[Matthew 19 – The Message]
Jesus and the Pharisees have a dialog about marriage – but they seem to be talking about different things. The Pharisees want to know what men’s rights are in the legal construct. Jesus talks about God’s hand in making relationships – and the challenges we have in living up to that. Isn’t that the way with many of Jesus’ conversations? We don’t really know what he is talking about because our self-interests blind us to possibilities.
What follows is a series of encounters where this theme is evident, again and again. They send the children away because Jesus is ‘too busy.’ Jesus points to the children as examples of true faith – the center of his work. One follower asks about ‘getting’ eternal life. Jesus talks about giving everything away. The disciples don’t understand – because getting stuff – having stuff – that’s what makes a better life, right? Giving everything away is counter-intuitive. Then, in an effort to claim the high ground (to merit eternal life – a effort that echoes the follower’s first question) they talk about what they have given up. And Jesus commends them. He knows it is all upside down for them.
It takes a while to get your orientation in the world that he sees – it may take a lifetime.