Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Luke 20

Now that Jesus is in Jerusalem and following the cleansing of the temple the opposition steps up their attacks beginning here in 1-8 by questioning Jesus authority to do what he is doing. Jesus response is to point to the ministry of John the Baptizer and ask if the religious leaders understood where John's authority came from.

This encounter is followed by a parable (the parable of the wicked tenants - 9-19) that is clearly told against the religious leaders in Jerusalem. Notice in 19, following the story, the scribes and chief priests are aware that Jesus has told this parable about them and are now seeking to "lay hands on him". The parable simple states that the owner of the vineyard (God -- vineyard was a common way to refer to the nation of Israel) continues to send servants (prophets) and finally sends his son (Jesus). All of them are killed or driven out and the end result is the destruction of the vineyard itself.

The next challenge is the question of paying taxes. "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's (25)" is a revolutionary context. The very idea that there might be something outside the Emperor's purview was unheard of in Jesus time. The idea that there could be loyalties beyond our loyalty to the state and the "divinely appointed emperor" is one of many sources for the idea of civil disobedience and other counter cultural behaviors. The money may have Caesar's image and likeness on it -- and therefore belongs to Caesar. But we bear the image and likeness of God and therefore have higher loyalties than the government.

The Sadducees (the Sadducees don't believe in the resurrection which is why they are sad-u-see) come to Jesus with the ridiculous story of seven brothers for one bride. The key misunderstanding is that life in the resurrection will be just like life in the hear and now -- only greatly improved. In the resurrection, we learn from other New Testament passages, everything changes. Jesus' resurrection body is different. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 writes of a new body (one that is sown and rises to be grain). There is a transformation. Notice it does not say we will BE angels but hat we will be LIKE angels -- the simile applies here to the fact that reproduction in eternity is no longer necessary.

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