Mark 11:32

Yet can we say ‘human’?” They were afraid of the people, for everyone regarded John as undoubtedly a prophet.

stuck on earth
we fall prey
pulls and pushes
push and pull
our ideal deals

we the people
keep showing up
changing our accounting
modifying our purity
compromising even compromises

when it comes
to a choice
our crowd fear
trumps our theology
we fall down

When questioned about “John’s baptism” it is understood that the question was about the whole presence of John. The religious leaders couldn’t play the strict interpretation card and deal only with John’s technique of baptism which the Essenes and others also used. John’s baptism was integral to his whole eschatological act of prophecy.

Here Jesus is using John in much the same way some use the mantle of Detrich Bonhoeffer or Martin Luther King, Jr. There is identification with and protection through calling up a martyr.

Being wrapped in an esteemed one’s program allows extra minutes in which to advance their cause another small distance. The residual good-will allotted to the one who was killed gives a few extra moments to you before you join them in death. It will be interesting to see how Jesus uses his extra time.

In the meantime, the anonymous crowd is being used by Jesus as a direct player in the game. It is the crowd that removes an option for the religious leaders to come back with a determination that John’s baptism (meaning all the repentance and forgiveness so popular that it brought folks up in Jerusalem to come down to the Jordan just before it turns into the Dead Sea) was only ordinary for it had made a difference to too many people who were at the end of their vitality and staring into a Dead Life.

The powers and principalities love to divide to conquer. Large demonstrations are important as a sign that we won’t be divided any longer. Demonstrations make a difference, even if it is to only slow the momentum of further division. Though more is needed, join or start even a small witness—it makes a difference.

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