How do you think Mary felt when her son all but disregarded her? Obviously, Mary was concerned for Jesus, hoping he wasn’t overdoing it and exhausting himself. Isn’t that what any good mother would do–want to protect her child from harm?
But this was Jesus. This was God. God’s mission would involve some long days, missed meals, and sleeping in unfamiliar, uncomfortable places. Jesus did that for us! In today’s reading, Jesus uses Mary’s concern as a teachable moment.
I marvel again at Jeremiah’s obedience to God. Each time God uses him for a new teachable moment Jeremiah continues to listen and follow. Those are two great ways we can stay connected with God. We need to listen and follow!
The visual God used this time was a shattered pot. Part of the message was seeing Jeremiah smash the pot to make a point. God’s intention was to give the people a surprise hoping that would catch their attention. It would have been a bit of a spectacle to have a man ranting and raving and then breaking a jar. Whether people saw him as crazy or not didn’t seem to matter. Jeremiah obeyed God.
Don’t you love when God uses “real life” items to make his point? Jeremiah often tells vivid stories given by God to illustrate Judah’s destiny. But I’m not sure how many loincloths I’ve seen being used in my lifetime in areas of the world where I’ve been. It would have made a lot more sense to people in Jeremiah’s day. Linen belts would be intimate pieces of clothing, like underwear. Linen was also used to make the priests’ robes, so it could be seen as “holy.” But the way God uses this illustration is stunning!
The message for us is not “be careful, linen doesn’t hold up too well if it’s buried in the ground.” What was the message you heard? God said to Jeremiah, “This shows how I will rot away the pride of Judah and Jerusalem.” Fun fact: linen gets stronger when wet, so when Jeremiah is told to not wash the garment, the linen is actually dry, its weakest state.