Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Luke 13:31-35; Dead Prophets

Jesus seemed a little cynical in this story. "Surely no prophet can die outside of Jerusalem" does not seem like a compliment or statement of reality. Then comes the later line of "you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you." What a description from God regarding the people he came to save.

Yet I wonder what he would say today about his people. "You who ignore the prophets sent to you." Maybe it would be more like "You who pat the prophets on the back but then gossip him to death or ship him off to another place."

We probably pat ourselves on the back for not killing any prophets but I really don't think we listen to them anymore either.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Luke 13:22-30; Narrow Way

He could have answered the question with a yes or no; but he chose to tell a story. He communicated far more than they were expecting. The answer is was launched with the words "make every effort". Above all else, he communicated the need for intentionality and not relying upon nationality, status or other passive factors in life. Just being a North American does not insure eternal bliss.

He then continued and added the wrinkle of finality. Once the door is closed, no one else will get in. All excuses, explanations and expectations will be for naught.

Then, as usual for Jesus, he adds a twist to the end. Not only will the door be closed to many who do not expect it, but it will be open for many that the "in crowd" did not anticipate.

So what sort of effort will I make today?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Luke 13:10-17; Right Priorities

Jesus healed a woman (probably in front of the all male section) on the Sabbath in the synagogue. The Jews were irate; how could this preacher violate such an important law as the Sabbath?! Yet the obvious chance to do good and fulfill a higher law was hidden from them.

In our church society today, there are a lot of Sabbath laws that we hold up while ignoring the greater good we could be doing. We hold tightly to church attendance, a good reputation and providing for one's family. Yet we can so easily ignore taking care of widows and orphans, stepping out to help the disreputable and caring for the downcast. Is really on Jesus' behalf that we act if our priorities are not aligned with his?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Luke 13:1-9; Manure Occureth

If this passage happened today Jesus' response might have been, "Do you think the homeless guys under the overpass did something much worse than you? Do you think that the guys killed in that car wreck last week were morally of a different nature than you? Truth is, without turning to God, you are all pretty much equal."

What I find amazing is the next little section. It sounds quaint to keep it in farming terms but crass when you realize what is really being said. When I'm not growing spiritually, God digs around me and fertilizes me. But first century fertilizer came from the barn, not a bag. So the message is that when I'm stagnant spiritually, God lets my world get disrupted and then lets "manure happen" in my life.

Perhaps my problem is I spend too much time complaining about the manure and not enough time taking advantage of the opportunity to grow from it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Luke 12:54-56; Interpreting

I grew up in the country and remember all the little things about reading the weather. "Red at night, sailor's delight; red at morning, sailor take warning." When the robins are near their nest during the day, a storm is on the way. I would watch the horses in the pasture start to run and kick and know that the weather was changing.

Jesus was frustrated that people of his day could understand the physical world well enough to predict upcoming weather but did not understand the spiritual world well enough to see what was developing. I wonder if I fall into that same category.

Do I believe that there is more to life than what "meets the eye"? If so, does that come out in my everyday activity? How open are my eyes to see the spiritual? How in tune am I with the spiritual side of life?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On Alert; Luke 12:35-48

It seems so un-American this passage. In a society where everything is designed to push us to sit back and enjoy, to relax, to take it easy, this teaching is out of place.

Jesus tells us to be alert to his presence and his needs. He calls us to be attentive at all times. He calls us to never be caught spiritually asleep.

At the end, he adds another un-American idea. He concludes not only with punishment being distributed, something that we struggle with in a tolerant society, but also he unapologetically says that more is demanded of some than of others. This seems so unfair. We feel that all are to be treated equally.

As is consistent with the nature of God, he does not mix equal and fair, as we tend to do. What is fair may not be that which is equal.

Thus we are called to respond to God at all times in the way that corresponds to our very own giftedness. Fair but not equal.