For several months I’ve been ‘slow reading’ a book called God Walk. Around the time of Good Friday I reached chapter 12, ‘Walking as suffering’. It was really appropriate to consider Jesus’ walk along the Via Dolorosa—the way of suffering—to the cross (with Resurrection Sunday poking its head around the corner).
But Jesus’ journey to the cross began way before Good Friday. In the book of Mark, Jesus’ walking tour is portrayed as a very crowded itinerary, a blur of coming and going: He circuits around Galilee, then hightails it over to Lebanon, then circles back to Galilee, then thunders up to the Golan Heights, then sails over to Syria, and much else. A bit of route planning would have spared him a lot of miles and blisters.*
As we dive into the Mark’s gospel, and hear so much of the immediacy of all that happened in Jesus’ ministry, let’s remember two things:
1. The bits of time in between most of the ‘action sequences’ are walked…walked at a pace that allowed time for walk and talk (aka, discipleship). And,
2. There is often no straight path—no easy, quick, fast, wide, cheap, safe way—for us disciples to follow Jesus. The road we journey is often circuitous, and there may be times of personal Via Dolorosas. But as we carry our cross and walk with Jesus to the place of death, we also walk past it with him, to the place of new life.†
(*p147, †157 God Walk: Moving at the Speed of Your Soul, Mark Buchanan, Zondervan 2020)