Thursday 28 April, 2016

Luke 17:20-37

20 Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” 22 Then he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. 25 But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation. 26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed all of them 30 —it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, anyone on the housetop who has belongings in the house must not come down to take them away; and likewise anyone in the field must not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it. 34 I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left.” 37 Then they asked him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

God can’t be tricked. I’m intrigued by the two riddles presented to Jesus – one about money, one about marriage. Both get addressed by Jesus from the cosmic perspective: An emperor’s treasure can be returned to the emperor for all Jesus cares, a person’s priority should instead be focused on returning themselves to God’s possession. ‘Who belongs to who?’ and ‘What belongs to what?’ is irrelevant in the light of the reality of the perfection of eternal life in God’s unfiltered presence.

It is tempting to question Jesus’s trustworthiness sometimes – doubt rears it’s ugly head occasionally, attempting to obscure our vision of the good shepherd Jesus. I am reminded by this passage to take sides with Jesus – I am God’s valuable property and the goodness of Heaven is my ultimate destiny.

Jesus, stamp your image on me, fix heaven as the ultimate context for my life. Guard me against pettiness and doubt – I soften my heart to learn from you, to be teachable and ready for you to change me in your timing. Thank you that you are the God of life, amen.

Written by Sam Stewart

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