Linked scenarios

18 04 2011

Having been on a little prayer detour, I’m now back to Luke.  (I have been reading his gospel, just not writing about it for a day or two…or three.)

I love the way Luke writes.  He paints scenarios which are complete in themselves and yet follow one another to build up a bigger picture.  In chapters 19 and 20 we are shown pictures which really summarise what the Good News of the Christmas angels, is all about.

Jesus approaches Jerusalem on a donkey.  Jesus has been heading for Jerusalem for some time (Luke 9:51 “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”) and the momentum increases as he rides towards the city.  My guess is that his followers feel that at last he will stop telling stories and assert his authority as Messiah.  Maybe he will overthrow the Romans and make the Kingdom that he keeps talking about a political reality.  But Jesus hasn’t read their script.  Instead of taking the city by storm, he weeps over it.  Why? “…because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.”

Temple action.   Jesus action in the Temple was to become the immediate cause of his arrest, but it was his quiet authority and teaching that rattled the religious leaders.  Listen in on the dialogue –

“They demanded, ‘By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?’

‘Let me ask you a question first,’ he replied. ‘Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?'”

Neat little side step that left the religious leaders reeling, questioning, and defeated. 

Parable of the tenant farmers.  Like all great storytellers, Jesus draws his hearers into the story; the religious leaders are no exception.  They  know that they are the wicked farmers and look for an opportunity to arrest Jesus.  It is clear that Jesus has come to Jerusalem as the son of the vineyard owner, and that he is to be rejected and killed.

Tribute to Caesar.  This next exchange is designed to lead to the handing over of Jesus to the Romans for execution, but again they are unable to trap him, in this or in the discussion about the Resurrection.  And the final picture – David’s son is David’s Lord. Quoting Psalm 110, Jesus poses the difficult question, and implies that he is the answer.  The one who comes from the dynasty and city of David, will become the true King.

Now, will people see who he is?

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