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Monday, 10 October 2011

Day 284: Jesus’ teaching

More on the amazing new teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus’ teaching about happiness and sorrow
Matthew 8:1, Luke 6:20-26
Treatment of enemies
Luke 6:27-36
Do not judge
Luke 6:37-42
A tree and its fruit
Luke 6:43-45
Wise and foolish builders
Luke 6:46-49
Jesus heals the centurion’s servant
Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10
He raises a widow’s son
Luke 7:11-17
Jesus commends John the Baptist
Luke 7:18-30

Luke’s version of Jesus’ long sermon (called the sermon on the plain) isn’t as well put together as Matthew’s. It reads more like a collection of sayings stuck together, than one coherent sermon. But, its message is startlingly new, even today. It’s touchy feely, in a way that none of the Old Testament prophets ever were. He talks about sadness and joy, about relationships with people, he uses humour about specks of dust in one person’s eye and a whole plank in your own. It’s a recipe for living that would be revolutionary if put into practice, but a very different kind of revolution - one free of anger.
The two healing miracles that follow show Jesus’ compassion at full force. He engages with a Roman centurion (one of the occupying enemies) as a human being. And he feels so sorry for a widow in a funeral procession - having lost her husband, she is now burying her son - that he brings the young man back to life. Even Elisha, who brought a boy back to life in the Old Testament, seemed distant to the family he was staying with - there was no obvious sign of affection. But Jesus sends his heart out to strangers.

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