From the moment of his conception, Jesus’ life is marked by many journeys. The first he makes inside his mother, when she goes to visit Elizabeth to share her good tidings. At the end of Mary’s half-day’s walk to Zechariah’s house, it is John in his mother’s womb who first acknowledges by his leap of joy the cousin for whom he will pave the path made of the expectant hopes of the Jewish people. The next journey Jesus makes is to Bethlehem, still safely ensconced within his mother, his father Joseph leading their donkey across the rocky wilderness to a census taking and his birth. Throughout his life Jesus journeys toward each new horizon of being before him. But the journey that was his long before he came into the world, is the journey the Hebrew nation made as they crossed the wilderness, on their way to becoming the people of God. It will be this journey that he carried within him as Jewish man marked on the margins of society where a second covenant, a new testament would begin.
As an adult he will come, confident, striding across the rocky landscape of Judea, intent on his destination, carrying with him the hopes of his people, bound at birth to free them, and thereby us all, in his one great act of dedication, living his life.
Now Israel’s story of transformation would become the story of the transformation of God. The God who would see Jesus driven into the wilderness by the same Spirit that blessed him, in order to gather his scattered flock back to him once more. In the events surrounding Jesus’ coming, the gypsy-god breaks through the laws of nature in order to take his future forward once more.
Jesus takes us on a journey to the very heart of being. Divine or human, god or man, priest or prophet, rabbi or carpenter, how we know him may be how we know ourselves. How we see – experience our own lives may be how we see him. Perhaps at some point our own lives begin to resonate with his story – where meaning and myth meet – where the scriptures live: in the resonance of that life with our own – a ringing true which helps us as we make our way – find its truth – and live our lives with meaning and significance. To forge an identity we can own and from which we can live an authentic life. He shows us a way to being authentic. For above all else…he was authentic…real in the realest sense of the word. Flesh, blood, tears sorrow, questions and crisis and the mounting question as he turns his face toward Jerusalem aside the donkey now himself. How we answer this question will be the measure of our becoming.