A great number, hearing of all that he was doing, came to him from Judea, from Jerusalem, from Edom, from beyond the Jordan, and from the country around Tyre and Sidon.
wildernesses are everywhere
each and every frailty
reveals a panicked response
those finding a lack of control
are finely attuned to signs
rumors of a way out run faster than light
from every hither and thither
familiar and strange on the tongue
people gather to test the waters
did you hear all is not lost
there is a get-out-of-jail card
drop everything this is big
what is the intersection
between being called to be fishers
and folks looking to be fish
Up to this point Jesus has been travelling to synagogues, towns and villages, with wilderness retreats thrown into the mix. What has now started off as another leaving on retreat is shifting larger gears.
This listing of the closest of the diaspora ends Jesus’ travels to populations of people. Now the people will have to go out of their way to experience the healings and subsequent hope coming from Jesus.
The diversity of this crowd reminds us of another expansive gathering—Pentecost. People who have been reliving the ancient story of Passover freedom in hope of a voice who will speak for them are reminded that there is no intermediary beyond themselves. It is in the coming together of all the differences among us that we find the belovedness of community expanding the belovedness of individual lives. Focusing on one or the other diminishes the energy of creation into nationalism or individualism. On their own they are idols. In concert they heal and free.
This break with locations in Galilee solidifies the realities then and now of recognizing our being in a wilderness setting wherever we settle or wander. Healing and liberation become a constant call to those who understand they are beloved people in a time of occupation and distrust.
Finalizing a plot against Jesus can be seen as a triggering event similar to a famine that in the past sent Joseph and the Israelites to Egypt where they were initially successful but were eventually plotted against and enslaved. Shifting away from population centers sets Jesus on an Exodus journey of episodes in wilderness-type settings.