Friday, July 2, 2010

300: Shall I Destroy Them, Jesus?

Luke 8-9
"When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, 'Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?' " - Luke 9:54

[300 days, woo... That is all.]

As seems to be the norm with Luke, we have about 95% content that we've already heard. This includes the parable of the sower, Jesus denying his mother and brothers, Jesus stopping a storm, and Jesus driving Legion into a herd of pigs (causing them to commit suicide).

We then come to the story about Jesus healing the dead girl and the sick woman. The sick woman touches Jesus's cloak and is instantly healed. Again, Jesus seems unable to discern who drained his powers and has to run around asking who touched him.

We then come to Jesus resurrecting the dead girl. Like in the stories from the other gospels, when he comes to heal her he claims that she's just asleep. Is she really just sleeping? Either that, or Jesus is lying, which is very un-Jesus of him. This all seems especially absurd in Luke, where Jesus has already resurrected a dead boy in the middle of broad daylight. This leads me to believe that the girl really was just sleeping. In which case why is there a section dedicated in every gospel for talking about Jesus waking a girl up?

Chapter 9 is also several stories we've already heard. Jesus feeding 5000 (I'm still not given any satisfying details), the transfiguration, Jesus healing the epileptic, and Jesus saying that the least are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

At the beginning of the chapter Luke mentions that Herod has already beheaded Jesus. I guess we don't get to hear the story of how/why that happened from Luke.

Near the end of the chapter Jesus sends some messengers ahead to a Samaritan town to "get things ready" for him. However, the Samaritans don't welcome him because they somehow know that he's headed for Jerusalem. When the disciples catch wind of this they come to Jesus and ask if he would like them to "call fire down from heaven to destroy [the Samaritans]". Since when can the disciples call down fire from heaven? Can Jesus even call down fire from heaven?

Jesus, unlike his father, refuses to have a random town destroyed for not liking him.

*News*
Florida public schools in Collier County have decided to ban the distribution of Bibles. Ironically, the bibles were to be distributed on religious freedom day.
For years, the school board allowed World Changers to distribute free Bibles to interested students during off-school hours on Religious Freedom Day, but now the school officials claim that Bibles do not provide any educational benefit to the students and the distribution should stop. Many of our founding fathers were taught to read using the Bible. If it had no educational value, then many of them would have been illiterate.
So the claim here is that the bible has educational value because people can be taught to read with it? By this definition any book has educational value and should be allowed to be handed out on public high school campuses. This includes salty romance novels, the Satanic bible, etc.
The school district, like many others, suffers from a misunderstanding of the First Amendment. The Establishment Clause does not prohibit private religious speech or literature; under Supreme Court case law, it prohibits only government religious speech. The distribution of Bibles by World Changers is private speech and, in a forum opened for secular literature, is constitutionally protected.
The government (in the form of a government run public school) is providing a channel for the promotion of religion (in the form of handing out free bibles). Why do these people have to hand out their bibles at a public high school? They could pass out their bibles at almost any other time. Or, God forbid, they could pass them out at church where people actually want bibles. But I suppose that would be contrary to the whole proselytizing thing.

2 comments:

  1. Luke 8

    Luke 8:1-3. Note that Jesus' system of itinerant preachers depends on the support of people who haven't given all of their possessions away. All that talk about support for the poor may be code for "give us your money."

    Luke 8:18-21. Note that by carefully editing Mark's text, Luke leaves open the possibility that Jesus' real family is included in those whom he calls his mother and brothers. He also removed the idea that his family would've thought he was crazy, since they knew about his miraculous birth and childhood.

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  2. 300 man! Good work so far.
    Another 65 should be a breeze then!
    (Well , a slog, for sure. But do-able.There will be more repetition in some of the letters of Paul. But it does end with a bang, a glorious, dramatic, incomprehensible finish...)

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