Friday, May 8, 2009

Thursday of Easter 4 - Too many Treasures!

It figures that I'd finally start this the day that such a rich text as Luke 10 would come along. I could be here for a while! Dr. Paul Schrieber once described texts like this as being like a diamond - the more you look at it, the more facets you see.

First, in passing, the Old Testament text from Leviticus 17 reminds me of a very not kosher post-Baptism dinner I had 11 years ago, which most likely included me consuming blood (I didn't know what it was. When later describing what I had put on my plate, Dr. Steven Mueller told me his guess was pig's blood. "You have to do something with it when you drain the pig you're going to roast")

Now on to Luke 10

Verse 29, "and he, desiring to justify himself..." - if you don't get this verse, you will never get this text right. It is so natural, since Adam and Eve first did it, to justify ourselves, to find the excuse that makes our sin not so bad, or not be a sin at all. Instead, let Christ be Christ. He is here to justify us. Not to excuse our sin, but to pay for it as the Samaritan pays for the wounded traveler.

Christ's first audience would never have heard about a Samaritan coming along and said, "Oh, this guy represents me." No, he's from a foreign kingdom.

He has compassion, splachnon in Greek, a word the New Testament authors mostly reserved for use in describing God. Jesus has this compassion in Luke 7 for the widow at Nain whose son died. Check out what Rev. Matthew Harrison said about this word to our Southern Illinois District Convention, starting around the 22:45 mark.
(I've really got to learn how to put URLs in this blog nicer).
Oh, and he also has something about justifying ourselves at about the 6:30 mark.

One thing I don't think I ever noticed before yesterday was that Luke puts the account of Mary and Martha right after the Good Samaritan. Your works will not justify you, Martha. Listen to the word that brings your necessary justification, the pronouncement of your innocence in Christ from Christ. Only then do we run the Good Samaritan text through 1 John 4:10-11 (from this Sunday's Epistle in the 3 Year series.)

I could write so much more about this, but children are starting to wake up upstairs.

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