This year, we’re (I’m) reading Mark and writing for us as I read. I’m not tracking by verses and chapters, but seeing the way that the writer is building a sense of who Jesus is, often through the use of little scenes wrapped around a quote or action from Jesus. I’m not writing a verse by verse commentary, but am certainly offering commentary. (Where we’ve been so far.)
We got five quick pictures of Jesus responding to people pushing back: after he told someone their sins were forgiven, after Jesus feasted with tax collectors and sinners, after Jesus’ disciples weren’t keeping the prescribed fasts, after Jesus’ disciples were “harvesting on the Sabbath” (picking some handfuls of grain), and after Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath.
At the end of these scenes, two power groups began to plot to kill him.
So what does Jesus do?
He pulled back.
In the next three scenes, Jesus will head back to the north side of Lake Tiberius, back to where he invited Simon and Andrew to follow him. He’ll pick a small team to learn how to do what he’s doing. And religious leaders and his family will come to find him.
It’s not so much that he’s running away, I don’t think. As he says in other places, “my time has not yet come.” That said, a core part of his work was to equip others who will equip others. That’s what teachers with disciples do. It’s hard to do that when you are constantly being distracted and your students are being picked on. Until they have the framework for handling that harassment, which will come in the next section.
Sometimes, pulling back from the sandstorm of argument is a way to move forward with what really matters.
That bears reflection.