Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Luke 10

In Chapter 9 Jesus sent out 12 Apostles in 6 teams of 2, now he "doubles down" by sending out 70 Disciples in 35 teams of 2. These preaching teams are the advance teams heading up to Jerusalem. Notice in verse 1 that they are sent "to every town and place where he himself intended to go." This is the advance team preparing the way. 35 teams of John the Baptists announcing that Jesus was coming and would soon be passing their way.

In leaving the Galilee for the last time Jesus laments over the cities along the sea of Galilee who never fully understood who he was or why he was there. Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum were all cities along the west short of the Sea of Galilee and were the location of many of Jesus miracles in his sojourn in the Galilee. Even seeing Jesus, even hearing Jesus, even being present for his miracles these towns never get it and created more struggle than grace for Jesus ministry.

The 70 return and are rejoicing in their success and victory in ministry. Jesus rejoices with them but also recognizes that this moment is also one step closer to the his coming crucifixion in Jerusalem. The final beatitude in Luke is "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!"

Luke 10:25-37 is one of the best loved best known parables in the Gospel. It is the parable of the Good Samaritan. It helps to remember that the hero of the story is the most unlikeliest of heroes. Jews and Samaritans did not like each other and would often refuse to help each other. Notice that the "religious establishment" represented by the Priest and the Levite are more interested in their own situation to actually help someone in trouble. It is the barbarian -- the outsider -- who makes the effort to help the man in need. The context of the story is the lawyer trying to justify himself. Jesus message is pretty simple: the religious establishment that surrounds you is not enough. You have to live and practice mercy, grace and love. Or, in Jesus words, "go and do likewise" by following the example of the outsider.

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