This chapter, at 59 verses, is rather long and dense. Jesus is sort of all over the board in regards to the contents of his teachings here. It is possible that what Luke has done here is summarize a great deal of Jesus’s teaching with regard to the chronological order in which Jesus first gave these teachings. This is not a problem, theologically or otherwise.
One highlight can be the sayings of Jesus as it pertains to the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit (vv. 10-12). The full theology of the Holy Spirit is presented much more fully in John’s Gospel and in the letters of Paul. Furthermore, the Advocacy that Jesus presents here as the role of the Holy Spirit, will be developed and explained further in John’s Gospel.
This passage on dependence of God is one of my favorites in all of Scripture (vv. 22-34). It is at once a teaching about dependence on God, and the dangers of worry and anxiety, and also the costs that go along with depending on God and embracing our call to discipleship. Worry and anxiety can really choke us- debilitate us; make us incapable of giving and receiving Love. The ability to trust in Jesus, and the Father, to provide, guide us, in good times and bad is probably the most fundamental disposition we can engender in our hearts. If all things from God work to bring us closer to Him and to the people we love, then we have no need to worry or be anxious because all things are for the Good.
There is a rather disturbing section to this chapter as well. Jesus has rather harsh words in vv. 49-53. His words are meant to demonstrate the inherent division that the Gospel message will cause. Those who hear the Gospel message will have to make a decision: do I follow Jesus or not? And sadly, there will be some who will follow and some who will not- even in one’s own family. This is tough to understand, perhaps. But, if you’ve ever been persecuted or made fun of, especially by those closest to you, then you know exactly what Jesus is saying here.
Finally, the chapter closes with a teaching about forgiveness (vv. 57-59) and a brief, and rather cryptic teaching about the ‘signs of the times’ (vv. 54-56). These closing paragraphs, taken in context with the whole of this chapter, seem disjointed from the rest of the chapter. The saying about forgiveness in vv. 57-59 is straightforward. But the one about the signs of the times (vv. 54-56). Jesus is talking about himself here. Jesus is challenging the crowd to see in Him the Truth of his peaching and to repent and believe in the Gospel. The sign that the people are looking for is not in the skies but is instead in a person- Jesus Christ.
Point for Prayer
“Jesus, eternal Wisdom, you ask me to stop worrying, prepare for death, and act counter-culturally when necessary. Relax my heart. Remove from me any denial of death. Enable me to read the sign of the times. Help me walk the razor’s edge between this world and the next. Fill me with a divine perspective on life” (121).