Jesus went up the mountain to have some time alone. He was attracting more and more attention and his audience was changing—larger, more diverse and more volatile, even threatening. You can just feel the crowd jostling with each other to get closer to him and shouting at him to get his attention. What must he have been thinking? What was going through the minds of those who had just signed on who themselves were drawing more attention. They were becoming known as his disciples. Were they also expected to protect him? Be his bodyguards? His mother was even there. What must she have been thinking?
Most of those coming to hear him teach were moved by his words. He was touching them in ways hard to express. He was different but how to explain just how he was so to those who had not yet seen him or had yet to hear him speak. These were not the Jews who frequented the Temple. These were Jews outside. Some were not Jews at all. They were not people of the Book. Who were they? Scary business I would say.
Increasingly there were those who sought to be healed by him. Just relieve my pain. Help me walk. Make it stop hurting.
The word was out.
More and more they were outcasts in society. First on the fringes but closer and closer. The authorities had to be told. This could get out of control. This many people could mean trouble.
Jesus’ invitation was not just words. It had the ring of truth. Especially to those not used to being invited. This truth was liberating. It sounded like freedom.
But some were there to spy on him; to take notes on what he said and make a list of those who were listening, They intended to sell him out. Make a few bucks by ratting on him. Give him over to Herod. Let him worry about him.
This is the message for Lent. Pre-Resurrection. Preamble to something not yet imaginable.