In yesterday's Gospel reading Jesus was rejected by his home town, we heard they were "offended" by him. Today we hear about John the Baptist's murder at the hands of Herod and his family and when Jesus hears of it he needs to go away, so he gets in a boat to get some time alone. Tomorrow we will hear about Jesus getting off the boat and finding people having followed him and he feeds 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish, even though he was looking for some time to grief and recharge.
There is an arc to this story that we can miss if we don't read all of it, placing it in context. Certainly there are lessons to be taken from each pericope, but many times it is helpful to understanding (I'd say all times actually) the daily thread by keeping in mind the larger arc, the larger path the story is on.
From these three snippets of Jesus' life we are in the midst of, we see Jesus continue his ministry in the face of: being dissed by his family, learning of the death of cousin and when he is looking for some down-time to recharge, he instead finds people clammering for help. Part of the even larger picture is Jesus continuing on his journey, doing the work he is doing, knowing the cross is at the end of his mortal journey, and then a gift, through his self-sacrifice, for all of us.
Working through times of disappointment, hurt and times when we may be looking for rest, is part of the example we are given today, and yesterday, and tomorrow, by Jesus. There is a continuation, an ongoing work we are all called to do in the face of opposition, hurt, and requests for help. This work is all part of effectuating the creation of the kingdom Jesus' life and work pronounces.
Copyright 2009, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.