Oh, thank God there’s no mention of slaves in this one.
Matthew 24 is basically Luke 21, and I’ve already talked about Luke 21, so I guess we’re done here.
If the gospel of Luke were a comic book, you’d read the story of twelve-year-old Jesus getting lost in Jerusalem, you’d turn the page, and you’d see a huge establishing shot of the wilderness with John the Baptist. The narrative box would read, “Twenty years later…”, there’d be a bunch of John-the-Baptist stuff, and you wouldn’t see Jesus again for like six pages. I’d love to see how Cartoonist Luke would illustrate the genealogy that concludes the chapter, but the point remains: in the early chapters, Luke’s book about Jesus features Jesus less prominently than you might expect.
I can’t believe we’re already finished with Hebrews. I mean it; despite my familiarity with it, I somehow got it into my head that it had fourteen chapters. But sure enough, here’s the end, from the exhortations to good behavior to the last little bits of theology to the personal notes. It spans two pages in my Bible, and even before I turned the page, I could tell by the tone that the book was wrapping up. There was not going to be another chapter.
In his letters, sometimes Paul gets theological, and sometimes he tells stories. Yeah, the categories have some artifice to them—stories are often theological, and theology can take the form of a story—but in today’s chapter, Paul continues telling the Galatians the story he started this letter with.
My preferred Bible translation is the NASB, but I have to admit it’s not without its drawbacks. It presents a more literal translation wherever possible and reflects the original languages more closely than the NIV. But as a result, I find some passages to be not immediately accessible, and it takes some time and effort just to figure out what’s going on. Like, oh say, this chapter.
Today’s chapter is about fasting. It comes as a response to Israel’s complaint: “Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?” (58:3). Remember yesterday, when God accused his people of forgetting him? Today, they’re all, “Nah, God, we remember you! We’ve been fasting and humbling ourselves! Come on, why are you ignoring us?”