Bible Reading Day 88
Good Friday: Day 88 – Luke 6:1-26
Today, as we remember the day Jesus died, our thoughts will go back to the two accounts of that day that we have already read – in Matthew and in Mark.
In our reading through Luke we are still near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, but already the stage is set for the final showdown which is still about three years ahead.
Jesus has enemies – mostly among the religious leaders at this stage; the Romans were late, almost reluctant, conscripts to the cause of hating Jesus. Today we see the religious leaders putting more value in actions than motives. The disciples are simply snacking on some young grain as they walk through a field, but the religious leaders, always eager to make a rule (especially one that makes them look good and others look bad), declare that this is “harvesting on the Sabbath” and therefore sin. Jesus responds that the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath. “Son of Man” is a Messianic title from the Old Testament in the books of Ezekiel and Daniel. It is used a good deal in Luke’s gospel, where one of the key themes is the humanity of Jesus.
Luke has gathered more than one Sabbath episode into this section of his gospel, and the second refers to a man with a withered hand. The religious leaders watch to see if Jesus will heal him, in order that they can rule this illegal too. But again Jesus confronts them directly. “Is it lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath?” Of course the answer is straightforward – “good” – but that would require them to agree that healing the man is allowed, so instead they give no answer. Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t actually heal the man; He just asks him to hold out his hand, and as he does so the hand is healed. Once again, obedience to the instruction of Jesus releases the supernatural. And the supernatural is the fastest way to make enemies among religious people, especially leaders in religion!
Next, Jesus spends the night in discussion with His Father, and appoints the twelve apostles (sent ones). Then together they stand on a plain at the foot of the mountain where Jesus had spent the night, and Jesus begins to teach. Luke records the core of Jesus’ teaching in the next chapters. Jesus begins with the blessings and the sorrows. Some of these are surprising if you stop to reflect on them. Why is it a blessing to be poor? Or weep? Or be persecuted? And why does sorrow await the rich, the fat and prosperous, those who laugh, and those who are praised?
With the benefit of knowing about Good Friday, we may understand now what Jesus was saying. But to those hearing on that plain, the teaching must have seemed upside down! So what in your life seems hard or unfair? Is it maybe God’s blessing in disguise? Or if life is good for you, how does that look to God? And what might God be asking of you in response to all you have?
May God bless us as we remember Jesus’ great sacrifice today. Please join us tonight at the Riverfront Park in Conway at 6pm for Stations of the Cross with all the Conway churches.
Have a great day!
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