I am struck again by the way. Having lived in the East and the West, I see Jesus as Middle-Eastern and that we have caricatured him to fit our cultural bias – as the teacher, I think of him like the wisened sensei of Japan rather than the pedagogue of Europe. He himself has mastered the way that life is to be lived, he embodies The Way, so it is with authority that he communicates the way that others are to walk.
His baptism and his temptation are the final rites of passage before he takes on disciples and shapes them in the way that he has learned to walk. We see a glimpse at age 12 of the disciplined and committed purposes of Jesus and we know, in a sense, what he was doing from age 12 ’til 30. He was learning scripture, applying it to life, he was contemplating the Father, he was harmonising his own will to the will that spoke all life into being.
From this position of mature harmony, or shalom, he communicated the way the world should be. He challenged others who would walk with him to walk with his focus and commitment. Those who underestimated the rigours and disciplines of the The Way, he left behind. Those who committed themselves fully to the teachings of the Master spread abroad a new way of life.
The same is true today. We are all to be committed to the Master who teaches us The Way. There is a way that seems right to a man but it leads to death. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He speaks to us to follow him.