Friday, March 07, 2014

The maid is not dead, but sleepeth (Luke 8)

The SAB opens up Luke 8 with a verse marked as absurd. I'm sure I've commented on it before, but I'm never quite sure what to do with charges of absurdity, mostly because it's largely a matter of personal opinion. The SAB finds a lot of stuff in the Bible absurd, but usually it makes sense from a spiritual perspective, I hope.

Did Jesus have any secret teachings? The issue here is that the passage in John says that Jesus did not have secret teachings, but it seems as though the other passages imply that he did. I think what Jesus is saying in the John passage is that although clearly not every single word Jesus ever said was in public, he'd always been open about his purpose and had nothing to hide.

Verse 18 is rather cryptic (at least I'm certainly not sure what it means) and the SAB puts a snide remark about Republicans on it. I'm pretty sure it's just meant as a joke, but I might as well comment while I'm here that I always cringe a bit when I hear people put political labels on Jesus. Not only was he obviously not a Republican or Democrat, but I don't think it makes sense to label him as either liberal or conservative. Jesus simply was what he was, and it wasn't about politics, it was about devotion to God and love for our fellow human beings.

In verses 20-21, Jesus makes the statement that "My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it." which the SAB takes as an insult to his actual mother and brothers. I suppose you could see it that way, but then at the same time, I do think Jesus' family were devout themselves, and so Jesus is arguably not denying them, but including them in something bigger.

Verse 24 has the first of several miracles performed by Jesus in this chapter, all of which are marked as absurd (see above) and unscientific. As I said before, it's the very nature of miracles that they are unscientific, so I don't think this is a real problem.

Verses 27-37 tell the story of Jesus helping a man possessed by a demon, or possibly multiple demons, it's never quite clear. (The version of the story in Matthew has two men possessed, which seems to be a pretty clear contradiction, so I don't know what to make of it.) The SAB like many others I've heard before complains about cruelty to the herd of pigs, which is of course what leads to Jesus being asked to leave by the locals.

Was Jairus' daughter alive when Jesus approached? Yes, the Gospels give differing accounts of when the girl may have died, but in all the versions, Jesus says the girl is only sleeping, and I'll take him at his word.

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