“When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea.” — Matthew 4:12-13
After Herod arrested John, Jesus got out of town. It wasn’t the first time he’d given the slip to a tyrant. Thirty years before, Joseph and Mary had hustled him down to Egypt, a step ahead of another Herod. From the start, Jesus is moving.
Capernaum was more of a jumping off point than a home. Even without some Herod breathing down his neck, Jesus never stayed long anywhere. His message was all about moving too—turning around, getting unstuck, going the extra mile, making the long journey in your heart from one way of seeing your neighbor to another.
Wherever Jesus went, things shook loose. Walking by the lake, he called to well-established fishermen. Right away, the story goes, they followed, giving the slip to the fixed points of their culture—home, clan, father, trade.
On the cross he was nailed up. But not nailed down. He was dead, not immobile. He descended into ‘hell,’ ancient creeds affirm, to lead captives to freedom. It’s not for nothing that when he was raised, he appeared to his disciples on a road.
Early Christians called the church a Way. You don’t belong to it so much as travel it. It’s a movement, no pew potatoes need apply. If you’re a church person but are rarely moved—if there’s no movement in your imagination, your conscience, your prayer, your opinions, your desires, your loyalties, or your commitments—you have a Way to go.
Pray to be moved so that you can go it.
O how we need to be moved, O Christ. Move us deeply, we pray.
Mary Luti is Interim Senior Pastor, Wellesley Village Church, Wellesley, Massachusetts.