Tag Archives: Luke

IF Angels

If, like its cousin while, is also a complex logical construct.  It suggests a possibility and asks (or tells) what will happen if the possibility becomes reality.  If does not deal in probability, only possibility and reality.  It is also a construct subject to analysis by Boolean methods (evaluating as true or false) and therefore extremely useful in computer programming.

It is also useful in planning  for contingencies, and it is the core of at least one entire industry.  What if you run into another car while driving?  What if you get sick or hurt?  What if there is a hail storm or your house catches fire?  What would happen to my family if I died?  What happens if my tree falls on my neighbor’s car?  You get the point?

So ubiquitous is IF that we don’t even catch ourselves using it.  Can I still retire if the markets tank?  What if I won the lottery?  What if Baylor wins the Big XII football title? (Oh snap, they did.)  Everything we plan and most of what we think about involves an if.

But here’s one you might not think about all that often.  What if God or one of His angels, showed up for a word with us?

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Prophecy, When We Least Expect It

During this advent season I’d like to use some traditional but underused themes for the Sunday’s of the season.  Traditionally the Days (and their corresponding candles) have been named for Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy.  But there is also an additional traditional name for each day and candle — Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherds, and Angels.  It is this other usage I intend to be following this year. We will also be linking our discussion to specific people from scripture.  And our first discussion is Prophecy and its role in our lives as taught by Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist.

Expectations are funny things aren’t they?  They totally shape how we respond to what happens in our lives.  An event can be either good or bad, life changing or ho hum depending on our expectations.  Prophecy, biblical prophecy, is all about God setting our expectations.  A baby born to peasants in a cattle stall in the middle of nowhere is not an earth changing event.   Unless you’re expecting it to be the Son of God in which case it is an earth changing event in every sense.

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Shameless Audacity

αναιδειαν  is the Greek word we are focusing on today, its usually transliterated as anaideia and pronounced an-ah’ee-die-ah.  Thayer and the the NIV translate it as shamelessness or impudence, or even shameless impudence or audacity.

Americans today know about shamelessness, audacity and impudence.  We see it in our politicians who lie to our faces; who say one thing and do another.  In athletes who’s on field heroics are exceeded only by their lack of discipline off the field.  In our entertainers who live lives of immorality that beggars the imagination and then have the temerity to lecture us on how we should live.  Oh yes, we of all people should be able to recognize shamelessness when we see it.

So when Jesus tells us it should be our practice to act with shameless audacity, how do we respond?  I think we are caught aback and, mostly, don’t know what to do.

We are looking at Luke 11:1-13.  These are wildly famous verses, many of them well know in the culture at large and not just among Christians and they contain the heart of Jesus’ teaching on prayer.  In context the verses start with Jesus praying and his disciples asking him to teach them to pray.

Implicit in that request, at least to me, is the request for Jesus to teach the disciples to pray as he does and with the results he gets.  In response he gives us what is usually called the Lord’s prayer.  I like Luke’s version.  Its short, its emphatic, it is not quiet and imploring, it is intimate and familiar.

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Facepalm–Disciple Edition

One of the most enduring web memes (if such things can be said to endure) is the facepalm.  I know its not really a word but for those of you who don’t know what it is Captain Picard demonstrates below.


Since it is sometimes possible to do something so foolish that a simple facepalm is an insufficient response, Captain Picard and Commander Riker demonstrate the rare double-facepalm.


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A Day in the Hood

People, including me, often say they would love to have been with Jesus and learned from Him while He was on Earth, to walk and talk with Him and to ask questions.  I’m not sure any of the people who asked Jesus questions ever got an answer they could feel good about.  Not even the disciples and especially not the lawyer who is questioning Jesus in today’s text.

Our text, Luke 10:25-37, features the last parable in our three session series on parables of forgiveness and love; the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

There really is no immediate context for the parable.  It sits, a seeming non-sequitur, sandwiched between Jesus’ sending out the 72 and the scene at Martha and Mary’s house where Martha complains about working while Mary sits.  Its only setting is “On one occasion” suggesting it is not related to any event in the text around it.

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The Faith Forgiveness Takes

Have you been in a position where you just couldn’t catch a break?  You were damned if you did and damned if you didn’t?  Jesus spent His whole life like that.  The religious establishment had condemned John the Baptist and said he was crazy for the lifestyle he lived (locusts, honey, camelhair, etc.).  Then Jesus came and did not eschew comforts and hung out with people they didn’t like and they railed against Him as a libertine. 

In Luke 7:33, just before our focal passage, Jesus says,

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’

So, having been called a drunkard, glutton and friend of tax collectors (that was really the worst) by the religious establishment, He accepts an invitation to dine from one of those worthies.  One might logically expect that, having now agreed to dine with the “right” crowd, he would be invited with open arms.

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Luke, a Place in History

At last we come to the most popular (at least in the present day United States) account of Jesus’ birth. This is perhaps because it is more accessible to us as Westerners because of its fully chronological style and reason for existing.

Just like the other authors Luke tells us upfront why he is writing his account.  In 1:3-4 he says “…I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

Several questions pop immediately to the fore; were the other accounts disorderly and who the heck is Thophilus?  Both of those questions go to the heart of the really big question which is: Why was Luke writing?  And the answer here is, we’re not really sure.

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