The themes of this chapter are –
- God appears
- A demon appears
- Jesus unfolds the future
- The disciples grieve
- Jesus provides the basics
The story of Jesus is the story of God coming to earth for a visit to explain life and truth. Those truths, though infinitely complex, apply to our lives every single day. Truths such as
- God is beyond our imagination, but reachable = Jesus transfigured.
- Evil exists and can be overwhelming = The disciples fail to cast out a demon.
- Incorrect expectations lead to disappointment = Jesus predictions of the future cause grief
- Following Jesus is to live in the world but not be of the world. = Jesus pays tax, through a miracle.
I reckon being a disciple would have been difficult. They left everything to follow this guy called Jesus, expecting that he was the deliverer from their lives of slavery. What they learned was that, yes, he was their deliverer, he did have the power to “take them home”, but his pathways for achieving this deliverance were different from what they had expected.
Following Jesus in most of these situations, left the disciples confused, feeling helpless and even grieved.
Jesus remained with them and taught them and provided for them every step of the way.
Living as a Christian is to live like a salmon swimming upstream. The Gospels show us that the principles Jesus taught are often “counter-intuitive” to cultural norms. It can be confusing and even difficult, however, these principles are truth; and Jesus is always with us to prod, teach and even provide, sometimes (but not always) in miraculous ways.
Lord, your wisdom does not need to be popular to be true. Help me to listen to the whisper of your wisdom, even amidst those times when what I expected is not the way you choose. By the way Lord, I also look forward to those times when a fish pays my taxes…….