Frank Sinatra is one of the 20th Century’s most celebrated artists. Famously, Sinatra popularised the song “My Way” in 1969 which became an anthem for individualism in Western culture:
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
This is a song for the road, seemingly inverting Jesus’ own journey metaphors, asserting the individual’s right to self-determination and choice.
Today we find Jesus crashing into such mind-sets. Individual autonomy is nothing new, and we meet Jesus clashing with a group of religious heavies who believe in the right to flex their spiritual muscles as they see fit.
Jesus’ defense is rooted in his identity as the Son of God, the culmination in a series of prophets God had sent to call the tenants of Israel to account.
The Temple leaders tried to trap Jesus, demonstrating their belief that they would have the last word. Jesus’ response – that he is the “cornerstone” which held the ultimate authority – confounded them to plot a murderous response.
Likewise, we too can mistakenly fall into the fallacy that we have the last word. We desire to go our own way in life. A misinformed response could warp the pilgrim life – the road that Jesus calls us to. It’s a journey of tough adventure, but one where we are seeking to follow Him. When we start asserting our own rights, we risk going off route.
We are invited to travel with Jesus, being comforted and guided by the Prince of Peace. He has the ability to up-end any life which asserts the right of individual autonomy. In love, he invites us to take the pilgrim which celebrates journeying in companionship with fellow pilgrims.