February 29, 2016: Day 57 – Luke 13

When bad things happen around the world is one of our first thoughts…”What did they do wrong?”  We are programmed to pair up unfortunate incidents as a recompense for sin.  When the towers fell there were some preachers who said that it was God paying back America for their falling away of His will.  When AIDS first came around it was very common in Christian circles for people to think that this was punishment against homosexuals.  We are trained to think that when bad things happen it is a direct result of our actions which must have been against God’s will.  Jesus speaks against this type of thinking at the beginning of chapter 13 of Luke.  The historian Josephus writes about a massacre of the Galileans to which Jesus is referring in vs.2.  Were they worse sinners because they died such a cruel death?  Absolutely not.  When the towers of Siloam fell were those killed worse sinners?  Absolutely not.  But they, along with the rest of us, will perish the death that is eternal if we do not repent.  What Jesus does is take away the common thinking that we serve a God who is waiting for a Gotcha! moment when he rains down His punishment, as opposed to a God who just wants us to love Him.

Jesus again takes on the institutional thinking that rules and regulations are more important than people in the following verses.  After he heals a woman on the Sabbath the leader of the synagogue criticizes him for working on the Sabbath.  Jesus, of course, chastises him for the fact that everyone works on the Sabbath.  Everyone leads their livestock to water even on the Sabbath.  That is work.  But as he has said in the past humans were not made for the Sabbath but rather the Sabbath was made for us.  We cannot be prisoners to rules, but rather use the rules in order to benefit society and our individual lives.

I find it interesting that in vs. 31 and following you have the Pharisees looking out for Jesus by warning him that he should be on the move because Herod was looking to kill him.  Now, we can imagine that the reason they didn’t want Jesus taken out in their town was that they knew that that would create problems in their town.  They didn’t want trouble and so if Jesus was gone then there was much less chance that their town would see the trouble that Herod could bring when he was hunting someone.  So, maybe they weren’t looking out for Jesus as much as they were looking out for themselves.

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