March 4, 2016: Day 61 – Luke 17

The story of the ten lepers is one of my favorites to tell the preschool kids on chapel day.  It is an easy one and one that the kids quickly pick up on.  No, it wasn’t right that only one returned and gave thanks to Jesus for what he had done.  But one aspect of this story that we never cover in preschool is the fact that the one who returned was actually a Samaritan.  Jesus sure uses Samaritans a lot in his stories and really underlines their worth in his interactions with them.  Think about the Samaritan woman at the well whom Jesus engages and makes her an evangelist.  His disciples are shocked not only that he is speaking with a woman, but a Samaritan woman at that!  Then we have the parable of the Good Samaritan who is the quintessential protagonist who shows up the religious leaders on what it means to love thy neighbor.  It isn’t just Luke, but it is Jesus who engages the foreigner and does not in any way make them feel like…well, a foreigner.

At our Revelation study on the first Wednesday of the month we had a lengthy conversation about the rapture.  Now, I take the position that one thing we know for sure is that Jesus is going to be coming back.  We know that, it is a given.  What we do not know is what is it going to look like, be like, or what events will take place before he comes back?  There is only circumstantial evidence that this concept of a rapture is ever going to take place.  I wonder, as you hear me say that, does it in any way cause you to question a person’s salvation based upon their belief in the rapture?  I think we have created guidelines and fantasies where people have taken a few verses out of context: Jesus coming from the clouds and meeting us – I Thessalonians 4:17, or that some will be left behind – Luke 17:22ff.  These verses in Luke have been used consistently as proof texts for those who would want to prove that the rapture is going to happen.

If the rapture happens, great, I’ll be with Jesus.  If the rapture doesn’t happen, great, I’ll be with Jesus.  We know that consistently Jesus warns his disciples and others that we should not in any way try to predict how these end time events are going to take place.  We know that people are going to be living their lives normally, that’s what these verses tell us, and then it is going to happen without any warning and without anyone knowing that it is about to take place.  From one day to the next, it is not a progression, Jesus will come back.  I do not believe that the rapture is in any way anti-Christian.  But then again, I think Christians who don’t believe in the rapture should also be given the same benefit of the doubt.  

sudden-raptureI found this online.  I don’t think they meant it to be funny, but it kind of is.  I love the smoke, it is a nice touch.  Again, Jesus speaks in these verses not to prepare his disciples for the rapture, but rather to make sure that they know how ready they have to be for his second coming.

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