Saturday, July 3, 2010

301: Multiplying Disciples

Luke 10-11
"After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go." - Luke 10:1

We start the day off with a change. Luke tells us that Jesus appointed another 72 disciples and sent them out (much like his original 12) to towns around Israel, two by two. Like the other disciples, these 72 seem to have most of the power of Jesus (namely healing the sick). Jesus says that if the town welcomes them, they are to heal the sick and eat their food. If the town doesn't welcome them, they are to tell them that their fate will be worse than Sodom in the end times.

Next is the parable of he good Samaritan. The story starts out with an expert of the law asking Jesus what he needs to do to get eternal life. The rich boy asked Jesus this question in the other two gospels. This time the answer is different. The teacher says, to receive eternal life you should "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus agrees that this is what should be done.

Wait a minute. That was the "most important" commandment from the other gospels. Not what you needed to get eternal life. I'll quote the story:
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
... You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.' "

"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."

Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." [Mark 10:17-21]
So which is it? Do I have to follow these randomly picked commandments? Do I just have to love God and my neighbor? Or do I just have to "accept Jesus" like I've been told by so many Christians? For something as important as eternal life, Jesus certainly doesn't give us a clear route to it.

The actual story of the good Samaritan comes about when the teacher asks Jesus to define what a "neighbor" is. Jesus (speaking in parable as usual) tells a story of a man that was beat up and passed by, by all sorts of "good" people (Israelites). Finally a Samaritan helps him. Jesus asks which is the neighbor, the Israelites or the Samaritan. The expert of the law says the Samaritan and Jesus agrees. So only people who do good things for you are neighbors? What happened to love your enemy? I guess that's just another "suggestion", because you only have to love your neighbor to get into heaven.

Chapter 11 is back to the stories we've already heard. There is an abbreviated version of the Lord's prayer, Jesus being accused of working with Satan, Jesus promising the "sign of Jonah" (though he doesn't specify the amount of days), and six woes for the Pharisees.

What's one of the biggest intellectual arguments against God? Right, he's "not fun":
Over the years, people have been taking pot shots at the Bible, stating that serving God is not fun and the Bible is worthless. These intellectual assassins never take the time to read the book. If a critic would read the Scriptures, they would discover that it is loaded with feast days (a.k.a. biblical holidays). When a feast is declared in the Bible, it means "party down" with friends and family.
The "you just haven't read the book" argument is getting more and more ridiculous as I near the end of the bible. Where were these "party down" days in the Old Testament? The feasts were largely about sacrificing hoards of animals to God and worshiping. That's not to mention that not participating in these "fun" feasts was punishable by death. "Have fun, or I'll kill you." Sounds great.

I think "not fun" is the least of God's problems. Not killing people needs to go on the to do list before having more fun.
Under the New Covenant, we have the freedom to celebrate -- or not. That's called freedom of choice.
Oh, so God just recently caught on to this whole "freedom" thing? Slaughtering innocents, flooding the world, just recently catching on to the idea of freedom. Obviously the most intellectual argument against God is that he's "not fun".

(via Indy Star)


  1. Right, according to the Bible you have freedom of choice, and God has the freedom to condemn you to suffer for all eternity for your choices.

    So if the Bible is so "pro-choice," why are Xians opposed to abortion. Let people make their choices and then God can sort it out after their dead.

  2. I just found out about what you are doing awesome feat that is for sure. you probably have it somewhere in your blog but what version of the bible are you reading?

    I know when I read the bible I came out not only a atheist but a anti theist it has some scary shit in there for sure.

  3. Luke 10

    Luke 10:4. The 72 are not even allowed to wear sandals! According to Matthew (Mt 10:10) the 12 weren't either, but Mark (Mk 6:9) said they were.

    Luke 10:3-12. Luke had this bit of Q material to work with, as well as the simpler sending (also derived from the same tradition) of the 12 in Mark 6:7-13, so instead of just adding the Q material to Mark, as Matthew did (Mt 10:5-16), Luke doubled to sending, first copying Mark (in Lk 9:1-6) and then presenting the Q version (in Lk 10), but since Mark's version itself overlapped with Q, some ideas were repeated, such as Lk 9:4-5=Lk 10:7,10.

  4. Luke 11

    Luke 11:1. Why do the disciples have to ask Jesus how to pray? They hear him praying all the time in Luke's Gospel, even in 11:1 itself. Moreover, don't they remember that he told them back in Matt 6:5-15? Granted, these 2 copies of the Lord's Prayer are probably both from the same tradition (Q), but note that in one Jesus is speaking privately to his disciples, in response to their request, and in the other before a large crowd on the mountain.

    Luke 11:2-4. A few differences in the wording of the Lord's Prayer between Luke and Matthew (Mt 6:9-13): Matthew has added "Our," "in heaven," and "your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Luke has changed "today" to "each day" in 11:3, so I guess he is assuming this prayer is like a representation in a contract that is assumed to be repeated automatically where appropriate. Luke has changed "debts" to "sins" in 11:4a, but not 11:4b (the Greek actually says, "Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us," which the NIV sheepishly admits in a footnote). He's also added "everyone" to this verse, and has changed "as" to "for," changing the plain statement of what he does ("in the way that I forgive others") to a justification of why God should forgive him ("because I forgive others"). Finally, Matthew adds "but deliver us from the evil one," using his epithet for the Devil (cf. Matt 13:38), perhaps to remove the impression that God tempts people.

  5. That's not a bad question, really, g. :-)
    I certainly can't speak for the Christians, but it may have to do with their feelings of being the 'agents' of God.
    Or, it could have to do with believing in what they are told to think by their authorities.
    Or, maybe like Chris Hitchens, they oppose abortion on materialistic grounds. Oh no, wait... he's also said that women will in fact decide it, and Christians are still a little mixed on their feelings about giving women freedom to think or decide...



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