... Jesus has been saying, 'The first will be last, the last, first.' But if he thinks we, who have worked so hard for so long to achieve the standing and status we have in our village, will easily relinquish it to the young, the inexperienced, the incomers, then he needs to think again. If he thinks that, for the sake of the suffering ones and vulnerable ones, we will be prepared to relinquish any of our luxuries, then he has a fight on his hands.
We liked Jesus the youth, devoted to learning, devoted to prayer. For those of us who find learning and prayer difficult he seemed to be acting for us, on our behalf, living out his life that way. We appreciated and accepted him when he was our devout young carpenter.
But we don’t like Jesus the teacher, whose teachings seem to directly attack the way we are. We don’t want to be told how to live alongside others in our village; we don’t want our ways challenged. We don’t want to change our ways. We certainly don’t want to have to think about reaching out with all our heart and energy to those we dislike or don’t know. We don’t want to sit at Jesus’ feet to learn from him how we can heal old wounds and make a fresh start in relationships gone sour.
If that’s what Jesus wants from us then we don’t want him here any more. He’s got no place in our village any more because in our village we don’t do things his way, we refuse to learn how to do things his way. His word is an offence to us. We’ll carry on the same old way without him. We’ll carry on with our family lives and working lives, our attendence at public worship, our social lives, just as we always have. And having given Jesus his marching orders, no-one need realise that we ever knew him.