Excerpt from Reliving the Passion: Meditations on the Suffering, Death, & the Resurrection of Jesus as Recorded in Mark (eBook) by Walt Wangerin, Jr.
Going to "Galilee"
Near the beginning and then near the end of Jesus' passion... the same promise is repeated...
Surely it's meant to be factual: the disciples will in fact meet the resurrected Lord in Galilee. But...
Since Mark is writing his Gospel for disciples of another time and another place (Christians persecuted in Rome in the latter half of the first century, people who would never see a geographic Galilee)… there may lurk another, deeper meaning in the word [Galilee]...
In "Galilee" his enemies appeared and criticized him even for healing and doing good.
In "Galilee" his enemies appeared and criticized him even for healing and doing good. From this "Galilee" Jesus' itinerary was south to Judah, up to Jerusalem, where enmity hardened into persecution, up Golgotha even to the cross. Jesus' person "going," then, was a trip through suffering and death to resurrection.
If Jesus "will go before" his disciples from Galilee as he had gone before, then this is a call to follow him down the hard road of conflict, criticism, enmity, persecution, suffering and death and resurrection. So the passion story becomes a roadmap for all of Jesus' followers (who deny themselves and take up their crosses) whether Christians martyred in the first, or Christians bold in the twentieth, centuries.
"The passion story [of self-denial, death, and resurrection] becomes a roadmap for all of Jesus' followers..."
Read [the story of Christ's Passion], then, as a detailed itinerary of the disciple's life.
He, in 'going before us,' is always near us, however hard the persecution.
But hear in it as well the constant consolation – not only that he, in "going before us," is always near us, however hard the persecution; but also that we, in going his way to Galilee, will see him as he told you. The dearest comfort in this promise is that precisely by taking the Way of the Lord, we will meet the Lord himself. In suffering is he revealed! In the experience of our own crosses is he made manifest. Exactly so were the Christian Romans consoled by Mark’s Good News – the story of Jesus. Exactly so ourselves, in our more distant deserts...
From Galilee to Golgotha: first we study the map, the Passion; and then – actually traveling the passionate path ourselves, "going" even as we were called – we will see him too, just as he promised we would.
Master, grant me, in the study of your story, both love and faith. Love will make me attentive to all you do. Faith will make me bold to follow you. I beg to see you, O my Savior! Amen.
- Walt Wangerin, Jr.
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