A family planned a vacation to a beautiful location a day’s drive away from home. The anticipation of the trip had built up a positive mood with everyone in the family. They even tolerated the music found on the radio as they drove without tuning out or bickering as would normally happen.
The two teenagers let their parents talk, but occasionally reminded them that they had an audience behind them. The youngest child let his demands be known but found that not every question he asked was answered. Sitting in the middle, he started repeating himself as he was prone to do when he was ignored which annoyed the entire family. Finally his sister spoke up and demanded he stop. She offered him a bribe of some candy she had with her, and the boy dropped his demands.
An hour later the parents had finished their conversation and were not engaged when the boy spoke up. He wanted details about their destination, and he wanted to sway the choice for dinner that night. His older brother took issue with the restaurant suggested, and quickly the two began arguing. Their mother tried to calm the situation, but had little to say that really helped resolve the disagreement. Shortly it picked up again, and the boy began to use his best voice for annoying his mother. She rarely tolerated that voice, and usually gave him whatever he asked just to stop that voice, and he knew it. She opened her mouth as she turned around and was met with a look by her oldest son.
As she began to speak in conciliatory tones again the car suddenly veered wildly. A tire problem had sent them barreling into oncoming traffic and the father narrowly avoided a collision. The screams inside the car continued as the family vehicle swerved into a road sign and barely came to a terrifying stop before swerving back onto the road. All the momentum and fear left them breathless and silent for a moment as the family watched the father exit the vehicle and ascertain the damage. There was enough damage to mean their trip was over. They would not even make it to the next exit a mile away, he concluded.
Shortly after the accident, an intense summer storm passed through. Afraid to exit the vehicle, the family waited in the car to avoid danger of being unseen through the deluge of rain. Traffic had slowed to a crawl due to an accident, and because of that their tow truck was very delayed. Tired and now anxious to be settled, the father gratefully accepted an offered ride and they were taken to a nearby town and even a decent hotel. The kind driver refused compensation, wished them well with the details tomorrow, and drove away.
In their room and finally relaxed, the youngest reminded his parents of dinner. He had already found his restaurant and believed their father should pay a hefty fee to have dinner delivered. His brother strongly disagreed and stated his preference. Their sister chimed in soon with her opinion, further escalating the tension in the room. Their mother entered the argument to end the name calling by chastising her children, but they completely ignored her. As the argument continued on, their father ‘s tone made everyone stop. He informed them that tonight what they wanted didn’t matter. They would walk to the restaurant across the street, hope they had a table for five, and be grateful for it.
—————Thoughts that motivated this story—————
In this story I wanted to reflect on fading into less significance
11 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;
In Matthew 4:12 we see a new phase begin, Jesus stepping into Galilee and into the spotlight finally. What prompted it? Timing. John the Baptist had a specific job as the messenger announcing the coming king and the demand to prepare the heart. He did that job; he forcefully gave his message to all that would hear, including a corrupt king Herod Antipas. Now that the job had been done, he must decrease or diminish in significance while Jesus begins the public part of His time and ministry. This is the ‘kingdom of heaven’ John had been predicting, the very Lord of everything walking humbly among the broken people who need Him.
My first thought when I read this verse was Jesus was taking the opportunity now that John was out of the picture, and it seemed so hard and unfeeling. Why benefit from that and show Himself now? It seemed almost callous and disinterested in John and what he had done faithfully. Why not preach together or even let John be the one to introduce him like a host on television? Yes I am probably reaching but that was my gut response. Why, Jesus? It is okay to ask and think about things and even to question God’s rationale. He can handle it. It doesn’t make you sacrilegious to investigate, it makes you genuine in my opinion.
So as I said above, timing was the reason I have concluded Jesus began that public entrance into Galilee. John did not know when or how Jesus would come after him and he had to take a back seat and be less significant to support the plan, just as the children in this story. We can’t always have things center around us. John couldn’t change who he was (a very unusual man), or run back to the wilderness alone for people followed John and would continue to. The promise was being fulfilled, and God had set things in motion that did not involve John. The preparations were complete, and the guest of honor made His entrance. I think it is a point to consider: Unless my identity fades and Jesus is seen through me, nothing I do matters.