Jesus had a sacred mission to complete. It was a God-given mission; it was the purpose for which he was born and his destiny. It pressed in upon him, occupying his thoughts, dictating his actions, flooding his soul. He would fulfill the expectations of the prophets. He would give his life in humble obedience. He would usher in the promised Kingdom of God. The hour of his mission’s fulfillment was ever so close, as Jesus and his disciples made their way to Jerusalem.
With the holy mountain and its gleaming temple looming large, Jesus sought yet again to prepare his disciples for what was to come. He spoke of the true nature of God’s Beloved Son. He spoke of his own suffering, of redemption paid for in sacrifice, and of a kingdom where selfless love prevailed. But the disciples could not hear him. They had pictured a savior in their minds who give them whatever they wanted, and as Jesus spoke they simply indulged their personal daydreams of glory.
It all must have seemed to Jesus like the words from a much more recent songwriter: “…the nearer your destination the more you’re slip-sliding away.”