“And when Jesus had said these things,
he went on ahead, going to Jerusalem.”
“These things,” which Jesus had said, happen to have been in parables, but almost any day in the years of his ministry or any page in the Gospels could have ended with “he went on ahead, going to Jerusalem.” Before Jesus went ahead this time, he had trained followers to go with him, but whether they were close or whether he had to summon them from a distance, he was always “ahead” of his disciples.
That word, “ahead,” is a very eye-catching, soul stretching way to think of our Lord. In fact, it was one of his core characteristics. He was not content to stay with things as they were, not able to roam the landscape without direction. Those who followed him soon realized this. They learned: they were not to sleep when he needed them: they were not to rest when there was work to be done: they were not to run around in circles pointlessly.
Even today, if we want to follow or go looking for him, know that one of the things we will find is comfort - but also challenge. Know that no matter how far you have progressed in your Christian journey Jesus will always be one step ahead urging you to move along.
Knowing you are already ahead of us, Lord, in the New Year ahead give us the strength and courage we need to follow your lead.