Friday, March 14, 2014

For he that is not against us is for us (Luke 11)

Luke 11 opens with another side note from the works of Bart Ehrman, who I know came up in an earlier post. It always seems a little strange to me when the SAB takes a bit of time to go outside of simply using the KJV, but at least I'm inclined to agree with this particular note. It is my understanding that the prayer here in Luke did not match the similar "Lord's Prayer" in Matthew in the original Greek manuscripts, and somewhere along the line some people tried to change it so that the two would be more similar. As I said the last time he came up, if you're interested in things like the SAB, Ehrman would probably be excellent additional readings, as he comes up with similar criticisms, but from a more technical viewpoint as a scholar of ancient manuscripts.

Can God be found? the SAB asks. I'm going to say yes and no on this one. As a general principle, God can be found, but there are exceptions, and there are times when God will hide himself from someone seeking him.

Who is for or against Jesus? While these verses can seem like a contradiction, I think they really boil down to Jesus saying there is no neutrality involved when it comes to him.

In verses 24-26, Jesus gives an odd illustration about casting out demons, in which a man with a demon cast out of him ends up with seven more demons in the end. The way that I've always heard this discussed is that if a man has a demon cast out of him, it is important that the exorcism is not the only thing done for the man, but he needs to be saved, so that he has protection from God from further corruption by evil spirits.

Was Mary blessed? I don't know why this wasn't covered when I did Luke 1, but that was a long time ago, maybe this is a new note? Anyway, I would say that Mary was blessed, and that the statement by Jesus here does not negate that fact. If Jesus says, "Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." that would only mean that Mary was not blessed if she didn't keep the word of God, which I have no reason to believe was the case. I do think that Jesus is making a statement about the importance of keeping the word of God over the adoration of any particular person; not that one can't admire Mary and recognize her importance, but it's simply secondary to a right relationship with God.

Did Jesus perform any signs and wonders? This always comes across as a confusing matter, as Jesus repeatedly says that he will not perform signs and wonders, but clearly, he does. It's always been my understanding that the real meaning of this is that Jesus performed signs and wonders when they served a purpose, but never did anything just to show off.

Who was the greatest: Jesus or Solomon? I think that Jesus and Solomon (and John the Baptist) were each the greatest in their own way. Note that it never says that Solomon was the greatest, only that there would never be a king like him. Solomon was exceedingly great in wisdom, but Jesus is in a class of his own.

Is it OK to call someone a fool? I don't think that the point of Matthew 5:22 is to say that the word "fool" is forbidden, but rather that it is bad to speak epithets in anger. There's a big difference between getting angry with someone and calling him a fool because he hurt your feelings and calling someone a fool because they have done an actual foolish thing.

At the end of the chapter, the SAB says, "Jesus blames all the deaths of the prophets (from Abel to Zacharias) on his generation." I don't think that's exactly what's going on here. Jesus actually says, "It shall be required of this generation." Which is not to say that they are responsible, but this is something like a long overdue bill that is finally coming due paid. He may be referring to the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

No comments: