Monday, March 19, 2012

Luke 7

Jesus Heals a Centurion's Servant

A centurion had a sick servant. He asked Jesus to heal him. He didn't talk to Jesus directly, but used intermediaries to not bother Jesus too much. Jesus said he had great faith and the servant was healed.

There was a lot of detail here about the centurion sending people to talk to Jesus, and then sending another group of servants to talk to Jesus when he was on his way. I think I missed the point of all of that, I feel like I am missing something because there were a lot of details that seemed unimportant to me. My best guess is  that it is showing the Centurion to be a big shot and he is still asking Jesus for help.  I'm curious if anyone has any other insight here.

Jesus Raises a Widow's Son

Jesus and he followers went to the town of Nain and saw a widow mourning the loss of her only son. The son's body was being carried out. Jesus had compassion for the woman and brought the son back to life. "Fear seized them all, and they glorified God". Word of what Jesus did spread to the surrounding country.

Here's another place where people see what Jesus did and they respond with fear. Initially it seems odd to me that people would be afraid. According to the passage Jesus is just being a good guy helping out a widow. Why be afraid of some benevolent guy. On the other hand, if I saw someone bring a dead person back to life I would probably be afraid too (well I would be skeptical about what was going on, but if I really believed it I can imagine being afraid). No matter how nice and friendly the person seemed, I could imagine being afraid of such power.

It seems strange to me to be afraid of someone and to glorify them at the same time, but I guess it does make sense. Don't really think I am making a point here, I just think it is interesting.

Messengers from John the Baptist

Disciples of John told him about the things Jesus was doing, so he sent some guys to talk to Jesus. While they were with Jesus, he did a bunch of healing and such and told them to report back to John. They asked if he is the one to come or if they should look for another and he answered in an evasive manner. John's guys leave Jesus and go back to John to report.

After they left Jesus addresses the crowd and preaches. He says that among "those born of women" no one is greater than John, but in the kingdom of God the least will be better than John. The people listening liked the message if they were baptized by John and they don't like it if they were not.

I don't understand why Jesus was evasive when asked if he is the "the one to come". He basically said "look at what I can do". But in the "abomination of desolation" sections, Jesus basically says that many people can perform the same miracles as he can. Isn't the point of that whole thing that you can't simply look at the miracles and conclude that the guy is the real deal? So why does he offer that same thing up here as evidence? I'm not sure I completely understand the abomination of desolation passages that well, so I might just be missing something, but it seems to be a discrepancy to me.

A Sinful Woman Forgiven

Jesus is invited to eat at the house of a Pharisee. A woman who was a sinner learned Jesus was there and went to him with some oil and started anointing his feet. She cried on his feet and wiped it away with her hair. Simon says if Jesus knew the woman's sins he wouldn't let her touch him. Jesus says to imagine there is a guy who owes you 500 denari and another who owes you 50. If you forgive both debts the one with the larger will love you more. In the same way, he says she has great sins but also great faith and forgives the sins. Everyone is amazed that he is saying he forgives sins.

It is kind of an interesting thing here, what is a sin and what does it mean to forgive it? A sin is supposed to be an offense to God right? What does it mean that a sin has been forgiven? God is no longer offended? How does your sins being forgiven affect your life?

For example, if I stole money from you I would have offended God and taken wealth from you. If God then forgives my sins that has no bearing on you unless I also give the money back. Does it matter if my sins are forgiven? (I'm afraid this is going to read like I am just being a dick but I am trying to ask an honest question, I'm just having trouble phrasing it well. I wish it was easier to convey tone through text)


  1. Jesus Heals a Centurion's Servant. I think you might have a point here about him being a big shot. I think that since he is a centurian, he isn't really one of the people that would listen to Jesus. I think it might be another one of those “this guy was pretty humble. Be like him.” It's also a little different from the account we read in Matthew. In Matthew he actually went and asked Jesus himself. Here, if I am reading it right he sends his servent to ask.;matthew+8:5-8

    Jesus Raises a Widow's Son. While this sounds impressive, its not unusual for something like this to happen. My younger brother was pronounced dead after drowning in my Grandfather's pond, but “came back to life.” It was even in the paper. I don't remember it because I was too young, but I am sure it was a really scary day for our parents. With the fear thing, I decided to look up different translations. Some use the word “awe.” I've taken three different languages (one I'm awful at, one I used living a year abroad, and one I can get by on) but some words never quite translate perfectly into English. You can convey the meaning and talk about it, but some words you just have to settle for the closest thing you can think of. This is one of the most frustrating things about talking with someone else about scripture. You have to find out what version they have and then talk about the translation in that bible vs the one you might have if they are different. “Well my bible doesn't say that. My bible says (this)”

    I think you bring up a good point about the “look what I can do” comment. Other places, he says to ignore the signs of fake prophets, but doesn't make the distinction that let's you know which miracles are the real deal and which of those are of charlatans.

    The Sinful woman. I think I get what you are trying to convey. Is what you are referring too restitution? Like its one thing to offend God's rules and almost another when you hurt someone in the process? If so, it think you have a good point. It would be more benevolent of God to also require you to make restitution for a crime. If out of anger I hurt you or a family member, I should compensate you and find a way to make it up to you I suppose, such as paying your medical bills and maybe financially. If I just apologized to the court and said “sorry, my bad,” I could still be forgiven in the legal sense, but you'd still be hurt. Me and a friend of mine, were hit by an uninsured driver a few years back that showed a fake proof of insurance. A month later, when the insurance company said that it lapsed and we had to foot the bill. We went to the police to see if we could get restitution, ie have him pay for the medical bills he incurred on us. Unfortunately, since no crime was committed, this did not happen. We also called him later and he said he didn't have money, despite his really big homes. Luckily I found out later that I was still covered under an old policy. My point here is that I really wanted to let “bygones be bygones” and just have him take care of the financial mess he made. Accidents do happen. In California state law, if someone hurts you with a violent crime they are required to pay restitution or medical bills, which I think is a really good policy. Now, I'm just rambling.

  2. interesting that in one story the centurion sends a servant and in the other the centurion goes himself. Although I think I would give this one a pass. I could easily see a particular writer of the time not really thinking of the servant as a person and so thinking of sending the servant vs the guy going himself as the same thing. This seems to me like one of those legitimate 2 different perspectives on the same event.

    fear vs. awe: that is interesting. You make a good point that sometimes you can't translate so easy. I think I will try to replace fear with awe when it is confusing and see if it makes more sense that way. I'll try to remember this, although I might forget as time goes on.

    As far as arguing scripture and dealing with translation things, I generally am ready to give the benefit of the doubt to them, I figure if a translation issue is really potentially the problem it means I am arguing to fine a point. There are plenty of issues that translation won't fix and I figure we might as well focus on that. People who actually know what they are talking about with translations can destroy people arguing that way, but it's not for me.

    It's not a crime to give fake insurance info? How can he not be legally required to pay for your injuries? insane

  3. You do bring up a good point about the servant. I do however think this would have been a great time to make a comment about slavery.

    And true again about the translation. It does get rough when I point to something and someone says, "the bible doesn't say that." But thanks for introducing me to It's a big help. If something sounds crazy, I try to look up comparisons in translations before posting. Still reminds me about when books were hand written. Some errors will occur, I'm sure most are due to accident, but others are because of a motive of the transcriber.

  4. yeah, I suppose it would have been good to bring up slavery, I don't really fault him for not doing it here though, gotta pick your battles and pick your moments and such. Although in the broader context, it should have been brought up somewhere (my understanding is it never is) and here would have been a fine place.

    I thought I saw biblestudytools from you. I guess one of us googled it and linked it here and we both thought the other one knew about it first.


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