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Wednesday
Mar272019

Lenten Assignment: Passage from Luke

My church handed out a calendar of various spiritual practices to do throughout the season of Lent this year. Every day there's something to do - often some small good deed, minor act of self-denial, or passage of scripture to read and contemplate. Today's assignment, however, specifically said to "write my thoughts" on something, so I figured I'd share my armchair theological ramblings.

The "something" in this case is a passage from The Gospel According to Luke, specifcally Luke 4:14-21.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” -Luke 14:14-21 (NIV)

A couple of things stood out to me as I read this passage; the first of which was that all but one of the things listed in the passage are wrongs that we humans do to one another. Poverty, imprisonment, and oppression are all down to human fallenness and sin. And that's not even counting the year of the Lord's favor, also known as the year of jubilee, which was a periodic settings of things to rights - slaves were freed and debts were forgiven. There's an observation in there about how much of what's wrong with the world is directly the result of humanity.

But blindness is not typically down to human sin, or at least not attributable to any specific sin since the Fall. It's typically brought about by nature or accident, and is an unfortunate consequence of a world where illness and genetic defects happen.

Jesus made the bold claim that he was here to address all of it, though - he descended into the world of human evil and natural tragedy and preached hope that he was there to provide relief from all of it.

I do find the phrasing interesting, though "Today the scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." It seems fairly clear because of who I believe Jesus to be that he was referring to himself, but it also sounds a bit invitational to me - "join me in this endeavor," if you will.




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