What I’m Thinking: Cranky Jesus

Like many prophets, Jesus got frustrated and cranky. Can we read both the frustrations of God and God’s blessings in the world?

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the twelfth chapter of Luke’s gospel (Luke 12:49-56), that portion when Jesus got cranky.

Jesus in the twelfth chapter had spent a good deal of time telling first the people in the crowd and then speaking with the smaller circle of his immediate followers and disciples about the urgent needs to be prepared for the reign of God. The reign of God, in Jesus’ mind, was coming and coming soon.

At this point, Jesus began to express some of his frustration. He’d come to bring a fire to the earth; he could not wait until that fire was kindled. He had come to receive a special baptism, and in this moment Jesus urgently desired that that baptism be fulfilled. He talked about bringing division. And he asked, why is it that you cannot recognize the signs of the times? You could look up to the sky and predict the weather; why can’t you see the signs of the times?

Jesus the prophet — Jesus the Messiah — was frustrated and anxious and cranky.

Jesus was certainly not the first of the great leaders of Israel to either feel that kind of frustration or to express it. I wonder: Can you imagine the frustration that God must feel in watching us human beings? Who, if we’re honest, know what is good and what is right.We know what is selfish; we know what is generous. We know how to care for one another; we know how we harm one another. We know, as the teacher in Ecclesiastes might have said, we know how to hate; we know how to love.

The signs of our times are not so different from the signs of Jesus’ time, in that human casual cruelty and tolerated evil is still rampant in the world. In many ways we expect it. We’re puzzled when it doesn’t appear.

Remember the frustrations of this teacher, healer, prophet, Messiah. Remember these frustrations because they reflect the frustrations of our Creator.

Remember these frustrations and remember also that this same frustrated God recalled to life the Savior that humanity rejected, and has given us the company of the Holy Spirit that we might never be alone.

Read the signs of the times the signs that say that human beings need to straighten up and fly right. Read the signs of the times that also say: our God is with us.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on August 8, 2022

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