Scripture Reading: Mark 10:32-34

Why did Jesus come to Jerusalem after he raised Lazarus from the dead?

The apostle John records that after that miraculous event, the authorities in Jerusalem were determined to put Jesus to death. It is not difficult to perceive their motives. Jesus’ fame had already reached the entire country. His power to heal, to exorcise demons and to teach were riling up the nation.

Such a man might well upset the power agreement that the Sadducees had established with the Romans, and his teachings did not conform to the Pharisees’ legalistic exegesis of the Old Testament. These leaders wanted him out of the way — whether for religious motives or political ones. Jesus had to die.

It was better, as the high priest declared after Lazarus’ shocking resurrection, for one man to die, than for a whole nation to perish. For the leaders in Jerusalem, it was either Jesus or them. It was either his life or theirs.

So — knowing of this antagonism against him, why did Jesus come to Jerusalem?

It is worth remembering that Jesus’ only expectation in Jerusalem was that he would be sought, caught, and executed. He would not evade as he had at the outset of his ministry. He knew that justice and reason would not prevail. He even knew that his closest friends would turn from him.

So why did he set his face toward Jerusalem and refuse to look back? Why did he enter the city gates and even visit the temple, where his enemies could easily discover him?

Jesus was not a fool. He was not arrogant or brazen. He knew precisely what he was doing.

Jesus came to Jerusalem so that all of the atrocious evil committed against him could take place. He came to Jerusalem to suffer, to be falsely accused, to be executed.

He was resolved to be crucified.

Nothing would keep him from his appointment with Golgotha. Why did he come, knowing that this unthinkable week would unfold in agony, knowing that each hour, each day, brought him closer to the darkness and pain of the cross?

For Jesus, it was also better that one man should die than that a whole nation should perish.

For Jesus, it was either his life or the life of his people. His life or theirs. So, he set his face toward Jerusalem, and once there, he stayed. He remained hour after hour, day after day, as the great moment approached.

During Holy Week, your pastoral team will share a daily devotion from Palm Sunday until Resurrection Sunday. Christ is risen!