It was all going wrong. John has been arrested by Herod and swaps desert for dungeon. His wilderness voice must find a way through the prison bars. Authority figures do what they like to do best - silence what threatens them. But notice what Jesus does. He moves immediately right into the heart of Herod's domain, steadily into the teeth of resistance. This is a dangerous move. But it was always so for those who carry light into darkness, life into death. What will happen to Jesus now?
Notice again Matthews insight. Underneath the machinations of human monsters, prophecies are unfolding. As Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah he is no fool, playing into the hands of evil men. He is moving according to Gods plan, proclaiming a message that cannot be locked up or silenced. The torch has passed from John to Jesus. The voice that cried in the desert now zings down the town streets, into residential areas and into the houses of Gods' children. The Kingdom of Heaven is closer than you think. If you are sitting in darkness and the shadows of death, God is arriving as the remedy. As Light and Life! Problem: God is now but people are not!
So, Jesus needs help to uncover the hidden heaven. He needs people to fish for people. But first they must let go of one way of seeing the world and embrace another. If they are going to swim in the spiritual sea where all people swim, they must come to see the deeper and wider dimensions of life. They see hints of this in Jesus and move to follow Him. He will teach them that people are not fish and that they will 'catch' people only by appealing to the deepest desire of their hearts.
Jesus is not hiding from Herod. He is teaching, proclaiming and healing through all Herod's territory. He is on a mission. Johns' imprisonment is not going to stop Him and people are fascinated by him.
Here we must pause to remember all the people who have fascinated us in our life. Can you remember those you admired and wanted to imitate? Every day, people are leaning into life and coaxing it towards redemption. These are people who make the world a better place. When we catch them 'at it' we are fascinated and want to know more. When we see someone thinking, speaking or acting in a way that we are not yet able to but we wish we could - we apprentice ourselves to them. Isn't a disciple just a fascinated person who desires to know and do what they see in another? We gravitate towards them and learn something new. We have probably been doing this all our lives.
I heard a story once about a drug rehabilitation centre. One day, an ex-resident turned up in the reception area with a cricket bat, shouting and screaming and banging his bat on the furniture. Everyone dived for cover. But the manager came out of her office, walked right up to the guy, put her arms around him and gave him a big long hug. His violence transfigured into sobs. She held him in that strange embrace for a while then led him to a chair and waited for the police to arrive. He never let go of the bat.
I want to know what makes this woman tick! And I have a hunch that she knows exactly what drove Christ back into Galilee.