills themselves are not holy. The places themselves are not the important things. What matters is what happened there.
I want to walk where Jesus walked.
Or do I? Really?
Maybe I’m not being entirely honest with myself. Because on the one hand, I say that I know that it’s events and not places which really matter. And yet, when I think of walking where Jesus walked, I only think of places.
I ignore the fact that the Calvary road is right here. It runs right through my house.
Do we really want to walk where Jesus walked? Where did He walk, anyway?
He walked the streets of self-denial (Matt. 4:2). He slept the sleep of a man with no home to call His own (Matt. 8:20). He ate the meat of His Father’s will (John 4:34), and drank the cup which His Father poured for Him, even though its taste was inexpressibly bitter (Matt. 26:39). He wore out His soles on long days of ceaseless, selfless labor, dressed in a robe of utter humility. Those stones that He touched felt the moisture of His sweat.
Do I really want to walk where Jesus walked?
He followed the path laid out for Him, knowing full well what awaited Him at its end. He deliberately surrounded Himself with the poor, the hungry, the desperately needy, the sinful. He chose traveling companions who misunderstood Him, failed Him, denied Him, even betrayed Him. He ran the gauntlet of hecklers, mockers, and blasphemers. He did not choose on His own, but did everything the Father commanded Him (John 5:30)
Do I really want to walk where Jesus walked? Or am I just kidding myself with dreamy notions of places to visit?
Because Calvary’s road was under my feet when I first stood up this morning. And every step I have taken has either proven my desire, or made a liar of me.
And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
If I really wanted to walk where He walked, I would be there now. Because it's not the places that matter. It's what happens there.
I am not called to Jerusalem’s dusty streets. I am called to the rooms and hallways of my home, to the pavement of my city, to the aisles of my grocery stores, to the sanctuary of my church. I am called to take up my cross here. Now. To accept with a willing heart whatever cross my Father has given me to bear, to eat the food of His will, to drink His cup. To do it all because of love.
I am in the Holy Land.