Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. Luke 17:11 NIV
Identifying what village, town or city where Jesus did something noteworthy enough to be recorded in scripture has become kind of a game for me. Identifying the location where Jesus travelled can be like a game of Concentration or Word Search. Sometimes scripture very clearly states where Jesus publicly pops up and other times I scour the scripture for his location. The passage from Luke 17 takes place along the border. The phrase 'along the border' captured my attention.
Bill and I have travelled to Israel-Palestine many times. One trip we were given permission to enter the Temple Mount. There are only certain people that can experience both the option to pray at the Western 'Wailing' Wall and walk the sacred ground of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. Some people say that piece of real estate is the most volatile in the world and with good reason. There is a wooden covered bridge that connects the entrance to the Temple Mount with the two-thousand year old city street below. Security checkpoints greet anyone attempting to enter these areas.
About halfway up the walking bridge I stopped to watch about a dozen Orthodox Jewish men covered in the black and white prayer shawls dance and celebrate during a Bar Mitzvah. A twelve year old boy read aloud his Torah passage in the center of the swirling chaos of black and white stripes. There was hundreds of other praying Orthodox men covered in black and white prayer shawls packed into that sacred space. I felt their exuberance as I observed like a voyeur from within the covered bridge. I knew I had experienced something very special. I witnessed firsthand something a boy's own mother would only hear about in bits and pieces as her son recalled his story to interested listeners.
A thought entered my mind as I turned away from the raucous scene to walk a little further toward the threshold of the Temple Mount. My belief in Jesus and my citizenship as an American allowed me the privilege to travel between these two holy places. Jews claim the Western Wall as the most sacred holy place and Muslims claim the Temple mount as their third most holy site. Jews and Muslims are forbidden to enter the other's sacred space. But, I was allowed to travel to both places. I travelled along the border.
Imagine all the intricate borders Jesus travels. Jesus is Son of Man and Son of God. Jesus navigates the borders of divinity and humanity as God Incarnate. He is most holy yet a friend of sinners. Jesus is sinless and pure the Passover Lamb whose blood takes away the sins of the world. Jesus lived among the poor yet resides as a King in a Kingdom where borders belong only to the human heart. I pray you continue to identify the border regions Jesus travelled. Perhaps the most important border is the one we have yet to cross. Jesus died yet he overcame death so that we might live.
The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst. Luke 17:21-22 NIV