Saturday, March 2, 2013

Day 16 of Lent, Saturday, March 2, 2013

Today's Reading: Luke 9:37-62

This section has several different passages which may be difficult for us to understand.

Jesus begins with some harsh words to an anxious father - "you faithless and crooked generation!"  These words could have been intended for the disciples but they still seem kind of harsh.  There is likely more to this story in the original context than Luke records here, so we may have to look for a broader pattern of how it fits with the others.

This is followed by a prediction of Jesus' death.  Could Jesus simply be stressed about his future?

The disciples don't understand and show their further confusion about the mission when they argue about which of them is the top dog.  The response of Jesus would have been very confusing in their day given the status (or lack thereof) of children.

Abraham and Three Angels
by Sebastien Bourdon, 17th Century
Jesus then corrects the disciples twice more: once when they try to keep the good news to themselves and another time when they seek to rain fire down from heaven on a Samaritan village that didn't show hospitality.  This is reminiscent of God destroying Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis.

Sodom showed a lack of hospitality to God's messengers who stayed with Lot.  Jesus may be stating that the Samaritan villages, shouldn't be held to the same standards of hospitality that they learned from Father Abraham as the more orthodox Jewish towns.  Interestingly enough, Abraham's hospitality in Genesis is shown in the chapter immediately previous to the story of Sodom's in-hospitality. 

Finally, we have this occurrence of Jesus rebuking a potential follower. This is confusing in that it seems to recall when Elijah called Elisha to be his disciple.  However, in this instance, Elijah approves of Elisha's desire to say goodbye to his parents.

This seems to me to be about the primacy of God.  God comes first in the life of Jesus and should for his followers as well.  It could also be a note commending the disciples who had already made the decision to follow Jesus (after all the screw-ups, maybe Jesus needed to throw them a bone).  We will see in the following chapter that there are in fact many who have followed Jesus.

Personally, I realize that my trust of God is not always what it should be.  I imagine that this is something everyone can work on during Lent.

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