Thursday, December 11, 2008

Luke, Chapter 6 part 1

This chapter of Luke shows, in my opinion, one of the best examples of how mankind can completely lose touch with reality. It features my favorite bumbling characters, the Pharisees, completely missing the point of one of Jesus' lessons.

1One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 2Some of the Pharisees asked, "Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"

 3Jesus answered them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions." 5Then Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." – Luke 6:1-5

On the surface, it is ridiculous that the Pharisees got all uptight about something like this. And it is ridiculous. This was probably the least amount of work you could do. Since Jesus was a threat to their power though, it was a punishable offense. Instead of listening to the message behind His words they looked for any small excuse to accuse Jesus. It doesn't stop there, either. As we continue with the story, Jesus performs another healing miracle. Instead of being in awe and wondering how this man had this power, they felt threatened. He worked on the Sabbath according to them. Performing this miracle had to be a greater crime than their own hypocrisy.

Jesus wasn't changing the rules here. We are still supposed to honor the Sabbath to this day. What he did was change ideas and values. Honoring the Sabbath has no value if we enforce traditions simply for the sake of enforcing them. That is what the Pharisees were trying to do. They were so short sighted that they refused to grow. Our lives are about growth, spiritual or otherwise. Without growth up to the last moment of our lives on this earth there is little point in living. This is why I struggle with stagnation. If I am not growing I see little point in continuing.

12One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. – Luke 6:12-16

This is a critical moment in Jesus' ministry. He had plenty of disciples, but these 12 ordinary men were specially chosen for a destiny that would change the world. In this moment, they became more than mere followers of Christ. They became representatives of his ministry. Later they would become leaders and teachers of the Word. What makes this even more amazing is that they were ordinary men. They had no special backgrounds or skills. In less than 3 years with Jesus they were trained to start a movement that continues to grow 2,000 years later. They were often rebuked, doubted,a nd even denied Christ, but they still accomplished amazing things in His name. That is simply extraordinary.


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