TODAY’S READING: Luke 12–13
These two chapters in Luke are delightful in their terror. Jesus’ passion was unleashed, and we get a glimpse of the God of awe and wonder who is absolutely focused on His glory among all peoples and absolutely intolerant of any and all who do not align themselves to His passions. Gentle Jesus faded as mighty God clarified strong realities in no uncertain terms. We have self-anesthetized our reading of the Gospels and our attempted foolish taming of wild Jesus. We must discipline ourselves to read the text without censoring Christ’s ire and emotion. Here is what the text simply says uncensored:
Don’t fear the devil; fear God who can both kill you and cast you into hell (Luke 12:5). If you deny Jesus before men, He will deny you before the angels at the judgment seat (v. 9). The fool is the one who lays up riches for himself but is not rich toward God (vv. 20–21). Be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (v. 40). When the Son of Man comes, the servant who knew His Master’s will and did not prepare himself or do according to His will, shall be beaten with many stripes (v. 47). Jesus came to send fire on the earth, and He wishes it were already kindled and is distressed until it is accomplished (vv. 49–50). We all deserve towers to fall on us, and we are all going to die (13:4). If we don’t bear fruit, Jesus is going to cut us down (vv. 6 –9); why should we use up ground?
Then in a magnificent distraction, Jesus took a breath from His holy tirade and lavished compassion on a woman who was sick for eighteen years: “So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound…be loosed” (v. 16)? He then resumed His diatribe: “I do not know you… Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth…and yourselves thrust out (v. 27–28)”. And finally, He said, “Go tell that old fox Herod he can’t kill me because I am busy dying for the sins of the whole world” (v. 32).
Jesus is awesome. He takes our breath away. He just unloaded a torrent of rebuke and correction in rapid fire. Then in the midst of going ballistic, he paused to heal a woman, then He returned to yelling. And it’s all about missions! It’s a fantastic revelation of God! He is ultra-focused on His mission to redeem a remnant from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation, and He is completely intolerant and enraged against those who do not understand and who will not zealously comply with His purposes. In this vignette, we see God made flesh in the raw beauty of His primary love: all peoples of earth. And in that holy fire He warns us: If we know His will and do not align our passions with His, we will be beaten with many stripes and possibly excluded from glory. The Hadrami of Yemen will be represented in heaven with or without us.