Jesus went with Plan B, but God’s Plan A is best

Published 12:47 pm Saturday, July 21, 2018

By R.A. Mathews

When I was really young, we only had one TV. Consequently, my brother and I watched programs my dad liked—Westerns. I’ve seen enough to know there’s often a posse and they usually split up.

“We’ll meet at Chimney Rock!” the sheriff would yell. Then they’d race off in different directions.

But Hollywood didn’t invent the meet-up. Jesus had such a plan for His disciples after the crucifixion—a designated rendezvous place.

We learn about it when the women come to the tomb early on Sunday morning. “He has risen,” an angel says to them. “Go tell his disciples and Peter. He is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see Him just as He told you.” Mark 16:6-7

Pretty cool—a meet-up neatly planned before His death.

Here’s my pop quiz, which I give regularly. When the disciples learn of the resurrection, they:

Rejoiced greatly;

Went and told everyone;

Headed for Galilee;

Refused to believe.


The answer: “When they heard that [Jesus] was alive…they refused to believe it.” Mark 16:11

Two of those disciples apparently had planned a trip for that Sunday. So they leave and walk seven miles into the country, talking the whole way about Jesus. A man who’s also walking that road overhears them.

“What are you talking about?” the man asks.

“Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of what’s happened?”

“What?” the man 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 continue by saying, “We were hoping it was He who was going to redeem Israel.”

Finally they tell him about being amazed that day when they were told He was alive.

When the two reach their destination, they ask the man to join them.

“Stay with us,” they say. “The day is nearly over.”

The man agrees, but 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 those seven miles from Emmaus back to Jerusalem, breathlessly telling the disciples, “The Lord has really risen!” Luke 24:13-35

Okay. Let’s do this again. The disciples then:

Rejoiced greatly;

Went and told everyone;

Headed for Galilee;

Refused to believe.


The answer: “… they did not believe them either.” Mark 16:13

It’s hard for us to read this in Scripture, 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? Don’t these places get jumbled in your head – Jerusalem, Nazareth, Judea, Galilee?

This story will help you remember. I bought a country home several years ago when I was in trial with a lawyer in a large city.

“The country!” he said. “You don’t want to live in the middle of nowhere!”

City folk can be prejudiced against country folk. The same was true in Jesus’ day.

Galilee was a country province up north. Samaria was south of it—an area considered so vile that many Pharisees took the longer road around Samaria. And south of Samaria, was real Jewish land—Judea. So Bible geography is sort of like a three-layered parfait.

Jerusalem and Golgotha are at the bottom in Judea. But the northern country province of Galilee was Jesus’ home—Nazareth was in Galilee. This part is touching: Maybe our Lord just wanted to go home after His crucifixion, to be reunited with His beloved disciples there.

But that’s not happening. The disciples don’t believe He’s alive.

What’s a risen Savior to do?

Jesus hatches Plan B—He appears to the disciples in Jerusalem, and He’s most unhappy about it, too. Scripture says, “(Jesus) reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart.” Mark 16:14

But it could have gone so differently—Plan A would have been a joyous homecoming in Galilee!

Listen, if God puts something on your heart, even if you think it’s impossible, do it. Go with Plan A. God’s first choice for you is always His best.

Believe Him.


© 2017, 2018 R.A. Mathews     The Rev. Mathews is a faith columnist, attorney, and the author of “Reaching to God: Great Truths from the Bible.”