At the outset of his ministry, Jesus is a marked man. Marked by God, as his beloved son. Marked by John the Baptist as the lamb of God. To the people he was a healer, storyteller and prophet, marked by his ability to heal the sick and restore life to the lifeless. Marked by the Pharisees, who sought him out to enter into debate and challenge his views. Marked by his fellow Hebrews who wanted signs that he was who he said he was. He was marked as someone to believe in and to follow. He was marked as someone to follow about, waiting to see what he had to say next. Often what he had to say next was to challenge the status quo. The religious and political authorities, who marked him early on in his public life as a trouble maker, who large crowds followed. He was marked by Roman soldiers who were on the look out for him, waiting to capture him and take him to Herod, the Fox.*
His life swings between two poles. From time to time, a man who sought out the ‘lonely’ places to rest and pray. And a man constantly on the move, one step ahead of the soldiers, staying with the families of his disciples, sharing meals, sleeping in caves, venturing out in remote, out of the way places to teach those who followed. This was very dangerous. He knew he was a marked man. His identity and his authority always in question. Yet he continued. He persisted. And we know now, that in the end he prevailed. In the end God’s Yes was greater than the world’s No.
now we too are marked people. Marked with a sign that looks like a cross, but is a Yes. Marked by a dying that is a Life. Marked by a Sunday morning in spring when his touch upon us is Yes, and Yes and always Yes.
*[I find it curious that so marked, a man would mount a donkey and ride into a city with throngs of people hailing him as a king (which he denied to his death), when there are armed guards on rooftops watching over the crowds that have come into the city for Passover, on the lookout for anyone like Jesus who might stir up the people? The four gospels each have a slightly different account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Within those slight differences is a clue to this.]