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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Luke 12:1-12: Battle lines

Chapter 11 was a bumpy ride. It started well, with some lovely teaching about prayer, but descended into acrimony worthy of an American presidential nomination campaign.

As Jesus emerges from the controversy, and seems poised to embark on another teaching session with thousands of eager followers, he first takes a minute or two to give his disciples some warnings.

Watch out for those pharisees, he tells them. They rely on secrecy, but they don't realise that secrecy is a thing of the past. Everything is going to be laid bare, so don't adopt their tactics.

Then he offers them a word of comfort and encouragement. At least, I think that's what it is, but it's a very backhanded piece of encouragement. Don't be afraid of thugs - the worst they can do is kill you.

Well thanks Jesus, that sounds pretty bad.

Wait a minute, I haven't finished yet - be afraid of the one who can do worse to you than that - he doesn't just hold your life in his hands, he can destroy your eternal soul as well. Fear God, and then you will have nothing to fear.

This is a pep talk. This is a battle talk. He's hinting that he and his closest followers are on a collision course with the powers that be. He's telling them that if they are faithful, they needn't worry, God will be on their side.

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