Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Luke 13:31-35

This passage is found in the Revised Common Lectionary Year C during Lent (Most recently Feb 21, 2016)

Summary:  This passage portrays Jesus as a healer and even a hen.  This might tempt one to present a softer image of Jesus.  While Jesus does have great compassion and does show tremendous care, Jesus is not "soft."  He is casting out demons, condemning the people's heritage, standing up to power and predicting his own death.  The healing Jesus brings represents far more than a band-aid to the world, but the destruction of evil and the restoration of God's relationship with the world.

ιασεις ("iasies" meaning "to heal"; 13:32)  This word comes into English in the "iatry" family (psychiatry; podiatry), meaning to heal.  Perhaps this word can help us connect today's healing (all of the -iatries) with the work of Jesus, both then and still today.

αποτελω ("apoteloo" meaning "to complete"; 13:32).  I offer this word because it connects with the τελειομαι, the last word of the sentence.  Jesus is talking about "completing" a healing today.  We must wonder again, what kind of healing does Jesus have in mind?  What does it mean for Jesus to complete a healing?  I think about how long healing really takes for people after severe physical trauma.  Healing is often a longer process.

τελειομαι (passive perfect form of τελειοω meaning "complete"; 13:32)  Jesus here literally says, "I  have been completed on the third day."  There are many directions to unpack what Jesus means.  I would offer for this passage that Jesus' death and resurrection could be seen, in light of this passage, as a work of healing.  This healing includes purging evil from the world.  I would add further that healing often requires removal of "demons" from our lives.  This is not simply touchy feely stuff, as Jesus discussion of coming death (33) reminds us.

Aside:  This is the same verb that Jesus will utter from the cross (in John's Gospel) as he says, "It is finished."  Which brings up how to translate that passage -- perhaps better than "it is finished" is "it is perfected" or "it is fulfilled" or "it is completed."

ηθελησα/ηθελησατε (from θελω meaning "wish or will"; 13.34)  It is fascinating to see how Jesus admits that humans resist God's will.  It will require Jesus death and resurrection for this to happen.

τεκνα ("tekna" meaning "child"; 13:34)  Often we think of God's relationship with humanity in parental terms.  We can sentimentalize this relationship, ignoring the pain that parents experience over their children, both in real life and in the Bible.  God desires for us to be like children who receive his protection.
"He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler."  (NRS Psalm 91:)
I argue how Jesus here reveals that his work on the third day is a restoration of a our status as God's children.

Greek grammar tid bit: Solving for a missing word:
In both 13:32 and 33 Jesus skips a word
32: "today and tomorrow and τη τριτη ____ "
33:  "today and tomorrow and τη εχομενη _____."
Greek will often skip a word where the context is entirely clear.  In this case, they drop the word "day."  The context of the sentence should make this clear.  Another hint is that in both cases, the word "the" is in the feminine (dative), telling you a feminine noun has been dropped.  As it turns out ημερα, the word for day, is a feminine noun.  Case closed.

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