We have a buffet of passages within this chapter to examine, and many of them are cans teeming with worms eager to be released. We could talk about miracles, the implications of Jesus’ statement that mustard-seed-sized faith is sufficient to make trees uproot themselves, and the historicity of Jesus’ own miraculous healings. We could talk about how after nearly two millennia, Jesus has not returned. We could talk about how Jesus’ parable in verses 7-10 apparently suggests that our posture toward God should be that of slaves. If we opened up any one of these cans, could we get all the worms back in the can by the end of the post? This is the risk you run when you open cans.
Welcome back to the last five verses of Matthew 12, in which Jesus may or may not dunk on his own family. The Triad study workbook suggested that on day one we read the passage with its context, which we did, and for day two it suggested we read the passage from the perspective of its first-century Jewish listeners, which we did not, because we are a rebel who doesn’t play by the rules. For day three, it recommends we read it from the perspective of Jesus’ family themselves. And we’ve got a post to write, so why not?
At this very moment, I’m looking at the physical page, and dang if that thing isn’t 99% red. Literally the only words in this chapter that aren’t the Words of Our Lord are a “then-Jesus-said” to open the chapter and, later, “Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him” (14). (Of course it’s a dunk on the Pharisees.) Everything else? Jesus’ teaching.
For a guy with a contentious relationship with the Pharisees, Jesus sure gets invited to their houses a lot. Today’s chapter opens with him having a meal on the Sabbath with a prominent Pharisee and his peers, and to be honest, it’s as if Jesus is playing a game with himself to see how provocative he can get without actually getting kicked out.
So: I tried to shoehorn a point about modern-day Pharisaism into yesterday’s post, realized halfway through that it had little if anything to do with the text, an wisely scrapped it in favor of other topics. But Jesus’ teaching in today’s chapter actually pertains to the ideas I wanted to talk about. Looks like Pharisaism’s back on the menu, boys.
Last chapter, Jesus drew the ire of the Pharisees. Between refusing to authenticate his healings and exorcisms with a “sign,” not ceremonially washing before meals (even as a guest in a Pharisee’s house), and openly criticizing their showy religious posturing, he’s earned himself a spot on their poop list. So of course he opens up his teachings in Luke 12 with further jabs at the Pharisees.
Here we go again. I’d hoped to get Luke 11 covered for Sunday and call it the last of last week’s five posts, but that scenario clearly didn’t happen. So we’re gonna start fresh this week, kick it off with Luke 11’s prayers, parables, exorcisms, and criticisms, and shoot for a post every weekday as has been our custom. We’re invoking Blog Forgiveness and moving forward.