Jesus the Example
What would you do if your best friend, cousin, and advance team captain was taken prisoner. You know it’s unfair. You know he’ll never get a fair trial. The political powers have conspired with the church and justice officials. There is nothing about this situation that is just. Nothing hopeful is on the horizon. What would you do?
What if you have more power and authority than any other human being? You can change water into wine. You can raise the dead. You can cast out demons. You can calm a storm with a word. Now, what do you do?
I might try to be stealthy, calling in a few favors. A word here. A suggestion there. A promise offered. A nod given. Sneaky. No need to make a scene. Just get him freed.
If that fails, I might try a power play. Brute force. Showdown. Let’s see who’s really in control here. Not Jesus. His approach is entirely different.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;repent and believe in the gospel.”Mark 1:14-15
Jesus is an example not because he has all power, authority, and moral superiority, but because he has all these things, but does not take advantage of any of them in the face of this distressful situation. We might think that Jesus has an unfair advantage over us mortals. He has all power, authority, perfect alignment with God, but does not take advantage of these in the face of this difficulty. Instead he provides an example for dealing with the vortex of anxiety and worry.
Recognize the arc of the Kingdom’s chronology. We overestimate what we can do in the short term while underestimate what God can do in the long term. We measure our days in hours and minutes. God measures his kingdom in eras, and millenia. Jesus not only realized this, but actually announced it. His response to John’s imprisonment was to announce that “the time” was at hand.
The word for time that Jesus uses here is kairos. This distinctive kingdom language. This is not a tick on the clock. This is not a daily to-do list item. Something big is happening here. John’s arrest is the signal that a move of God is underway. This is a momentous moment.
That requires faith. And we will take that up tomorrow.