Spirit is a dimension of our common experience. This is what it really means to be a person of spirit. This is tough spirit.
Last week we noted one of the most vital understandings of ‘tough spirit’ was learning that when we fail we have the courage to repent, pick ourselves up, and get on with the faithful journey with the Lord. Today we pick up on a third vital aspect of importance in our spiritual journey. In a word, tough spirit enables us to stand tall.
The quality of Jesus own spirit is brought to the forefront of our understanding in today’s reading. We know of the extraordinary impact Jesus had on the general population. There was so much that appealed to people.
He healed, he cleansed. He spoke as one with authority we are told. He commanded extraordinary attention...yes he had what we call charisma.
A second important group is spoken of today. It tells us of some scribes and Pharisees warning him of that Herod plans to kill him. Were they trying to scare him off or was it some other agenda. We know they were losing their authority over the people in comparison to his. He was engaged in a regular tussle with them and never took a backward step.
The third personality is that of Herod. He was the Jewish King and his authority was secondary to the Romans. He was threatened by such an extraordinary personality and simply saw Jesus as trouble to his standing in the eyes of the Romans. His solution was to declare his desire to kill Jesus. We hear that Jesus had no hesitancy is sending him a defiant message.
JESUS THE PROPHET
We learn so much about people by their relationship with others. In relation to each of these three groups, the people, the Scribes and Pharisees and Herod, Jesus embraces the identity of a great prophet. What makes him a prophet? There is no doubt that his wisdom was way beyond that of any others of his day. His knowledge of scripture was comprehensive and insightful. His capacity to transform lives, by healing or cleansing where all others failed was extraordinary.
We read that all this was grounded in his interior sensitivity to the divine, the early morning ventures into the quietness of the desert, the several descriptions of him in earnest prayer. All these describe a man who was master of his message. What stands out beyond such analysis is that he feared no man. He was not intimidated by threats or accusations.
Todays record of his reply to Herod is a special example. He was not intimidated. He was a man in control of his life and message. He lived like a prophet, he was spoken of as a prophet, he embraced the title. In summary we might say he was a living revelation of the Spirit of God in all that he did as extraordinary human. A man who stood tall in spirit.
DISCIPLES ARE PROPHETS
If you are attracted to such a person, then I say it is because your own prophetic potential has been touched. That doesn’t mean we need to be seen as a prophetic leader of society. But it does mean we have the same potential to walk tall in spirit. The way of the prophet is maintaining ones integrity in all circumstances. The most humble, can radiate the spirit of truth and honesty. The voice of God speaks in as many forms as there are faithful people to radiate the potency of spirit that enlightens our community.
Can you think of a great prophetic voice in our day? It may be someone in the faith community or beyond. The power of their message is enhanced by the integrity of spirit that echoes in the lives of others.