Print Version January 20th, 2005
‘To suit us’, says the author of Hebrews, ‘to suit us, the ideal high priest would have to be holy, innocent and uncontaminated, beyond the influence of sinners, and raised up above the heavens’. To suit us. … I wonder. I wonder if that’s what I want, who I want. Don’t I want someone a little less uncontaminated, a little less ‘beyond’ and ‘above’, maybe even a little less innocent? To suit me.
Someone in the Vatican has a wicked sense of humour—setting Hebrews alongside Mark like this. For Mark’s Jesus is quite the contrast: sharp edged and edgy, mysterious, cryptic, powerful, driven, provocative. He’s blown by a gale through these opening chapters hardly stopping, always moving, acting without explanation, this vast crowd tumbling along with him. Who on earth is he?
Mark’s says he preaches and teaches but he seems to say not a word beyond ‘repent’, beyond ‘the kingdom is come’. His message is all body-language: he heals, he cures, he forgives, he frees the deranged from their demons. And then he upsets everyone with a look, a calculated gesture of defiance, a pointed question.
Does he suit me? … He intrigues me, definitely. He worries me, certainly. But he does excite me. Fear and attraction both, and sometimes I don’t know which is which. But suit me?—hardly!
Who is he, this Jesus I tumble after? And where are we going? And what will it cost when he says my name? And why do I always want to hear his voice?
Truth? I don’t want Jesus to suit me. I want him to be real. I don’t want my contemplation of him to satisfy me. I want it to surprise and shock me, delight and disturb me. I want him to create me again from my core and I want him to go away and leave me alone. I want him to be as real—no!—I want him to be realer than I am.
And I want to know him… I want to know him.