Bible blog 1930

LUKE 18

31 Then, taking the Twelve, Yeshua said to them, “We are now going up to Yerushalayim, where everything written through the prophets about the Son of Man will come true. 32 For he will be handed over to the Goyim and be ridiculed, insulted and spat upon. 33 Then, after they have beaten him, they will kill him. But on the third day he will rise.” 34 However, they understood none of this; its meaning had been hidden from them, and they had no idea what he was talking about.

35 As Yeshua approached Yericho, a blind man was sitting by the road, begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going past, he asked what it was all about; 37 and they told him, “Yeshua from Natzeret is passing by.” 38 He called out, “Yeshua! Son of David! Have pity on me!” 39 Those in front scolded him in order to get him to shut up, but he shouted all the louder, “Son of David! Have pity on me!” 40 Yeshua stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he had come, Yeshua asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Lord, let me be able to see.” 42 Yeshua said to him, “See again! your trust has healed you!” 43 Instantly he received his sight and began following him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they too praised God.

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Luke continues to follow the order of events in his main source, the Gospel of Mark, bit he omits a story about the disciples arguing over their status.

Matthew, Mark and Luke all include three prophecies of Jesus about his crucifixion and resurrection, doubtless so that they matched the three days Jesus spent in the tomb. The gospel tradition is at pains to emphasise that Jesus’ death was not an accident, but part of the divine plan. This final prophecy is placed in all three gospels just before Jesus’ public entry into Jerusalem.

Luke omits from his version the words that in Mark point to the priests and the Torah scribes as the initiators of Jesus’ trial and condemnation, cutting to the handing over of Jesus to the Romans, who are simply identified as Gentiles. Luke has already clearly identified the religious leaders as the main opposition to Jesus, so this omission may simply be for the sake of brevity. Luke’s focus is on the suffering of Jesus as Son of Man, ( the representative of God’s humane kingdom) and not on those who caused it.

The details of the prophecy are interesting.

  1. Jesus is “handed over” to the Gentiles, a verb that also means “betrayed”. It mirrors God’s handing over of Israel, God’s servant, to Exile in Babylon.
  2. He will be “mocked, insulted, spat on and beaten” before he is killed. These words come from the “songs of the servant” in Isaiah chapter 40- 55, emphasising human indignity and dereliction.
  3. He will “rise on the third day”. Originally “the third day” is not a measure of time but an indication that God will have the last word. After the days of human control, there will be the day of God.

Some scholars suggest the details of he prophecy have been added out of knowledge of what did happen to Jesus. As the details themselves can all be derived from the Jewish scripture, I think it’s more likely that details of the crucifixion and resurrection narrative are derived from this prophecy and the scriptures lying behind it.

The prophecy itself shows Jesus identifying with the Servant of Isaiah and with the figure of the Son of Man from Daniel as an interpretation of the fate that awaits him in Jerusalem, into which he goes with open eyes.

According to Luke however, his disciples’ eyes are closed. Only Luke has this comment at this point and it is remarkable. Jesus makes a clear announcement of his fate and his own disciples  do not hear it, because it’s “meaning had been hidden from them”- a phrase which indicates the action of God or the Adversary. I incline to think the latter, because of the way Luke deliberately criticises their blindness in the story of the blind beggar. image

Luke tells the story to suit his purpose: the beggar is sitting by the ROAD, meaning Jesus’ road to suffering, the road of discipleship. When he HEARS about Jesus he addresses him as MESSIAH, ( Son of David) and continues to make this WITNESS, although he is told to shut up. When Jesus asks him what he wants he asks to be ABLE TO SEE. When he is given his sight, as a result of his TRUST in Jesus he FOLLOWS him and GLORIFIES GOD. Luke make him into the ideal disciple in contrast to the twelve who are blind and deaf to the truth of Jesus.

In the gospels the twelve have become not only a model for the leadership of the Assemblies of Jesus, but also a model of that leadership in their repeated regard for their own status rather than the way of Jesus. These assemblies in their obedience and disobedience are already part of the story of Jesus. In my own faith and doubt, my own tentative courage and miserable cowardice, my own occasional moments of revelation and my relentless triviality, I can easily see myself in the disciples, “who had no idea what he was talking about” when he mentioned his cross. In connection with this story I always delight in quoting the Afro-American spiritual:

Blin’ man stood on the road an cried

Blin’ man stood on the road an cried

Cryin O Lord, show me the way

Blin’ man stood on the road an cried

 

A gospel in one verse.

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