When I was little, we had one TV. My mom rarely cared about television, unless it was something like Billy Graham, so my dad decided what we'd watch. He loved Westerns.
I grew up knowing a posse always had a meet-up place. “Okay,” the sheriff would yell. “We'll meet-up at Chimney Rock!”
But such ideas existed long before television. Jesus scheduled a meet-up for His disciples after the Crucifixion. A designated rendezvous place. It’s in Scripture.
We learn of it when the women come to the tomb early on Sunday morning. The angel says, “He has risen… go tell His disciples and Peter that He is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.” Mark 16:6-7
The meet-up. Neatly planned by Jesus.
What happens then when the disciples learn of the Resurrection? Do they:
a) Rejoice greatly;
b) Go and tell everyone;
c) Head for Galilee;
d) A, B, and C; or
e) Refuse to believe.
Take a second and decide.
Here's what Scripture says: “When they heard that [Jesus] was alive… they refused to believe it.” Mark 16:11
Two of those disciples were headed to a village that day, and a man walking the same road overhears their conversation.
“What’re you talking about?” he asks.
“Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of what's happened?”
“What?” he asks.
So they tell him about Jesus. “He was a prophet, mighty in deed and word in the sight of God…” They explain how He was crucified, and then tell about hearing He was alive.
The man begins explaining Scripture to them, and when the two reach their village, they ask the man to join them.
“Stay with us,” they say. “The day is nearly over.”
The man agrees. As they're eating that evening, the man breaks bread and that's when it happens. They know it’s Jesus!
The Lord then vanishes.
Immediately, the men race seven miles from the village of Emmaus back to Jerusalem, breathlessly telling the disciples, “The Lord has really risen!” Luke 24:13-35
Okay. Let’s do this again. Then the disciples:
a) Rejoiced greatly;
b) Went and told everyone;
c) Headed for Galilee;
d) Refused to believe.
Take a second and decide.
Scripture says, “… they did not believe them.” Mark 16:13
It’s hard for us to read but imagine how Jesus felt. If He’d gone ahead to Galilee, as He’d planned, He’d have been there twirling His thumbs. The disciples weren’t coming.
Why did Jesus choose Galilee? What was Galilee?
If places like Emmaus, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Judea, and Galilee get jumbled in your head, this story may help you.
I was born and reared in a large Southern city. Six years ago, I bought a country home.
“The country!” a friend said. “No. You can’t live in the middle of nowhere!”
City folks can be prejudiced against country folks. The same was true in Jesus’ day.
Galilee was a country province in the northern area of what had once been Israel. Samaria was south of it — an area considered so vile that many Pharisees walked around Samaria. And south of Samaria, was Judea, the Jewish nation.
Judeans considered themselves more sophisticated and made fun of their northern Jewish cousins.
So Bible geography is like a three-layered parfait. I’ve oversimplified this, but you get the idea: Galilee, Samaria, Judea.
The Crucifixion, Jerusalem, and Emmaus were all at the bottom in Judea, while Jesus’ home was the city of Nazareth in Galilee at the top.
Why the meet-up in Galilee?
This part is touching. Perhaps our Lord just wanted to go home.
After the ordeal of the Crucifixion, maybe He wanted to be reunited with His disciples in the land of his childhood.
Except, Jesus isn’t getting His wish. It’s not happening. The disciples don’t believe He’s alive.
What’s a risen Savior to do?
Jesus turns to Plan B. Our Lord appears to the disciples in Jerusalem, and He's not happy. “(Jesus) reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart.” Mark 16:14
It could have gone so differently — Plan A would have been a joyous homecoming in Galilee!
Listen, if God puts something on your heart, there’s one choice. DO IT.
Even if you think it's impossible, believe Him. Go with Plan A. God’s first choice for you is always His best.
The Rev. Mathews is a faith columnist, seminary graduate, and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact Mathews at Letters@RAMathews.com. Copyright © R.A. Mathews 2017, 2018, 2021. All rights reserved.
This article originally appeared on The Star: God’s best choice for you is ‘Plan A’