Monday, March 17, 2014

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth (Luke 12)

In Luke 12, the first question given by the SAB is Should we fear God? The answer is yes, but I suppose the given verses imply a need for some explanation. I think the real point of those verses in the No column are actually closely related to the speech that Jesus is giving in the beginning of the chapter here. The main idea is that if you righteously fear God, then that fear will drive away all other fears.

Verse 7 is marked for "Science" and verse 9 is marked as "Injustice", and I have no idea why for either one.

Verse 10 brings up the issue of unforgivable sin, which I'm not going to rehash, but rather link to my answer here.

The middle of the chapter contains a lot of verses that the SAB marks as absurd, and they seem to be on the topic of learning to trust God to take care of you. Perhaps they may be absurd to an atheist, but to someone who believes in God, it may not seem so outlandish.

Next up in the chapter is a very strange parable that elicits a bunch of notes and questions from the SAB. Honestly though, I'm not sure what to make of it. As a parable, there's no real reason to take it literally, but I'm not sure what the symbolic lesson is, other than that people should be doing the will of God and looking forward to Christ's return (and even that second part's iffy). I feel sort of lame for not having more to say, but there it is.

Is Jesus peaceful? It's a surprisingly tricky question. As the SAB rightly points out in the next few verses after the one that raises this question, Jesus himself says that one of the effects he will have on the world will be the dividing up of families into factions. Jesus here is saying that he came to bring "division". So why is it that there do seem to be many verses that paint Jesus in the light of a peace maker? One thing that's important to note first of all is that Jesus never promoted violence. On one or two rare occasions, he suggested that his followers might wish to defend themselves against attack, and on many occasions he said that violence was likely to come because of their belief, but he never said this was a good thing, nor something he wanted to have happen. For the most part, however, the sort of peace that Jesus had to offer, if any, was peace with God. In James 4:4, it says "know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." While it doesn't expressly state it, the reverse is true as well, and that is the source of the strife that Jesus brings: when you find peace with God, you will often find that most people who do not share this peace will be your enemies.

The final note on this chapter is on Jesus calling people "hypocrites" for failing to recognize "this time." I'll admit I don't see what Jesus means by this, as the problem could be called a lot of things, but I don't see hypocrisy as chief among them.

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