Meandering through the riches of the Gospel of John. Chapter six of John's story relates two of Jesus' most famous miracles. First, he feeds a whole mess of people with a couple of fish and a few pieces of bread. Then, he walks on water. Some folks who experienced these amazing events firsthand are convinced that Jesus truly is the Son of God (and later, Jesus tears into others for seeing these miracles and not believing). Sandwiched between these two never-to-be-forgotten miracles, we have a bland little sentence which, after a bit of reflection, strikes me as not so bland:
Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force,
withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
They're going to make him king, and he'll have none of it. In the prologue to the film, The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien's words are paraphrased as follows:
Nine rings were given to the race of men, who above all else desire power.
Jesus, by this time was a very public figure. Public figures, at least those from the race of men, do not walk away from being made king.
Multiplying food and walking on liquid convinced some that Jesus was not purely from the race of men, that he was indeed God with us. Having the laws of nature bend to his whim is proof positive of Jesus' deity...but so is this stunning display of incorruptibility.
I wonder how many humble and passionate followers of Jesus have wandered from the narrow way when the crowd has made them king. For those of us involved full time in Christian work the almost absolute rule is to say yes to any and every opportunity for upward mobility. Our Master's example ought to at least make us pause...and maybe even occasionally slip away and skip the coronation.