Monday, February 18, 2008

Luke Chapter Ten

Reading:  Luke 10.1-42

Notice the theme that is woven through all three stories in this chapter.  

Scripture:  Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.  Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them.  Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him...  Luke 10:33-34

Observations:  What a masterful story!  Jesus was a genius (no kidding, Bill).  In the previous chapter we see Jesus' own disciples wanting to call fire down on a Samaritan village (9:54), and here Jesus tells a story in which a Samaritan, not the Jewish religious professionals, is the hero of the tale.  It is also interesting in the next story that it is a woman "sitting at his feet" as a disciple who is recognized as the one who is getting it right, not the one who is doing the culturally expected "woman's work."  Jesus was the ONLY Rabbi of his day who would have permitted a woman to be his disciple.  And, referring to the beginning of the chapter, who would have thought that a bunch of poor powerless (like lambs among wolves) pairs of people could be so miraculously used to be the front line messengers of the kingdom of God?

Apply:  Sometimes the truth is best conveyed in wit, irony, and satire.  Jesus was a great satirist who used stories, miracles, and provocative social interactions in order to break down the social and religious barriers to the gospel of the kingdom of God.  I wonder how often our religious traditions and cultural prejudices get in the way of the gospel?  

Prayer:  Jesus, help me to always have a heart that is open to the ever-reaching, ever-loving, ever-stretching gospel of the kingdom of God.


Scrap Happy said...

Luke 10:16 "He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects Him who sent me."

This verse shows me what a very big responsibility we have! We are charged with being Jesus' witnesses, and it's such an important job! It's serious business!

I need to fulfill my job, by telling others about Jesus, and supporting the missionaries who are out there doing this right now.

My prayer today: God, I'm not deserving. Just as Moses, I'm afraid & won't know the words to say. Give me the words, the timing and the opportunity. Let me blush with your goodness and love so that it spills out on everyone I come in contact with, especially my friends and family.

Gladys said...

What stands out to me is something that I've never heard mentioned when talking about the two greatest commandments. Now before you yawn and say, "Oh, that again, I know, love God and love your neighbor," there is a bit more!

Luke's question in v. 25 asked, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Mark's 12:28 and Matthew 22:36 asks this: "What commandment is the foremost of all?"
As Jews, the answer to the second question would be obvious and very well-known to other Jews, so I thought, it was SO assumed that Matthew and Luke decided not to write it down. And since the answer is almost the same between the two different questions and three Gospels, I will cross reference with Mark, who went ahead and stated it anyway. In Luke, the lawyer answered the question. In Mark, however, Jesus Himself answered it and started His answer differently with: "The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is One.'" Deut. 6:4 In Hebrew it is called the "Sh'ma" meaning "Hear!" or "Listen!" Today it is the core Hebrew prayer and is the first prayer a Jewish child learns.

Jesus then went on to quote from Deut. 6:5, which is known as the "v'Ahavta" meaning "and you shall love." "And you shall love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." The "Sh'ma" and "v'Ahavta" (which goes through verse 9) are always recited in every Synagogue service.

Then Jesus completes the answer quoting from Leviticus 19:18: " . . you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Since the "Sh'ma" is in our Gospel of Mark, it stands to reason that it is important. Why? For two reasons, the first being that there is only ONE God, and in a time of many pagan gods, of which the Israelite nation was warned to avoid, this was a perfect reminder, short, sweet and to the point. While we don't have the typical pagan gods today, our generation does have other gods that we more than willingly give up our time for in lieu of putting God first, which are in essence, idols.

The second is that it reinforces the first commandment, which in Jewish custom, is divided a bit differently from ours, and which I personally like better, and is: "I Am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." Exodus 20:2. This isn't your typical "do" or "don't do" command form, but rather, it establishes WHO is the ultimate authority as well as serving to introduce the Ten Commandments. God's authority was derived from His freeing Israel from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. If one doesn't establish God as the ultimate authority, then why would one want to obey the rest of the commandments? Today, Christ's authority was derived from His freeing those who accept Him from the bondage of sin.

We could today perhaps change one word in the "Sh'ma" to "Hear, O Christian, the Lord our God, the Lord is One."

Father, that I might get to the point where You truly are first in my life, and not to allow the influences of everything else, from a TV show to reading a novel, to get in the way. I ask that as my day progresses, that You show me what I need to set aside and to put You as number "One" in my life instead.