The witnesses who were inspired to record the words of Jesus indicate that sometimes Jesus was impatient, and sometimes downright frustrated, with His followers. One such outburst is recorded in all three of the synoptic Gospels: “What an unbelieving and perverse generation! How long shall I be with you? How much longer must I endure you?”
The answer to Jesus’ question was: about three years.
Three years. Traditionally considered the length of time Jesus ministered and worked miracles on earth before being executed and finally returning to His Father in Heaven. During those three years, Jesus described the kingdom of Heaven as beginning here on earth, or Utopia.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus revealed Himself as an individual who was above the concerns of this world. He taught and demonstrated perfect health of the body and soul through His healings and teachings. However, Jesus lived here on earth with all of us scoundrels. I am in awe as I recognize the sacrifice Jesus made by subjecting Himself to the human condition, yet, being set apart from the human condition by complete communication with His (and our) Father in Heaven—an advantage, and ultimately, a curse, as He was lead away to be crucified.
I am in awe as I contemplate the difficulty Jesus must have endured by our lack of faith, our lack of forgiveness and our lack of appreciation for what we have been offered by God through His ministry. Many of the people who lived during the time of Jesus did not understand; and many people in our day also do not understand or fathom the depth of His sacrifice.
Jesus taught us what Utopia could look like. He taught us compassion and brotherly love. He taught us how to forgive. He taught us how to live our lives with conscience. And then He was led away.
But He is not away, even in the here and now. Each one of us has the capacity to grow into the Utopian individual that was the example of Jesus.
You might say, “You see, this guy cut me off on the freeway today, and that certainly didn’t feel like Utopia!” And that would be correct. Just as Jesus rose above the concerns of this earth, so we all are chosen and called to do the same in kind.
With the help of God through Christ, we can have a foretaste of the perfect society that was the vision of Jesus. He came to save us, each and every day, in each and every way. We need only put our hands together, individually, and collectively and invite Him into our world. Have faith.
Synoptic quote taken from: Matthew 17:17, Mark 9:19, Luke 9:41