Sunday, July 14, 2019


Dtn 30: 9-14     Col 1: 1-14      Lk 10:25-37

This summer we have read from Luke 9 and 10. Let’s pause for an overview to see how it fits together. In Luke 9:20 Peter declares that Jesus is the Messiah, but Jesus swears them to silence as He begins to explain that His Kingship is a way of suffering and death. We, too, Jesus said, must die to self. Next, on the Mountain of Transfiguration, God the Father confirms Peter’s insight, revealing that Jesus is, “My Son, My Chosen, listen to Him.” Jesus comes down the mountain, casts out another demon and repeats that He is going to die.

Next Jesus teaches the disciples that “the least is the greatest,” saying to welcome a child in His name is to receive Him. The same themes occur over and over. A Samaritan village rejects Jesus because He does not fit their beliefs so they can’t see God. Jesus challenges others to leave family behind to follow Him, God takes priority over everything. Jesus sends out the seventy to proclaim the kingdom, and there is more healing and exorcisms, more acceptance and rejection of Jesus.

Today we hear Jesus’ prayer. Jesus thanks God who has hidden from the learned what He reveals to children. The child, the small people, is woven throughout several stories. No one know the Son except the Father, no one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Only the children can hear Him.

This is the key to reading the next two stories, our Gospel today and next week. Today we meet a learned lawyer and next week, busy, distracted Martha. Luke often parallels a story of a man and a woman to illustrate the same point. The lawyer and Martha fail to recognize Jesus and receive the kingdom.

Luke uses the Greek word ekpeirazo. It means to test but occurs rarely, only occurs twice in the (Ancient Greek version of the Jewish Bible) Septuagint —both in Deuteronomy. Dtn 6:16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” is quoted by Jesus responding to Satan in the desert. Paul uses it in 1 Corinthians 10:9 (We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents).

Is Luke giving a verbal clue that the lawyer, in testing Jesus, is actually testing God? Is the lawyer actually breaking the Law which he thinks he is upholding? In failing to see God in Jesus has he chosen death?  More to the point, have we?

God, like the Torah we read about in Deuteronomy, is near to us. Jesus repeatedly tells us to see God in those around us. The parable of the Good Samaritan makes clear that everyone, including those whom we despise, is our neighbor.  Such love transcends and fulfills the material content of the law. Jesus draws us into the heart of God What Deuteronomy says remains true: Choose God and choose life. Reject God and you choose death.

It is hard to find God without seeking Him. Our challenge is to see God in Jesus and see Jesus in others. 
( the actual sermon expands on this written version. God to our church website where it will be downloaded this week)

No comments:

Post a Comment