A lot of the miracles that Jesus performed happened as “he was passing through” from one place to another.
Along the way, Jesus suddenly made “by-the-way” pit stops, and someone’s life would change forever.
To the disciples and the average bystander, these encounters looked random and haphazard. Some looked dangerous.
Jesus passed through Samaria, a town where there was fierce mutual animosity with the Jews because of a feud that was centuries old. He could’ve easily circumvented the area — but he had an appointment with this Samaritan woman at the well.
Jesus didn’t care about racism or class warfare or family feuds: his own bloodline was coursing with Rahab, a pagan prostitute, Ruth, a Moabite foreigner, Judah, a philanderer, and David, an adulterer and murderer.
Yet he crossed these worldly boundaries — even the infinite distance between Heaven and earth — and met us broken people in all our grit and dirt. He was never just passing through. He was always reaching across the great divide into the human heart.
It must’ve been an unpredictable adventure to see where Jesus would go next.
Imagine those disciples, putting on their sandals again, ready to backpack through rough terrain to see Jesus meet a broad cast of characters: lepers, the poor, the blind, the demon-possessed, adulterous women, the paralyzed, the rich government officials, the tax collectors, the religious corrupt, and all the outcasts of society.
Imagine Jesus, inviting you and me, and all the places we would go.
No: there are no accidents, and yes: he meets you exactly where you are, at the right time, never early and never late, with the full force of his grace initiated out of his unstoppable love.
He met ten lepers and healed them on the way to Jerusalem.
He met Zacchaeus the chief tax collector as he passed through Jericho.
He met a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years in the middle of a crowded street as he was on the way to a dying young girl.
After stopping a storm, Jesus got on a boat and went to the shore of the Gerasenes, destroyed a multi-headed demon named Legion out of a helpless man, and just as quickly left.
He met people who were not looking for him: but he found them and gave them what they didn’t even know they needed.
One moment we were doing what we wanted apart from God even though this was hurting us; we had no love or care for the things of God; we were blind to being blind; we were called “enemies of the cross” — but Jesus said I love you anyway and he came to us.
He knew everything about you and everything you did before and all you would do from here: but he still made the leap from a throne to a manger to a cross. He also passed from death to life and met a couple guys on the road to Emmaus: whose hearts burned within them, changed for eternity.
No one expected the empty tomb, either.
But those ladies who went to visit that grave: for them, they were just “passing through.”
The craziest things happen that way.
Jesus continues to make that appointment with you everyday. His grace, acceptance, validation, wisdom, and daily deliverance is all the empowerment we need: and it’s when we expect it least but need it most that he flexes his power.
Jesus invites you now into that story, where he is sovereign, where the road ahead looks risky and unappealing, where it looks like he has lost control and nothing makes sense: but it’s where he actually begins to roll up his sleeves to create an incredible collision of dirt and grace, to show this is all a God-thing, to give you a mission beyond yourself that is a different sort of life than you ever could’ve imagined — to show he is never far, but just around the bend.
He is always ready for you to join him on the way.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
— Matthew 4:19
Originally posted here on my Tumblr.