The cycle of parenting begins at birth when your child is wholly dependent on you. At some point independence steps in. By the teenage years, the child starts to rebel and the natural separation begins. The teenager is not at all impressed by the parent and is sometimes embarrassed by the obvious hovering or parental attempts at being cool. Then the child leaves home and starts a life of their own. All of a sudden, Mom and Dad are a lot wiser now. Friendship can blossom between parent and child. The circle of life.
Well, here, it’s almost as if Jesus is disowning his own mother and siblings. He asks “Who is my mother?” Of course, he knows Mary and he cares for her deeply, but those words? If she were to hear them, would she be hurt that her son, the Son of God, has questioned her identity? Was he being disrespectful?
People can be selfish and driven by materialistic desires. Jesus is challenging us here. If we deny him, he will deny us. On the flip side, and this is the side I’d rather be on, for those who publically acknowledge Jesus, he will acknowledge them. It sounds kind of like, “if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours.” There is more to it than that.
As a follower of Christ, we know he is the only way to the Father. It isn’t by anything we can do or say. We are given the choice of being quiet or speaking out. I believe God will place opportunities in our path to act. We have all missed out on these divine appointments by choosing to be quiet. Don’t you wish you could go back and have a do-over sometimes?
I might have been shaking in my boots (or sandals). Jesus’ directions to his followers were thorough yet frightening. Why frightening? Because it was new territory for them. They had seen Jesus healing and teaching, and now he was kicking them out of the nest, so to speak. Jesus felt they were ready to take the Good News to the people of Israel. The lost ones.
Did they feel ready? Were they equipped? How would they know what to do? Sometimes we need to get pushed out of our comfort zone. It’s been said that great things never came from comfort zones. If we’re growing, we are most likely out of our comfort zone. If Jesus thought they were prepared, there should be no hesitancy. They will go. We should go, too.
There are some harsh things being said by Jesus in today’s reading, didn’t you think? I suppose his frustration is coming through. He may be experiencing some of the same feelings that movie stars and people in the limelight often encounter. They have to have bodyguards and people to diffuse the masses. Clearly, Jesus wanted some alone time.
We all need that alone time. Especially introverts. They are recharged from solitude while extroverts are energized by being around people. Jesus was needing to spend time with his Father I’m guessing. The alone time we all should seek is spending time with God, reading his word, reflecting, praying. When we can actually slow down and listen, God will speak to us, too.
This may be a short reading today, but a powerful one. Let’s unpack it a little bit.
First of all, Levi (Matthew) was a tax collector. It’s hard for us to really grasp what this means in our own context. When you think tax collector, think ruthless, think swindler, think selfish. It was a job that would make men wealthy because they were taking more than the government required. Yet, so long as the government was getting paid, little was done to monitor and hold these officials accountable.
With that in mind, Jesus picked one, Levi, to be his disciple, his follower, his friend. The Pharisees had a field day with this one! The NLT translation refers to them as “scum.” Other versions would say, sinners, crooks, etc. Continue reading “Luke 5:27-32 – Are You Sick?”