Monday, April 6, 2009

Holy Week: Luke 19

The last two weeks have been hard: my friend's cancer, my daughter's diagnosis. It is now, in the midst of the hard things, that it is important to pay attention to the foundation on which my life is built. And these chapters are that foundation. I think that Jesus really lived, died and rose from the dead. And that is the most important fact of my life.

So - in the midst of the busy-ness and the sorrows and the worries of life - let's take time this week to remember the most important thing, the thing that doesn't change.

In the chapters we have been reading, there has been a dual focus - the increasing buy-in of the disciples, and the increasing hostility of the opponents. Jesus has been making the invitation - and the warning - quite plain. In Chapter 18 there is a stark contrast - the rich young ruler who goes away blinded by wealth - and the blind beggar who follows, rejoicing.

Chapter 19 opens with the story of Zacchaeus and one response to Jesus "he hurried down and received him joyfully" - and closes with the other -the "principal men of the city... seeking to destroy him." The story of the tenants in chapter 20 sums up the situation: The "owner of the vineyard" sends his beloved son. "But when the tenants saw him they said to themselves, 'This is the heir. Let us kill him, so the inheritance may be ours."

The choice is so starkly put. Either Jesus is the rightful king - or we wish him dead. Kind of shocking to put it like that, isn't it? There is just not much room here for the "just a good man" theory of Jesus. (If one wants to hang on to such a theory, one must avoid reading the gospels...) Do "good men" generally claim to be the rightful king of the world?

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