What’s on your mind?
That is the first question. That is the first question that is asked of us when we log into facebook. A daily (or perhaps more frequent) prompt.
What’s on your mind?
That is the first question, the question that takes its place before all other questions. Jesus comes over the horizon and declares,
“The time has come. The kingdom of God has come very close. Repent and believe the good news!”
You see, the thing that is of utmost importance to Jesus is what is on our mind. To repent means to change ones’ mind; and to believe means to act consistently with our mind.
Our mind is where we process the information that comes to us through our senses – what we see, hear, touch, taste, smell; through our emotions – what we feel; through our past experiences and acquired knowledge – what we have learnt. Our mind makes sense of the information available to us, and then we act according to what our mind has decided is the best course of action. That is why when we can’t make up our mind we are paralysed: we don’t know what to do and end up doing nothing.
What Jesus is saying is there is an earthly perspective on life, and a heavenly one. They see things very differently – they have access to different information - and as a result cause us to act in very different ways. And from this moment, the heavenly perspective has come so close that it is available to you. So in the light of this new information, your mind can arrive at a different conclusion, and you can act in a different way.
In the Gospels, we see Jesus regularly asking the question, what’s on your mind? Sometimes he teases what is on someone’s mind out of them. So, Jesus has been teaching a large crowd of people, who have followed him out to a remote place, for a long time, and asks his disciples, “How are we going to feed all these?” What’s on your mind? Aren’t you thinking to yourself that very question? Doesn’t your mind tell you that we couldn’t afford to buy enough bread even if there was anywhere near enough by to do so? Haven’t you decided, on the basis of that conclusion, that the best course of action would be to send them home, hopefully soon enough that people don’t faint from hunger before they get back there?
Jesus sees the situation from a different perspective; has arrived at a different conclusion in his mind; and therefore will pursue a different course of action. But he wants to take his disciples on the process that changes their mind too. Jesus gathers what food there is – enough for one person – and multiplies the resources to feed more than 5,000 (perhaps closer to double that), with twelve baskets left over.
Again and again, Jesus sees things from a different perspective, arrives at a different conclusion in his mind, and acts differently to everyone else. Where the mourners are wailing at the death of a young girl, he claims that she is only sleeping before raising her from the dead. From an earthly perspective, death has the final word. From a heavenly perspective, it doesn’t.
So. What’s on your mind?