We are well into Lent – on a journey from Ash-Wednesday which leads us to the glorious day of Easter. This journey will come to a climax with the rollercoaster of Holy Week: from Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, to his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, his trial and death on the cross on Golgotha.
The time of Lent is a time to reflect on our lives, practise self-discipline and get closer to God.
Our set readings want to help and guide us. This Sunday’s passage (Mark 8.31-end) touches me deep down. Jesus is together with his disciples and he is telling them that he is going to die. Jesus’ life is a journey towards Jerusalem – to the cross on Golgotha.
Jesus knew what was going to happen and he wanted his friends to be prepared; he did not want them to be taken by surprise. And the disciples reacted as we probably would as well if a close friend was to disclose such news to us. Like so often it was Peter who spoke out: If that is what is waiting for you in Jerusalem, then run for it. Let’s get away from here. But Jesus’ response is different: he rebukes Peter, even calls him Satan – evil – working against God.
Although Jesus knows what is going to happen he isn’t trying to avoid God’s plan. His only worry is about his close friends. He cares deeply for them and wants to see them prepared for what was to come.
It is Jesus who puts everything in the right perspective: he reminds his friends that the life in this world is not the ultimate thing – it is the eternal life in God’s kingdom that matters. As much as his friends live in this world, like we live in this world, his friends had to keep their minds set on the true values – we too have to remember this.
It might seem hard to grasp but Good Friday is God’s amazingly wonderful gift to us: The cross is at the centre of our lives as Christians – the cross is what we should look at: as a reminder that, in dying for us, Christ has freed us from worrying too much about our own lives in this world. Our true life is in God.
We can live our lives knowing that Jesus has died once and for all for our wrongdoings and that, if we go wrong or make mistakes, we can to turn to God and say sorry for our misdoings. The very meaning of “to repent” – to turn around.
We are called to walk the way that God has shown us. However hard we try it is our human nature that time and again something is tempting us to leave this path – to trespass into grounds where God doesn’t want us to go. As soon as we notice that we have gone astray God calls us to turn around, walk back to re-join his way and continue our journey with God.
In sending His Son to die for us God has removed all obstacles on our way back – once and for all.