Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jesus Tells It As It Is

Luke 20

Four major stories fill up this gospel chapter, the theme centered on Jesus' authority being challenged.

Story One: the chief priests, teachers of the Torah, and the elders publicly demand to know Jesus' source of authority, but Jesus responded as a brilliant rabbi with a question which they refused to answer.

Story Two: Jesus tells a story which hurls the truth into the public arena, the real motives for this authority-challenges by the religious leaders. A result is increased rage and commitment to arrest Jesus.

Story Three: These corrupt leaders send spies to trick Jesus into offending the Roman governor, but Jesus is to wily and wise for them.

Story Four: some Torah teachers try to baffle Jesus with a complicated and thorny theological issue, but to no avail. Jesus reveals their shallow grasp of the Scriptures and their distance from God.

Jesus ends the gospel chapter with a warning against God-workers who display their position and possessions in order to garner favors and fame. Jesus tells it as it is in this chapter to the religious power-brokers, it was the unclean and simple people that Jesus was sticking up for. Jesus was angry because the God-followers were not doing what they claimed, they were not helping people follow God, but rather making it impossible to get to God. The prevailing Scripture-teachers did not proclaim good news, but rather new burdens; they crushed the spiritual inquiries of the masses by lifting up a complicated and impossible standard for pleasing God; they focused on miniscule nuances that added nothing of substance to the nations work of blessing the world; they used God and his Torah for their own common greed and pride.

Have you found a proclaimer of God's gospel that tells it as it is? One who helps you trust and follow Jesus? Ones who help you grasp the Scriptures? One who helps you live in loyalty to God and patient love for fellow humanity? One who sows seeds of grace, truth, kindness and strength?

Who would you be in this story? How much would you like it if Jesus told you what reality was for your? What if the truth was too much to handle, no matter how gentle and brilliant Jesus was in his revelation? Do you want to know the truth about yourself? Do you want God's truth to prevail in your life and world? Do you want God's freedom, beauty and love to overcome all that is enslaved, battered and isolated in your life?
I do.

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