Untimely Interruptions

Message:  In Matthew 14 Jesus heard about the beheading of John the Baptist. As I read this I thought about the relationship between John and Jesus and how much their lives and purpose intertwined. They were cousins and both of their mothers had divine miracle conceptions of different types. As I pondered the history all the way back I realized how much their lives were tied together before they were even born.  When Mary told her cousin, Elizabeth about her miracle conception, John (who was conceived first) leapt in the womb of his mother. As John himself put it in John 1 “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” John had been conceived first but he knew Jesus existed long before he came in human form. John’s ministry began first and was drawing large crowds as he laid the ground work pointing ahead to Jesus. He preached and led disciples until Jesus came and he phased out. He knew his purpose was to come ahead of Jesus paving the way and their lives reflectively intertwined even to the point of suffering. John’s ministry ended and he was beheaded just as Jesus was beginning his ministry and was eventually crucified. When Jesus heard the news about John, he withdrew from the crowd by boat to a remote place to be alone. When the crowds heard this, they followed him on foot through the towns. Reading this I was instantly irritated at the thought of the personal invasion. Maybe they didn’t know why Jesus was alone or maybe they didn’t care. We don’t hear how long he was able to be alone in the boat but in my own speculation I don’t imagine it could have been long because the passage tells us that when he stepped ashore he saw the huge crowd, felt compassion for them and healed their sick. As it got late the disciples tried to send the crowd away to feed themselves, but Jesus told them to feed the crowd. I won’t get into the miracle story of feeding the 5,000+ because that’s usually the focal point of this story. What I really want to talk about here is that life is full of interruptions. People and situations often crash our schedules, our peace and our plans, and they don’t often know or care what we are dealing with. Our time spent alone (even if and when it is interrupted) gives us the ability to handle those interruptions with care and compassion

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