Monday, February 22, 2010

Luke 9:51-10:42 How do I inherit eternal life?

I'll post some notes from the final two evangelistic events of the Plymouth Mission week at some point (The Bible: Historically Unreliable & Culturally Regressive - a adaptation of Tim Keller's approach to that, and Burn Your Plastic Jesus - which was a talk on Mark 15).

Each morning during the Plymouth CU mission week I gathered the team of 10 CU guests to review and plan, to pray and to walk through Luke's gospel. We followed Jesus from Luke 9v51 to 19v28, his journey to Jerusalem. It's a road of grace, marked with familiar stories, teaching, parables and healings.

When I read Luke I try and keep two things in mind...
1. Luke arranges his material very carefully. It's easy to know the small accounts that he records separately and to forget that they're put together for a reason (which is to give us certainty about Jesus). With this in mind I see some real benefit in studying 50-100 verses at a time. 
2. It's about Jesus not about us. It's easy to quickly apply things to ourselves, but as Jesus explained on the eight mile walk from Jerusalem after his resurrection, Moses and the Prophets are about Jesus... and I'm inclined to think that when Luke writes about how those books are fulfilled in Jesus he gives us this gospel (and Acts) as the write-up.

The journey is framed, beginning and end, by the twin questions of a self-justifying lawyer and a religious rich man about how to get eternal life. We began by reading Luke 9v51-10v42 with that question in mind. Jesus heads for the cross and calls people to follow him - going with him is better than all the good things he suggest to leave behind. He then does some evangelism training though Luke doesn't give us a report of the mission's events only that the disciples were very impressed only for Jesus to slam them down. Their mission of preaching and healing took Satan down, just like lightning falls from heaven, but joy is better anchored somewhere else - in having your names written in heaven.

We then get a Triune Moment as the Son prays to his Father with joy in the Holy Spirit. This is our God in conversation - the divine community enjoying fellowship together. 

The prayer celebrates that only the Father knows the Son and only the Son knows the Father - a moment of joy and yet despair!? - and that the Son makes the Father known. Not to the wise, not to the understanding, not to kings, not to prophets but to little children like these disciples. People not like busy Martha, but like Mary who sits at Jesus feet and allows the Son to reveal the Father to her.

In the midst of this is the lawyer who comes to trip Jesus up. He's told to love his neighbour via a famous parable about a Samaritan being a neighbour to a beaten up Jew. To do likewise though means what?

Could it mean go and love sacrificially - perhaps though that would conflict a little with it's pair in chapter 18 with the rich man... perhaps instead it's a call to receive help from the most unlikely of sources, namely from Jesus who would reveal life to him if he only sought it like a child, like Mary (context is key here). But, we can return to that nearer to the cross...

How do you get eternal life? You need Jesus to reveal himself and his Father to you... and he'd be glad to if you come like a child to listen humbly....      Next 11v1-12v12.

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