Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.
We’re always looking to make a splash. We want to do something that will get everyone’s attention. In the world of the internet, people are looking for ways to attract “eyeballs.” This is where words, graphics, pictures, or videos get someone’s attention, so they “click” on it.
And when they “click” on it, everyone wins. The search engine gathers information about their likes while generating revenue. The person or organization that put the information out there gets to tell their story, sell their products.
This happens in business, but it also happens within non-profits. They want to attract people so you will make a contribution, volunteer, share it with friends.
Not only will some go to great lengths to get attention, some will say and do just about anything to get attention. The current favorite technique and idea is to get people mad. Outrage sells because it motivates people to do something. It’s not enough to give information. In the words of Howard Beal in that great movie, Network, “You’ve got to get mad.”
You see this in conservative and liberal media. You read this in blogs and see it in vlogs. You experience this when “talking heads” appear. You see and hear this on the street, in stores, in parking lots, at work. You also experience this at your place of worship, from the pulpit, in the congregation.
Jesus just had a run in with the professional spiritual leadership. They had tried to corner him so they would have cause to talk about him, persecute him, ruin his reputation, arrest him. And now, he’s looking for some “down time” to refresh, renew, and relax. So, he goes into an unnamed house.
But the location of the house is important. It’s on “the other side of the tracks.” It’s where no one from his ethnic or cultural background would go on purpose. The area was unclean, occupied by unclean people. They were considered not just unclean, but totally heathen. People from Jesus’ background thought that just being in that area made you unclean. But being with the people of that land of Tyre was worse than entering a COVID-19 hospital ward without a protective shield or even a mask.
But Jesus purposefully decided to go there, regardless of what other people thought. He was a man of integrity, a man of purpose. A man who would not be swayed by what other people thought about him. What he did. What he said. Who he was with.
But, even the best laid plans of Jesus were not enough to secure his privacy. He did everything humanly possible to come in without being noticed. There was no advance media team, no press release, no Facebook ads, no Tweets announcing his travel plans.
He quietly, and with no fanfare enters Tyre and slips into a house. His desire, his plan was that no one would know. But his reputation, the way he spoke, his power to heal, his accepting and receiving all kinds of people must have been too much for someone to handle.
Somehow, word got out and then spread like wildfire after a long drought. It was impossible for Jesus to hide.
How much do we desire to get away, to be alone from the crowds so we can be alone with Jesus? How much trouble will we go to in order to set aside time for him?
Most people have responded negatively to the isolation orders created by COVID-19. But could it be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be like Jesus? He sought to get alone, took special care to be alone. We had it forced on us, we had very little choice.
It’s time that we stop looking at life from the “half-empty” perspective. Instead of looking at people and things as negative, disrupting our lives, why not start looking at them from a positive perspective. Could they be a special gift from God?
For me, I’m trying to be more patient with people. Especially when they are talking. I used to think, “OK, get on with it. Get to the point.” I was extremely impatient with people. Now, I’m asking God to give me power and his perspective of them, like he’s patient with me. If Jesus is willing to listen to me ramble on and on, taking lots of time for me to get to the point, shouldn’t I do the same for them?
I didn’t say this was going to be easy, but it certainly is rewarding and brings us closer to God and people.
Take the time to be patient, listening like Jesus listens to you. You might just learn something about them, about yourself, and about God’s love for you. It’s the secret that changes everything.