Most of us have dreams of what success, our ideal life would look like. Sometimes they are realistic, sometimes we let our imaginations loose. Sometimes we might think what it would be like if someone put us in charge, made us king. It might seem attractive, and yet, Jesus sees it as something to flee.
We might, in our more realistic moments, recognise that being king might be very hard work, a lot less fun than you might think. But that is not what makes Jesus turn away. Rather, he has another purpose, one much more important than being king.
That there are other purposes and goals than success and power in this world is something which any Christian should attest. But do we always live that belief in our daily lives? After all, the concerns of making our way, providing for ourselves and our families, and helping to build up civil society are important. And sometimes it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything connected with those tasks. It can make concentrating just on those tasks seem rational.
The people wanting to take Jesus and make him king by force are also being rational, however. Here is a man who has already impressed them by curing the sick, now he has shown that he can feed a great crowd of people from a few loaves and fish. The task of kicking out the occupying Romans should be easy for him.
But while freedom from oppression, freedom from hunger, and freedom from sickness and disease are all very good things, Jesus has come to bring them something much better yet. And while he does work on all those things, his real focus will always be on the final goal: making it possible for them, and us, to share in the glory of God for all eternity!
It should be the same for us. We work at our daily tasks, recognising that they are important. We don’t shirk those everyday things. But we should never forget the final goal. We should always have in our thoughts the desire to work towards that goal, even if it means turning away from some desirable things here and now.
We can have our daydreams, our moments of wondering what an ideal life would be like. But it would be very good if, from time to time, we might focus on what that truly wonderful goal Jesus offers us would be like. And to remember that our dreams of being billionaires or kings are not very likely to come true, but that perfect life in Christ is truly possible for each one of us.
Fr Chris Denham