Carry on

[Matthew 4:12-17]

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee.

It sounds like running away.

John had been by the Jordan River. He was on the end of that river closest to Jerusalem. Closest to the authorities. Closest to the people in power that he was attacking. John got too critical, too specific. He was a bit too zealous in speaking truth to the political and spiritual powers. He got put in prison.

At the other end of the Jordan River was Galilee. It was as far from the authorities, as far from the people in power, as far from what anyone who mattered cared about as you could get. (And still be in Israel, that is.)

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee.

It sounds, at first, like Jesus is running away, that he is quitting, that he is going home. He’s been to see John. He’s been to the wilderness. He’s been to the devil and the angels.

And now he’s going back home?

The expectation,  the preparation, the affirmation, the initial confrontation–all that is done. The thirty years we know little of are over. Jesus had to get through them to get to this.

And this is what Isaiah said would happen. That’s what Matthew says.  This region of darkness would see a great light. The people living on the edge, culturally, would find the same hope that people huddling in darkness find at sunrise.

Many of us go lots of places, learn lots of things, have lots of experiences. But at some point we have to go home and get started on what we are called to do. Preparation is important. The for what, essential.

And Christ followers have a for what.