Could it be any clearer that Jesus brought to every situation a loftier, grander perspective, a thinking so far beyond anyone else in his vicinity?
17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.Mark 12:17 ESV
24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?Mark 12:24 ESV
Jesus of course was intimately acquainted with both.
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.Mark 12:34 ESV
From this recorded interchange of attack and defense, Jesus and his disciples enter a discussion about the signs of the end times. Jesus does not step in with trepidation. He has a clear understanding of what he needs to know and a confident trust that what he does not know, what will be revealed as needed, is held securely in loving, powerful hands.
If those around him have the ears to hear, they can hear in each of Christ’s words the burden he carries. The concern he has for those that will be alive when the wrath of God will be poured out on the earth, even as he awaits his own time of bearing the wrath of God on behalf of the sins of all mankind. The message for every hearer is not to get lost in the details and the figuring out a time, but to stay vigilant. God knows the future, not us. God is sovereign, not us. God is perfectly just, not us.
37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.Mark 13:37 ESV
Then, he goes on to live out what that looks like. Even in the midst of the chief priests and scribes plotting his demise and one of his own disciples accepting a bribe to betray him, Jesus goes on speaking truth and loving others.
4 There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.Mark 14:4-8 ESV
When Jesus finds himself once again in the middle of swirling criticism, he manages to maintain both the big picture and the eye for the individual. He recognizes the beauty of the woman’s sacrifice, and protects her from any shame cast her way. He also feels heavily the weight of what is to come shortly, the moment that Israel had looked forward to in faith for millennia. He would fulfill the law. The emotion of every word he speaks carries that weight.
I can never begin to understand the burden of carrying the sins of the world. I cannot expect my words to carry such weight, insight, and prophetic clarity. Yet, I can still pull from Jesus’s example and conduct. Love the individual, do not grow weary, trust my Father’s heart and plan, and encourage those around me to do the same.
Father God, thank you for this glimpse into the suffering before the suffering and the wisdom that poured from Christ’s lips leading up to his death on my behalf. Help me respond to his wise words today and each day. Do not let me ever be lulled into living without your purpose. Open my eyes to the individual that needs love today. Continue to grow my faith in your plan and your character. In Jesus name, amen.