Monday, April 02, 2007

Jesus the homeless

A recent sermon made the point that Jesus was homeless, and I was reminded of that when I noticed this in today's reading from Luke:
51As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.... 57As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." 58Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
Luke 9:57-58
Now there's a bizarre interaction. My initial reaction was to feel like a wimp, because I'm not signing up to leave my house and mortgage, my 401(k) and IRA and 529 accounts for the kids' college educations. But looking at the passage, it seems a little, uh, strange. Jesus is walking along, resolutely, toward Jerusalem. They come to a village. A guy walks up and says, "I'll follow you," but he doesn't, really. Jesus didn't recruit him; he just volunteered -- but half-heartedly.

It's interesting to see how Jesus deals with various people. Some, who have no idea of what to say, come to him for healing or something, and he meets them more than half-way. Others he seems indifferent about -- like this fellow.

Here's something that comes to mind. Jesus talked about how the poor in spirit were blessed. This fellow who came up to him was effectively saying, "I have what it takes to sign up with you." He presented himself as an adequate, dedicated, zealous guy who could follow wherever the Lord would take him.

Apparently, Jesus had another opinion -- an opinion that was confirmed when the man didn't sign up after all.

Jesus meets some other people in this brief passage, and none of them follow him. They have various excuses, and you can read in commentaries about what "let me go and bury my father" really means.

But today, as I rode the train to the office, the image of Jesus, the Lord of the universe, my master and savior, as a homeless rabbi -- well, that was something to think about.

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