It seems to be human nature to want to go back to a place where life was fresh, possibilities endless, and friendships grew deep and strong. Perhaps that place is our childhood home, perhaps it is our alma mater, perhaps in our home church.
My wife and I have done this very thing. After decades of living in cities from the Southeast to the Northwest to Eastern Europe, we have now returned home. It is the place where both my wife and I received Jesus as our Savior. The place where we met as members of a Gospel group. It is the primary location where my wife grew up, as did I. We each began fledgling ministries; we each learned to feed upon God’s Word; we each learned to walk by faith.
What About Jesus?
When we wonder about Jesus’ special place, no doubt our thoughts go to the Mount of Olives. And truly, that place is highly significant in Christ’s earthly ministry. However, there is another place that was significant to Jesus.
Most of our Lord’s ministry had been as an itinerant minister, but towards the end He let the people come to Him. Undoubtedly, His heart was heavy and He was weary to the bone. Before He came to this place where He had such pleasant memories, the Jewish leaders had tried to kill Him, twice [a].
And There He Remained
The place our Lord returned to, as He prepared for His death upon His cross, was where He had met with His cousin, John. It was the place His Father spoke aloud to Him; the place where the Holy Spirit descended upon Him as a dove. The place where He set off for His battle with the devil in the wilderness. This place is revealed in John 10:40-42 :
He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.John 10:40-42 (ESV)
Our Lord understands our need to revisit places that have been important in our lives. There seems to be a desire in many of us to see landmarks that stir memories of our life in Christ. I thank God for His compassion; His understanding of our needs.
I am not saying that your remarkable place is your hometown. That wasn’t the case for Jesus, nor the case for Abraham, and it hasn’t been the case for many people I know. However, I hope you have a special place.
“And there he remained” was not permanent. Jesus left and returned to Jerusalem where He paid the price for my sins and yours. As the Word of God, in the book of Hebrews states, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself [Jesus] likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil…” (Hebrews 2:14) (rabbit trail: Notice that Jesus always finishes what He starts.)
As imitators of Jesus (1 Thessalonians 1:6), we may not remain in our special place forever. But while we are there, we have the liberty to recall our early victories and to minister to those that come to us.
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[a] The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. (John 10:21) Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. (John 10:39)