29
MAR
2019

The Beauty of the Ashes: Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

 

“Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now,

but you will follow later.”

John 13:36 NRSV

 

I know it’s a weak metaphor, but I love the Wizard of Oz. When Dorothy is told that to get home she needs to find the Wizard in Emerald City, and that the only way to find him is to follow the yellow brick road – I see a modern parallel to Jesus and his disciples.

In John 8:21 Jesus tells those who are questioning him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow”. However, in speaking to his disciples in John 13, on the last night before the cross, Jesus tells them that while they can’t follow him then, they will follow later. Then in chapter 14, Jesus tells them they know they way:

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” (emphasis added)

John 14:1-4 NKJV

Thomas then says in verse five what they were all thinking when he asked Jesus, “How can we know the way?” That’s a great question for each of us to ask this Lenten season. The Lenten spiritual practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are all guides to help us find the way of Jesus.

‘And where I go you know, and the way you know.’

The way of Jesus is the way to eternal life. To use my earlier metaphor, it’s the yellow brick road that leads to all the answers we need to get home. After all, that is where Jesus was going – home to Heaven, and that’s where we want to go too.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (vs. 6). The cross is the way home. No one gets home, literally or spiritually without dying. For those who will follow Jesus, there awaits a cross at the end of our yellow brick road. Or, perhaps, we should say the cross it at the start of our yellow brick road. We must die to ourselves before we can even begin the journey home.

‘For those who will follow Jesus, there awaits a cross at the end of your yellow brick road.’

I like to contemplate the cross of Christ on each Friday of Lent. Jesus said His disciples could follow him – later, after He conquered death for them in His resurrection. So too, He conquers death for all who will believe and follow. What the cross turned to ash Jesus made beautiful. Are you following?

Shalom for a Holy Lent,

Pastor Brad

About the Author
Brad is Associate Pastor of Wichita First Church of the Nazarene, and the founder of the Merciful Servants of Christ, a spiritual formation teaching ministry of Brad Riley Ministries.

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