Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Luke Chapter 17

This chapter consists of two ‘teachings of Jesus’ and ten a healing episode.

The first 10 verses of this chapter are often labeled as “Sayings of Jesus”. Notice the way those 10 verses are divided; there really are three distinct sayings that Jesus offers: the first seems to be about forgiveness; the second about Faith and trust in God; and the third about service, humility, and ultimately, about the disposition required for entry into Heaven.

The healing of the 10 lepers (vv. 11-19) is one that is familiar to us. Jesus heals the 10 but only one returns to give thanks to God. The other nine go their way and are probably never heard from again. Notice the detail about the man’s ethnicity: he’s a Samaritan. The foreigner, the one ethnic group that the Jews DID NOT get along with, came back to thank Jesus for healing him. We are led to assume that perhaps the other 9 were Jews- Jesus’s own people. What can this tell us? Perhaps it reinforces the reality that not even those closest to Jesus were able accept his ministry and his meaning. Only the foreigner, seemingly anyways, was able to see and embrace his ministry… interesting…

And then finally, the last section of this chapter (vv. 20-37) is a rather jarring prediction about the coming of the kingdom. Notice the language Jesus is using about signs and happenings. He even goes as far back as the destruction that was wrote on Sodom and Gomorrah. That’s literally, Old Testament stuff- fire and brimstone.  Jesus seems to be saying that this will also be the case when the Messiah comes. Notice also the sense of urgency and discernment in vv. 33-35.  The language is startling and the message is clear: Jesus’s invitation is that come Judgment Day and the coming of the Kingdom, we’ll want to be on the winning side.  Chapter 18 will flesh this out a little more. We’ll get there tomorrow.

Point for Prayer
“Lord Jesus, you have known some of the earlier stages of temptation. Since you never sinned, you did not experience all seven stages. Deliver me from temptation and its many stages. Fill me with perceptive faith to recognize the presence and power of temptation. Rescue me from rationalizing away my sinfulness. Save me now and move me to be grateful for your redemptive acts” (157). 

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