27 May 2009

Pleased to Meet You - Hope You Guess My Name

Let's look at the Gospel reading today from Luke 10:17-24 which comes in 3 acts.

Here is Act 1:

The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!" Jesus said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:17-20)

The difficult problem for Neo-Orthodox Biblical hermenutics (the way so-called Liberals interpret the scripture) is what to do with the devil. Jesus clearly mentions Satan in this text and the disciples are casting out demons. It's tough when science says there is no devil and no demons but Jesus and his disciples say there are devils and demons. I suppose at that point we have to make a choice between SCIENCE and Jesus and if that is the choice I will choose Jesus every time. I know this goes against the modern template whereby Scientists are the new priests and Darwinism is the new religion. I can live with that. (I welcome comments from more clever biblical scholars than me about how to manage the difficulty noted above.)

Here is Act 2:
At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." (Luke 10:21-22)

This Act anticipates the argument that arises from Act 1. Jesus is calling those who do not acknowledge the reality of evil "the wise and the intelligent." Yet, it is not to the wise and intelligent that God reveals "these things" about the reality of evil forces beyond human comprehension. Jesus says God chooses to reveal a deeper reality about the world "to infants" - the innocent? - rather than to the wise and intelligent.

Finally, here is Act 3:
Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it." (Luke 10:23-24)

This is usually translated to mean "You disciples sure are lucky because you get to see and hear Jesus while he is actually alive on this earth." Another translation may be, "There is a way of seeing the world that is not known or experienced by the so-called wise and intelligent and this is the journey that I invite you to take."

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