Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Luke, Day 2 Readings

Jesus Helps the Outcasts & Promises Hardships for the Faithful  

Today's first reading dramatizes the essence of Jesus' teaching, which Luke highlights again and again.  Countering expectations, Jesus goes to the poor, the sick, and others outside of polite society -- in fact, his main focus is on outsiders, not insiders.  In this reading, we see several times when Jesus heals people "from the wrong side of the tracks," so to speak.  He cures the slave of a Roman soldier; he resurrects the son of a widow, and he has compassion on a "woman of the city" -- likely a prostitute -- and forgives her sins.  By such actions, Jesus shows that God's interests are with common people -- even with disreputable common people -- rather than the self-important religious leaders of the day.

Read Luke 7:1-50  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading offers another component of Jesus' teaching that is unexpected.  Throughout Luke, Jesus continually discredits conventional wisdom -- common people are often more faithful than religious leaders, women and children are as important as me, etc.  In these events, centering upon the Transfiguration, where Moses and Elijah appear alongside Jesus and God's voice echoes from the heavens praising Jesus, the disciples are warned that they will face challenges because they follow Jesus.  Even more, Jesus basically tells the disciples that their faithful discipleship doesn't make them better than anyone else in God's eyes -- it offers a way to salvation, but it will not lead to them being any more important in heaven.  This is a hard teaching for people who think that they can make Jesus proud of them and get special privileges because of it.

Read Luke 9:18-62  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Luke 6-10 today.