I hope Jesus felt better when he finally got it off his chest. He has been obviously frustrated with the Pharisees, with the crowds around him and now he is a bit put-off by his disciples, who still just do not understand....but how could they? Jesus might well have been speaking a foreign language for all the sense he was making to them, and that barrier must have been causing him frustration until he finally says it aloud: I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! He is referring to his torture and murder on a cross to which he is headed in Jerusalem. And there, he admitted it, he's stressed out about having to do this incomprehensible thing. And he is still speaking as if in a foreign tongue to them, talking about a baptism that he has to undergo....The disciples are probably thinking...but didn't John already baptize him in the Jordan River? And I'm sure Jesus just throws his hands in the air in exasperation and turns his ire on the crowd asking them the rhetorical questions: How can you not know by now who you are following? How can you still be listening to those Pharisees?
I love how Luke gives Jesus these human emotions as he is on his way to perform a divine undertaking. I find Luke to be the Gospel writer who best exhibits Jesus as fully human and fully divine. Jesus may get exasperated, he may get fed up, he may say difficult things, but he also says loving things. He also shares table with outcasts. He also washes these impossibly dense disciples' feet. Being exasperated with our fellow humans, due to their not getting it, is a natural reaction, which Jesus models for us today. That exasperation does not stop him from continuing on this scary path he is trodding. Nor should the exasperation we can feel at times stop us.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.