Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Reading Through the Gospel of Luke #8 (17.10-19.44)

Bock LukeThis post continues my reading through the Gospel of Luke accompanied by Luke, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series, by Darrell L. Bock. Chapters 17-19 conclude the “journey to Jerusalem” section. Jesus continues to teach about His upcoming death and resurrection and prepare His disciples for their task after He is gone.  I am posting from my reading in the New Testament accompanied by various commentaries on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and welcome comments and discussion on my Facebook page. I am using the Logos version of the book. As usual my comments are in black and quotes from the book are in blue. Again, I am not sure why the page numbers in the IVP series do not come up in Logos, but I will reference the quotes with the corresponding scripture reference.

The rest of the chapter 17 and first part of 18 deal with the looking and waiting for the king and kingdom. What will the kingdom look like and what is the proper response to it? The healing of the 10 lepers opens the section and focuses on the response of the Samaritan leper. He only responds with thankfulness and is given Jesus' approval. Thankfulness to God is the proper response to the blessings Jesus brings and reveals faith. The Pharisees skeptical question about the kingdom allows Jesus to correct their misperceptions about the kingdom. The kingdom has begun because the king, Jesus, is there. There will be 2 phases to the kingdom: a present phase in which Jesus will suffer, die and rise and the gospel will be preached to the world, and a future delayed phase that will bring, suddenly without sign, judgment and God's kingdom of justice and peace.

God’s grace, even though it is extended to all, does not mean that all gain salvation. God blesses humanity in a general way, but only the responsive who appreciate what he has done in Christ receive his full blessing and acceptance. Among the ten former lepers, only the Samaritan hears the comforting words “Your faith has made you well.” His gratitude has revealed his faith. Luke 17:11-19

Jesus is outlining a series of events that precede the return. He makes clear in texts like Mark 13:10, 32 that the exact timing is not known and that other things must happen first, like his suffering and the church’s preaching of the gospel. These discourses function to reassure disciples that God has a plan, even if we cannot know the exact timing of all these events...Again the point is, Expect suffering but persevere with patient faith. Redemption comes, and so does God’s vindication. Luke 17:20-37

Jesus continues in 18.1-30 to teach the disciples the way they should respond to the kingdom's presence "among them" now and how to live in the period of waiting for the final consummation. The parable of the nagging widow teaches persistent prayer for God to act to make things right. If an unjust, uncaring judge will act in response to persistence, how much more will our loving, caring Father act to bring us justice and what we need. The parable of the Pharisee and tax collector emphasize the need for humility. All of us receive the kingdom by grace and none of us have any more right to God's blessing than anyone else. Jesus receiving of the children models the Father's willingness to grant access to His presence to everyone and the need for childlike trust in His ability to care for His people. Jesus conversation with the rich ruler shows that self-trust and self-righteousness are a barrier to entry into the kingdom. Trust in God is demonstrated by generosity, self-sacrifice and service. That kind of trust will be rewarded in the present age and even more in the age to come. "Simple, humble faith is what God desires."

God responds to prayer and listens to his children. He does not wind up the universe like a watch, as the deists of old argued. He does not merely send the universe ticking on its merry way and sit back to observe as an uninterested spectator; God relates to his creation. This is especially the case when our prayers cry out for justice and the righteous treatment of his children. In such cases, when God acts, his response will be swift and certain (v. 8). Luke 18:1-8

The disciple’s trust should lead to humble service (18:17)...To trust God means to rest in him and his way. To pursue such a path is not works, but relationship with God. The entry into grace and relationship saves; the path and pursuit of righteousness follow. Luke 18:9-30

Chapter 19 ends the section on the journey to Jerusalem. As he nears the city, Jesus continues to prepare the disciples for his rejection, death and crucifixion. He tries to correct their misunderstanding that the final stage of the kingdom is coming right away but they are too blind to see it yet. One the way in to the city two men, a blind man and Zacchaeus a tax collector, place faith in Jesus and both receive salvation. In the midst of the blindness of the nation, it is the ones we would not expect that have the wisdom to see who Jesus is and respond in faith. Jesus then tells a parable which shows that while the kingdom is delayed it is service to Jesus that will be rewarded and shows true faith. The section ends with Jesus presented to the nation as Messiah. Sadly, the nation's leadership rejects Him, misses their opportunity for blessing and the city will be totally destroyed in judgment only a few years later. Blessing and judgment depend on response to Jesus.

It is the Son of David who heals. Messiah draws near to Jerusalem, and his authority is at work. Healing comes immediately, and the man follows Jesus, praising God. The picture is poignant. God is thanked for his work through Jesus. Having gained physical sight, the man finds that new light dawns as he focuses on following Jesus. Even the crowd is changed. Scoffers at the start, the people turn to praise God in the end. Seeing Jesus means being transformed. Luke 18:35-43

This rich man, touched by Jesus and responding with faith, exemplifies the restoration of a “lost one” and opens up his resources to be shared with others. He does not have to sell everything to receive Jesus’ commendation. His heart is in the right place when it comes to possessions. So Zacchaeus becomes an exemplary rich disciple. Luke 19:1-10

The reason for the destruction is simple—“you did not know the time of your visitation.” Messiah has come and Israel has said no. Opportunity for peace has come, but the nation has opted for destruction—a destruction that will not be permanent, as later texts like Acts 3:18–22 and Romans 11:27–29 make clear. Still, this soon-to-come destruction will be devastating...What was true of the Jewish nation can also be true of individuals. To miss Jesus is to miss the time of visitation and face accountability before God. Luke 19:28-44

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