Gracious Lord, I thank You for the gift of this new day, May my living of it honor You.
Read Luke 9:1-9
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Prophets tend to see things in stark terms. They can make us uncomfortable, but we need such voices still” (Tim Meadowcroft).
Luke presents in part today what his writings lay out as a whole: everything the disciples witnessed Jesus doing on the road to Jerusalem, Jesus sends them out to do, from Galilee to the ends of the world (10:1; 24:46-48; Acts 1:8). Jesus’ delegation of divine authority (1; c.f. 3:22), his integration of moral, physiological and social liberations within his spiritual commission (1,2; c.f. 4:18,21), and the alternative economic arrangements he stipulates for undertaking mission (3,4) result in spontaneous good-news events breaking out all over Galilee. This disturbs Herod Antipas (7). Like his father, Herod the Great, Antipas feared Jewish Messianic fervor (7,8) and quelled prophetic voices critical of his government; hence his imprisonment and execution of John (9). Luke portrays Herod’s resolution to silence Jesus as just one reaction to the threat he posed.
How does Jesus’ good news address injustice today? During the 1980s I was drafted into the army and faced a dilemma: “Would Jesus go to war against his fellow countrymen, and should I?” Later, I wrestled with a similar question: “What does it mean to follow Jesus in apartheid South Africa today?” Gradually I decided that conscientious objection would be part of my answer to these questions (though they might not necessarily be yours). I had discovered what Luke presents to us today: God is equally concerned to bring about moral, personal, social, economic, political and environmental restoration through the spiritual freedom he proclaims in Jesus Christ. Living a missional life in these times requires a congruency between Jesus’ message and the way his messengers live it. The pattern of prophets, martyrs and the Lord Jesus Christ is ours to follow in simple faith.
What do these words say to you? “He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me? declares the Lord” (Jer. 22:16).
Father, I know the rugged individualism of our culture affects me. I pray for a sensitive heart toward the disadvantaged and marginalized, and for opportunities to serve them.