CHRIST GOES BEFORE
You may have had the experience of being lost in the woods, not knowing which way to turn, when suddenly you see the faint markings of a trail. Someone has been there before! Trail blazing is the practice of marking paths with blazes, signs that follow each other at certain distances and indicate the direction of the trail. These may be paint, affixed markers, flags, cairns (“ducks,” carefully arranged stones), or carved blazes (hatchet cuts). They tell travelers they are not alone.
During the season of Lent, we’ve been looking at the signs of discipleship exhibited by those first followers of Jesus, giving us clues as to what life in Christ looks like. Hearing their stories, we realize we are not alone as we navigate the Christian life in our time.
When the women arrived at the tomb on that first Easter, they found the stone rolled away and an angel sitting there. The angel’s words: “He is not here. He is risen, and He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.”
Jesus is our trail-blazer. He has gone before, and he has marked the way.
There’s a famous image in baseball: Babe Ruth, standing at the plate, pointing his bat to the very spot where he is planning to hit his next home run. Jesus was not a masochist, not a defeatist; he didn’t resign Himself to the cross. Rather, He began with the end in mind, pointing to the home run to come.
As we continue through Lent in this month of March, we recognize that Jesus was willing to walk with us through the hard times, facing every obstacle head-on, but always looking to the great reconciliation which was to come. Notice that he was going into Galilee—a familiar place, but one that would be different now. Because no place, no matter how familiar, stays the same.
We often worry about what’s ahead. Much has changed since last Easter; much will change before the next one. We ponder the future every day: national, international, personal. We may be feeling less secure, more tentative, less in control. We don’t know what this day will bring, let alone this year.
But no matter what comes, the message of Easter is this:
Christ is alive, and He is going ahead of us, and there we will see Him.