Mark 11:1

When they had almost reached Jerusalem, as far as Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent on two of his disciples.

out of many
two are chosen
for a task

for now rejoice
we’ve been noticed
we’re ready
let’s give it our all

should one of the twelve
falter along the way
we’ll be on the short list
for associate partner

no matter how large
a task it is
we’ll see it through
and get our names in the book

This relatively small band of people (a crowd?) have just come from Jericho, just this side of the Jordan River where Baptizer John called and “all the people” of Jerusalem came to remember a past transition from slavery to release and prepare for a next transition. The people of Israel were no longer enslaved in a foreign land, Egypt, but in their promised land, Israel.

It has been a long journey but the work of John is about to be tested regarding its efficacy. Are the bands of resistance, trained in the wilderness and marked by baptism, going to be efficient and effective when called to act by one particularly affected by their experience at the evocative location of the Jordan?

Arriving in the environs of Jerusalem, close enough to be suburbs but not so close they lose their identity, a specific task is given to two disciples. Wouldn’t it be fitting if these two were James and John who had asked for special positions, were the butt of a teaching, and now have to live out what being a servant or slave means? Of course they could be a random choice of any two of the crowd of disciples, leaving the Twelve to maintain their privileged position. Whichever way it was, fishing for people and relying on the welcome of others are still bound to every specific task.

Remembering that Mark is writing after the destruction of Jerusalem, there is all the regret and expectation of Jerusalem to have been more than a historic marker of desired internal authority, the center of holiness and purity descended from Abraham and Jacob, Moses and Aaron, and resistant to the external power of the latest invader signifying how far their lived partnership with G*D and Neighb*r had been compromised.

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