Having the ability to see the baptismal site even though we were heading to the end of the “story” actually brought me to the beginning of the story and the reason Jesus came. The Mount of Transfiguration (Mt. Hermon) and the baptism both have God the Father speaking to those who are witnessing the event and both times God reinforces His Son’s role and what He has taught, both times it is relayed to “listen” to Him. Then he sets toward Jerusalem, I guess we cannot argue with His task and calling. I may in my own life wrestle with God on where He will lead and want “proof” of the ending and that all will work out for my good, but Jesus has full authority here and intentionally plans the entry into Jerusalem to announce He has come to spread His light into the dark world with anyone who believes and takes up their cross and heads out.
Jericho, an oasis in the barren land showed signs of Roman control that they had on major cities that connected the major highways of the land. Herod was present and fortified the city as only Herod could. This stop confirmed that Jerusalem was not that far away and I wonder if the tension was high on the ridge that day as they walked up to complete the journey? Here is life going on and just over the ridge ending on the Mount of Olives is death. Jesus’ journey into darkness begins— but it does not stay dark for long. It is Friday and Sunday is coming! Although the Mount of Olives has graves upon graves upon graves, I felt a feeling of release while there— release of one life and acceptance of another; release of cares and the acceptance of mercy; and the release of hurt and the receipt of healing. It is here that Jesus releases His will and takes on the will of the Father. It is here that He was pressed for the blood to start flowing for all humanity. Today as in many of them in the course of discovering the location with the Word was an emotional one recognizing there is no retreat from what will transpire in a few hours.