“Don’t be fooled by those who will come and claim to be me. They will say, “I am Christ!” and “Now is the time!” But don’t follow them. 9 When you hear about wars and riots, don’t be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but that isn’t the end.
10 Nations will go to war against one another, and kingdoms will attack each other. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in many places people will starve to death and suffer terrible diseases. All sorts of frightening things will be seen in the sky.
12 Before all this happens, you will be arrested and punished. You will be tried in your meeting places and put in jail. Because of me you will be placed on trial before kings and governors.13 But this will be your chance to tell about your faith.
14 Don’t worry about what you will say to defend yourselves. 15 I will give you the wisdom to know what to say. None of your enemies will be able to oppose you or to say that you are wrong. 16 You will be betrayed by your own parents, brothers, family, and friends. Some of you will even be killed. 17 Because of me, you will be hated by everyone. 18 But don’t worry! 19 You will be saved by being faithful to me.” Luke 21:8-19 (CEV, emphasis mine)
Many people call Wednesday “Hump Day” because it signifies the middle of their work week and then they are on the downward slide into the weekend. This is a week when we are focused on Jesus’ passion to save us. And here, as time is growing short, Jesus tells us not to distracted and deceived into believing we are on some slide into the “End Times.” I believe Jesus wants me to be focused on the mission, the call, the job He has put into my heart to do in His Kingdom.
I’ve never been a runner but I have read and listened to people who do run marathons, etc. They tell me there is a point in the race that is crucial. It is when the runner “hits the wall” of muscle fatigue and pain. They can see the end in sight and may feel they can’t keep going or they can only coast in. They must find that final spark to push on, that final bit of energy and heart for the win. I believe Jesus is saying that here.
He is running the race He has been given and He speaks to me in my race. He encourages me not to be distracted by what I see with my eyes. The news of the world is horrific with wars, killings in schools, rejection of moral standards and the acceptance of selfish ambition and gratification. Churches are seen as businesses and self-absorbed places where a few create their place of comfort and pronounce judgment on anyone who threatens that. Even parents and families will reject those who place God before their wants, calling them “fanatics.”
Jesus showed me how to stay the course even when it becomes a Via Dolorosa, a Way of Suffering. During this Passion Week I can find myself hitting the high points, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and ignoring the journey Jesus began in Bethlehem. He never wavered from His mission, His call, His job which the Father had given Him to do in the Kingdom. Even during the last crucial hours when the fatigue and pain were great, when He was alone, He walked the Way of Suffering.
I know there are many who are reading this who are in their Via Dolorosa. You are not alone. I am not alone. No matter the path or how long the race, Jesus is there. He will lead. He will carry the burdens. He will speak to us true promises. “I have gone to prepare a place of rest for you, so that where I am, you also will be.” (John 14:2-4) Let us stay the course this week. There is much to learn from our Savior.
Via Dolorosa written by Niles Borop & Billy Sprague & sung by Sandy Patti