- THE GOSPEL OF ST. LUKE
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- In praise of lowly, unpurposeful and random activities | Fieldguide
They construed His words respecting leaven as a reference to bread, and possibly as a reproof for their neglect. Jesus chided them as of little faith for thinking then of material bread, and refreshed their recollection of the miracles by which the multitudes had been fed, so that their lack of loaves would not further trouble them.
The party left the boat near the site of the first miraculous feeding of the multitude, and made their way to Bethsaida Julias. A blind man was brought, and Jesus was asked to touch him. He took the sightless one by the hand, led him outside the town, applied saliva to his eyes, laid hands upon him in a ministration, and asked him if he could see. The man answered that he saw dimly, but was unable to distinguish men from trees. Bidding him not to enter the town, nor to tell of his deliverance from blindness to any in the place, the Lord sent him away rejoicing.
This miracle presents the unique feature of Jesus healing a person by stages; the result of the first ministration was but a partial recovery. No explanation of the exceptional circumstance is given. Some people, sharing the superstitious fears of the conscience-stricken Herod Antipas, said that Jesus was John the Baptist returned to life, though such a belief could not have been entertained seriously by many, as John and Jesus were known to have been contemporaries; others said He was Elias, or more exactly, Elijah; still others suggested He was Jeremiah or some other one of the ancient prophets of Israel.
It is significant that among all the conceptions of the people as to the identity of Jesus there was no intimation of belief that He was the Messiah. Neither by word nor deed had He measured up to the popular and traditional standard of the expected Deliverer and King of Israel. Fleeting manifestations of evanescent hope that He might prove to be the looked-for Prophet, like unto Moses, had not been lacking; but all such incipient conceptions had been neutralized by the hostile activity of the Pharisees and their kind.
To them it was a matter of supreme though evil determination to maintain in the minds of the people the thought of a yet future, not a present, Messiah. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Through direct revelation from God Peter knew that Jesus was the Christ; and upon revelation, as a rock of secure foundation, the Church of Christ was to be built. By revelation alone could or can the Church of Jesus Christ be builded and maintained; and revelation of necessity implies revelators, through whom the will of God may be made known respecting His Church.
As a gift from God comes the testimony of Jesus into the heart of man. Allusion to keys as symbolical of power and authority is not uncommon in Jewish literature, as was well understood in that period and is generally current today. Thus, it was he who spoke in behalf of the Eleven, in the council meeting at which a successor to the traitor Iscariot was chosen; he was the spokesman of his brethren on the occasion of the Pentecostal conversion; it was he who opened the doors of the Church to the Gentiles; i and his office of leadership is apparent throughout the apostolic period.
The confession by which the apostles avowed their acceptance of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, was evidence of their actual possession of the spirit of the Holy Apostleship, by which they were made particular witnesses of their Lord. The time for a general proclamation of their testimony had not arrived, however; nor did it come until after Christ had emerged from the tomb a resurrected, immortalized Personage. A yet deeper reason for the secrecy enjoined upon the Twelve appears in the fact that the Jewish nation was not prepared to accept their Lord; and to ignore Him through lack of certain knowledge involved a lesser degree of culpability than would have attached to an unpalliated rejection.
The particular mission of the apostles at the time then future was to proclaim to all nations Jesus, the crucified and resurrected Christ. On earlier occasions He had referred in their hearing to the cross, and to His approaching death, burial, and ascension; but the mention in each case was in a measure figurative, and they had apprehended but imperfectly if at all.
Peter saw mainly as men see, understanding but imperfectly the deeper purposes of God. Though deserved, the rebuke he received was severe.
THE GOSPEL OF ST. LUKE
There was left no shadow of excuse for the thought that devotion to Christ would not mean denial and privation. He who would save his life at the cost of duty, as Peter had just suggested that Christ should do, would surely lose it in a sense worse than that of physical death; whereas he who stood willing to lose all, even life itself, should find the life that is eternal. It will be remembered that Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover soon after His baptism, and that on the visit referred to He forcibly cleared the temple courts of traffickers and their property.
This is known as the first Passover during the public life of Jesus. Ceremonial Ablutions. Sometimes the hands had to be dipped or immersed; at other times they were to be cleansed by pouring, it being necessary that the water be allowed to run to the wrist or the elbow according to the degree of supposed defilement; then again, as the disciples of Rabbi Shammai held, only the finger tips, or the fingers up to the knuckles, needed to be wetted under particular circumstances.
Rules for the cleansing of vessels and furniture were detailed and exacting; distinct methods applied respectively to vessels of clay, wood, and metal. Fear of unwittingly defiling the hands led to many extreme precautions. It being known that the Roll of the Law, the Roll of the Prophets, and other scriptures, when laid away were sometimes touched, scratched, or even gnawed by mice, there was issued a rabbinical decree, that the Holy Scriptures, or any part thereof comprizing as many as eighty-five letters the shortest section in the law having just that number , defiled the hands by mere contact.
Thus the hands had to be ceremonially cleansed after touching a copy of the scriptures, or even a written passage therefrom. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. His choice of company upset many of the religious leaders of the time and they taunted Jesus for His actions. In response, Jesus gave one of His more notable teachings:. All throughout recorded history humans have feared groups of people that are different.
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I believe this is why Jesus went to such lengths to correct this faulty line of thinking. He accomplished this through His example and by highlighting the most important commandment in Scripture:.
Most of the religious leaders agreed this was the greatest of all the commandments. Yet, how to live by that commandment was something they only understood in partiality. A man was beaten and robbed. Two men, a priest and a temple assistant, walked past the man.
They even crossed to the other side of the street out of fear. A third man, a Samaritan, also an outcast as we have seen above, came upon the beaten man and immediately offered assistance by caring for his wounds and paying for him to stay in an inn to have time to heal. The fear that led the priest and temple assistant to ignore the beaten man is still prevalent today.
It is our nature to avoid situations and people that make us uncomfortable.
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But the story shows us that our neighbor is anyone — even someone with different religious and moral beliefs, an outcast, a rebel, or even our enemy. Jesus demonstrates how we should always show compassion and mercy towards others. He left us with one more crucial commandment: to go into all nations to teach and baptize people Matthew Not just those who think, dress, and act like us.
All people, of all nations. Which leaves us with a question: are we following Jesus according to the example He set and the words He taught? It will require us to trust Him no matter what our fears may be. If we are to be His hands and feet today, perhaps that means going into uncomfortable places and meeting people who are very different from us. Vigilance against corruption, service delivery protests, concern about escalating crime, concern about increasing levels of poverty and poor living conditions for a number of people as well as attempts at developing an infrastructure that is consistent with the standards of a developing country, albeit for a few, are all signs of anxiety arising from a force that is at work in history kairos.
Is it coincidental that these manifestations all fall under the rubric of development? There are three possible ways out of it — repression, deception or correction. Those in high places have to choose one. There is no time or date set for the moment of his arrival and there is no prescribed format for providing either. There is no basis for that in the narrative. Ac , as the narrative unfolds.
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South Africa therefore has to be evaluated in terms of its attitude towards the programme of the lowly. It has many permutations of the constitution that have not worked out well. There is currently a National Development Plan, which has the potential to unite South Africans around a common quest.
However, questions have to be raised pertaining to whether this reflects the will of the lowly and whether it will benefit them in the manner a messianic programme would have benefitted them. It also has to be asked whether South Africans are one around this and whether, as they did around the removal of the apartheid regime, they have started mobilising as a collective group such as the United Democratic Front of the early s. Having a preconceived idea of who or what must deliver the content led to a rejection of the vehicle that was chosen by God.
God decides on who and when. South Africans have to think deeply about the most appropriate person who can take the lowly to a level where they must be. Just as it is easy to identify a failure, so it is also easy to identify a potential saviour. However, there is always resistance — either in removing the failure or in accepting one who is fit for purpose. If South Africans expect that kairos will again work out in the form of the Kairos Document, they are making a mistake. The document was not meant to provide a blueprint for all contexts see West It addressed a particular situation and its strength is that it demystified the authority that the churches claimed to have received from above.
There were conducive conditions for this. In an adversarial situation, God clearly opted for the underdog. Do South Africans currently have an adversarial situation?
In praise of lowly, unpurposeful and random activities | Fieldguide
Is it the acute point of this that will open the eyes to the Kairos? Whilst a kairos is not of human making and can therefore not be determined by humans Speckman , , the content of a kairo s is invariably determined by human need. However, this may not be noticed or discerned in situations that lack a consensus among potential beneficiaries about the nature of the intervention on the one hand and the arrogance of the rulers on the other. Jerusalem expected a messiah that would return political power instead of one who empowered people to take charge of their destinies, and the leaders refused to accept such a programme as a framework for all.
Does this then imply that kairos was for the lowly? The reader has enough facts to decide. Regarding the South African context, there is a leaf to take if the scriptures are given some space in the development of the nascent democracy of this country. The author declares that he has no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced him in writing this article.
Chestnut, G. Cochrane, J. Crenshaw, J. Schart eds. De Gruchy, J. Draper, J. Petzer eds. Farris, S. Hancock eds. Kairos, S. Kaufmann, L.