He doesn’t seem to hurry. Yet He has told us that many villages must be visited during his allotted time. Allotted? Does that mean that he foresees some abrupt end to this marvelous circuit?
He leaves us most nights, from hospitable quaint home or makeshift roadside camp. It would seem that prayer is so very much more important to him than sleep. But the following day no signs of lagging or fatigue. The crowds never let up. They press in smiling; straining to hear or watch.
Becoming almost rude in their eagerness.
At the most unpredictable times he will step off to the side, seat himself upon a wagon or boulder and tell one of his stories. Straight out of where they live. Challenging them to forgive, to share, to seek no haughty posture, to approach the Almighty as a father, involved and merciful and in the commonplace.
He knows the prophets, but does not swing such knowledge around as a hammer of condemnation or of authority. The bunch of us try to clear the way for him, village to village. To organize the people into manageable audiences. To keep the children’s noise at a distance. But he will not countenance the splitting off of the little ones; neither does he have any reservation that his messages are beyond them. They scramble for place in his lap, at his feet, within reach of those hands of comfort and healing, under that gaze so approving and hopeful.
There have been times when we have felt the need to apply a firm hand. He is worthy of great respect, but so often he demonstrates that it is the farthest thing from his mind. Not like any of the other rabbis. Strangely, in such a posture, he tells all that the Kingdom of God has come. Not like a thunderstorm; rather like the early morning dew.
Thunder. I had my day on that one. I can hardly understand what came over me and my brother. Something ignorant, imperious and indignant. Back there, one of the villages of the Samaritans. Completely rejected our offer to visit. Imagine! Making light of the Master, the God-sent mission , the Good News! At that moment, seemed like time for the rod. Like time for vindication and reprisal. Like time for fire from heaven upon the contemptuous.
A short while earlier, three of us had been up on the Mount, dazed by the visit of holy men of old, hearing in our stupour the voice of God Himself, “My beloved Son. Hear him”. I still don’t know what it all meant.
Jesus had called James and me the Sons of Thunder. He had said that our outburst was of a spirit completely different from His. We felt His disappointment. What can be done? What are our chances? He is so far beyond us.