This blog provides a meditation on the Reformed Church daily readings aong with a headline from world news
INCREASING NUMBERS OF SYRIAN REFUGEES IN JORDAN
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
After a night of prayer Jesus selects the twelve
12-16 It was in those days that he went up the hill-side to pray, and spent the whole night in prayer to God. When daylight came, he summoned his disciples to him and out of them he chose twelve whom he called apostles. They were Simon (whom he called Peter), Andrew, his brother, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, the son of Alphaeus, Simon, called the patriot, Judas, the son of James and Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed him.
17-19 Then he came down with them and stood on a level piece of ground, surrounded by a large crowd of his disciples and a great number of people from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal district of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. (And even those who were troubled with evil spirits were cured.) The whole crowd were trying to touch him with their hands, for power was going out from him and he was healing them all.
Jesus declares who is happy and who is to be pitied, and defines a new attitude towards life
20 Then Jesus looked steadily at his disciples and said, “How happy are you who own nothing, for the kingdom of God is yours!
21 “How happy are you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied! “How happy are you who weep now, for you are going to laugh!
22-23 “How happy you are when men hate you and turn you out of their company; when they slander you and detest all that you stand for because you are loyal to the Son of Man. Be glad when that happens and jump for joy—your reward in Heaven is magnificent. For that is exactly how their fathers treated the prophets.
24 “But how miserable for you who are rich, for you have had all your comforts!
25 “How miserable for you who have all you want, for you are going to be hungry! “How miserable for you who are laughing now, for you will know sorrow and tears!
26 “How miserable for you when everybody says nice things about you, for that is exactly how their fathers treated the false prophets.
Another great example of Luke’s storytelling skill. It begins with Jesus’ prayer. Alone, in the darkness, he shares his life with God. Alone, he is not alone. In the morning, in the light of day, he establishes another companionship, by appointing a symbolic twelve of his disciples to be messengers of the the good news. (Apostles). They represent the twelve tribes of the new people of God. So out of Jesus’ unity with the Father in darkness springs a new people who are directed (apostled) towards the world.
Then Jesus takes his stand on a level place. It can’t be accidental that where Matthew says Jesus’ New Law was given from a mountain( as with Moses) Luke emphasises the level ground. Luke’s story creates a geography in which Jesus journeys from Galilee to Jerusalem before his message journeys from Jerusalem to all the world. The good news travels on the level ground of the world, knocking down the powerful and raising up the powerless. Jesus’ on the level messengers will disturb the usual hierarchy of society.
Jesus’ blessings, according to Luke are not directed at the crowd but at his disciples. They are the fortunate poor, the satisfied hungry, the laughing mourners, the joyful scum of the earth and are sharply distinguished from the miserable rich, the starving gluttons, the desolate partygoers, the sad battalions of the well-respected. These blessings are of course only known in the community of disciples and are only evident to the world through its witness to Jesus, in word and action. In the “day of God’s rule” however, the truth of the blessings will be fully evident to all. This is the quiet revolution of Jesus.