No escape — Matthew 19:1-2

The Kings Instructions

Advent 2021

There is a pattern emerging. Jesus has something to do but the pressure of the crowds and their expectations of who they thought Jesus is is preventing this from happening. Jesus crossed over the River Jordan to escape before, the crowds followed before and Jesus healed their sick before. A previous time was for the feeding of the 5,000. This post is about what is different this time.

The outside of the escape room, Stuck in the Riddle.

19 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

Matthew 19:1-2 ESV UK

The story of Jesus is beginning to sound like one of those escape rooms. You manage to escape one room and you have another to escape from. (I chose a picture of an escape room in Huddersfield because that is where I live.)

Jesus has tried to escape in different ways so far:

Crossing the Jordan the first time did not help, The crowds followed, Jesus healed and faced with a hungry crowd, Jesus fed 5,000 men, plus all the women and children that were there.

Jesus travels to the area of Tyre and Sidon where he casts a demon from the daughter of a Canaanite or Syrophoenician woman.

Jesus feeds 4,000 Gentile people in the area east of the River Jordan.

Jesus is declared to be the Christ, the Messiah, by Peter and Jesus tells them of his upcoming death in Jerusalem. This happens in the region of Caesarea Philippi. Each time we are getting further away from Galilee, where Jesus was operating.

In an among these stories outside Galilee the opposition to Jesus is rising. First the local Pharisees, Then they are joined by Pharisees from Judea, then Sadducees join with them and finally they circumvent Jesus and take their questioning to Peter.

The difference now is that Jesus has announced to his disciples that he is going to Jerusalem where he will die and be raised from the dead. Before this, the crowds were there and Jesus ministers to them and teaches them. In this new phase, the crowds are a hindrance preventing Jesus from getting to Jerusalem.

This is Advent. We think firstly about the return of Jesus as the judge of the world. But a secondary meaning of Advent is thinking of the incarnation when God in the form of Jesus Christ became human in the world. It is a season of hope, but the reason for coming was to deal with sin once and for all time on the cross.

The first trip south was as a fetus, in the womb of Mary to be born in Bethlehem, the town where King David was born. The last trip south is to the city where David built his capital city, Jerusalem. It starts here.

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