St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
Lecture Series Led By Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Luke, Session 4:
The Journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51 – 19:28), part one (9:51 – 14:35)
9:51-62 The beginning of the journey to Jerusalem and the nature of the call to follow —
This extended narrative (9:51 – 19:28) is not a geographical journey, but a literary creation. It make no sense from a geographical point of view. It encompasses multiple aspects of Jesus’ teachings and takes its time doing so. If we look at its beginning, 9:51-62, we would expect a Markan-type of urgency to drive the story forward directly to its conclusion. That doesn’t happen. On the journey, Jesus takes many “side-trips” to spend time teaching, to have dinner with friends etc.
9:51, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” The entire narrative of these chapters is set within the literary framework of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. Lk reminds us of that setting multiple times (13:22, 17:11, 18:31, 19:11). The term “set his face” is reminiscent of Is 50:7, “I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near.” It connotes, therefore, a sense of opposition that Jesus will face.
52-56 – Jesus’ baptism and transfiguration are parallel scenes. Just as he was rejected at Nazareth following his baptism, so is he now rejected in Samaria following his transfiguration.
57-62 – These sayings are set in a threefold literary pattern: “I will follow… Follow me… I will follow…” that spell-out the earlier “take up your cross and follow me.”
10:1-24, the mission of the 70 – The scene is an expansion of the mission of the 12 from chapter 9. It is unique to Lk.
1-12, the instruction and sending out of the 70 – Their mission prefigures the sending out to all nations in Acts. Their commission, like that of the 12, is to announce the good news and to heal the sick. They are to eat what is set before them; this probably is intended to address the eating controversies in Acts, as those sent out work among the Gentiles. The role of the 70 is not to judge, but simply to announce the good news, to heal the sick, and then to move on.
13-16,woes to those who do not repent – This is a strange location for these sayings: here in a commissioning address.
17-20, the return of the 70 — As he did with the mission of the 12, so Lk inserts some material between the sending out and the coming back. The 70 rejoice in the work of God through them. This is another note of encouragement to later Christians, and prefigures the missionary successes in Acts. At the same time, Jesus warns his messengers not to rejoice in their “powers” and successes but in the Holy Spirit.
21-24, Jesus’ prayer of rejoicing in the Spirit and a benediction – These verses conclude the mission of the 70 with a doxology.
10:25-42, two stories about hearing and not hearing – Lk presents us with two people who are not really hearing Jesus’ message: a lawyer and Martha. There situations are different, and so are Jesus’ responses. To one he says, “Go and do,” and to the other, “sit down and listen.”
In the parable of “the Good Samaritan”, Jesus uses the familiar three-fold literary pattern and seeks to open the lawyer’s eyes to a wider perception of God’s embrace and to a wider perception of who God’s people are.
In vs. 39, Mary is described as sitting at Jesus’ feet, something that rabbis would not allow. Jesus’ mission includes women, both among those who are called to hear and among those who are called to learn and to carry out the work of the gospel.
11:1-13, teachings on prayer – Lk’s version of the Lord’s Prayer (2-4) is shorter than the more “liturgically extended” (Craddock, p. 153) form of Mt 6:9-13.
è Compare Mt 6:9-13, Lk 11:2-4, and Didache 8:4-9.
5-13: encouragement to prayer and to confidence that God will hear our prayer
11:14 – 12:1, conflicts and controversies – 11:53-54 summarize the effects of the growing conflict with the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus responds in 12:1 by warning the ever-growing crowds about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
12:2 – 13:9, exhortations and warnings – Jesus’ audience here was in “the thousands” (12:1).
12:2-12 – Jesus looks toward the coming of the kingdom in all its fullness and toward the truth that will be revealed; and he insists that his followers live in that truth now. That means acknowledging ourselves as his disciples and “commending the faith that is in us.”
12:13-34 – “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (15); the lilies of the field; (32) “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
12:35-48, be prepared and faithful
12:49-59 – The images of baptism and fire help tie together multiple saying from different occasions.
13:1-9, a call to repentance — Jesus does not answer their question about blame, or about chance. Instead he brings their attention back to his call to repentance.
13:10-35, growing conflicts and teachings about the kingdom –
13:10-17, a healing on the Sabbath – The opposition grows, while the crowds are rejoicing at his words and deeds. The synagogue was the focus of the very heart of Judaism and, for some even more than others, of observance of the law.
13:18-21, parables of the kingdom – “It is like…” Both of these parables speak of the kingdom coming through small things, just as the woman in the synagogue was freed from a terrible disability by a small act of Jesus.
22-30 – Lk begins by reminding his readers that Jesus was going “through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem.” Lk collects multiple sayings of Jesus into this one location (Mt has parts of them in six different places.). The kingdom is open to all, but the requirements are demanding.
30: “Indeed, some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.” This is a floating saying that appears also at Mk 10:31; Mt 19:30 and 20:16 at the conclusion of other groups of sayings.
13:31-35, a warning about Herod Antipas and a lament over Jerusalem
14:1-24, four events taking place at table in the house of a Pharisee
1-6, another healing on a Sabbath
7-11, a message to the guests – Jesus’ point, obviously, is not to provide another way of getting oneself some honor, but a call to humility. It is more than just an etiquette lesson, as can be seen by Lk calling it a “parable”: i.e. it is a lesson about the kingdom. The final verse is repeated in Lk 18:14, which concludes the parable of two men going up for prayer.
12-14, a message to the hosts – Invitations are to be, not means of gaining control over others and winning the favor of those who can benefit you in some way, but inclusive of those who cannot repay you. Jesus does not call upon his disciples just to provide for the poor, keeping them at a distance; he calls upon them to invite the poor to dinner, to sit down with them as equals, fellow members of the kingdom of God.
15-42, the parable of the banquet
14:25-35, teachings about discipleship – These verses are a mixed collection of sayings. They begin with a break (25) from the previous setting, and have Jesus addressing “large crowds”. These are apparently supportive and even enthusiastic crowds. The overarching message seems to be: “think very seriously about what you are doing in following me and consider whether you really want to do this.”