“Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. There he stayed, 41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.” 42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.” John 10:40-42
Jesus’ time on earth was a rollercoaster of emotions. On Palm Sunday he was greeted as a returning king as he rode a colt into the city with people shouting — “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” And just a week later he was left hanging on a cross to die.
In this passage in John, Jesus has just left Jerusalem and the Temple courts. He’s been teaching, healing, defending and communicating the Gospel. But he left because people tried to kill him for his claims that he was God.
Now, Jesus has returned across the Jordan to the country side. He’s returned to where life is simple and folks take you at your word. He’s returned to where his cousin John began his ministry of preparing the way for Jesus and calling people to repentance. He’s returned to his roots, to simplicity, to those who have common simple faith and to those who believe.
Jesus left behind the high intellectuals of the city. He left behind the doubts, the nay-sayers and those wanting to stone him. He left behind those who would see a miracle first hand and still would doubt. And he came to a place where many believed in him. A breath of fresh air, a moment of gratitude, a sense of belonging.
Sometimes we too have to retreat to the simple life, to those who believe in us, to those who know us best. Sometimes we have to get away from the craziness of our daily lives and lean into nature, to God’s creation and to the Spirit’s presence just as Jesus did as the crossed the Jordan River.
This week is Holy Week but it feels anything but holy and anything but peaceful. It’s spring and things are as busy as ever. Satan is prowling around seeking to cause people to stumble, to make marriages crumble and to draw us from our original purpose of loving and knowing the Lord.
But let’s not allow him the victory. Let’s retreat as did Jesus to the One who knows us, loves us and to the only one who can restore our souls for his glory and by his grace.
“O Lord God, we are in the midst of a spiritual war. We forget that too quickly! Satan and his demons wants us to forget God, to get busy, to run toward sin and to trust in our own endeavors. But you have the victory! You won that upon the cross by defeating death and giving us eternal life. Come now, Lord Jesus, enter the city with joy! Be glorified in this place! Find us willing and able to believe in your name. For you are good and love your endures forever.” Amen