exegetical thoughts

We begin our new series about discipleship this weekend. I have been looking at Luke 14, and noticed a couple of things:
26 "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.
1. “Hate your mother and father” is of course, very rhetorical. A number of scholars mention that Hebrew has no comparative words (more than/less than) and so the translation into Greek is tough. So you must love family “less than” God becomes "hate your family. " -As if that makes it any "nicer" to next call people to take up their crosses! Elsewhere, Jesus tears into the pharisees for their valuing of religious duty, "qorban' over love for parents, so there must be something beneath the surface of this troubling verse. Oh, and Jesus seems to be more concerned with expanding the reach and ability of our love. (duh)

28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?
2.Towers. This may be so obvious you lose all faith in me. I certainly have…The imagery of building a tower is not just about architecture: it is about defense. Towers were the lookout points. A tower fortified a city and protected against attackers, and so this first image is not completely different from the war imagery that follows. They play with the same idea: evaluate whether or not you can actually defend yourself to avoid looking foolish. I am fascinated that the the second parable expands it with the call to surrender. The defenseless king must ask for terms of peace. This passage used to elicit great bravado from me. Like Peter, I counted myself eager, committed, and dangerous for the Lord.

Now, not so much. I identify with the king in immanent danger of being overrun, and the call to surrender feels somehow more true. Instead of achievement and pumping of fists, surrender of everything to Jesus seems like the only way to survive. I hear him ask me, What do you need to surrender today?

Theologically, it is fascinating
, too, because the terms of peace with the coming king (God) are both pronounced to us (mediated!) by Jesus, the one telling the parable, and it is His surrender that establishes the peace. To get all Barth-y on you for a moment, Jesus is the one in whom the demand from God comes and the response that humanity gives in him. He is the strong tower from our enemies.


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