August 04, 2011

Luke 7.24-28

After John's messengers had left, Jesus began to speak about him to the crowds: "What was the spectacle that drew you to the wilderness?" A reed-bed swept by the wind? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man dressed in silks and satins? Surely you must look in palaces for grand clothes and luxury.

"But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes indeed, and far more than a prophet. He is the man of whom Scripture says,

     'Here is my herald, whom I send on ahead of you,
     and he will prepare your way before you.'

"I tell you, there is not a mother's son greater than John, and yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

4 Comments:

At 12:11 PM, Blogger forrest said...

Wikipedia sayeth: "The coinage of Herod Antipas was minted in four denominations, with the inscription 'ΤΙΒΕΡΙΆC' on the reverse within a wreath. The obverse has the Greek inscription "Herod the Tetrarch" (ΗΡωΔΌΎ ΤΕΤΡΆΡΧΌΎ) with an upright palm branch.[6] A variant type depicted an upright reed."

In "http://books.google.com/books?id=Zkla5Gl_66oC&pg=PA407&lpg=PA407&dq=reed+symbol+herod+agrippa&source=bl&ots=o24jLQUcy9&sig=1rvzFjK8YCF2Zcenf8DaPfjbFe8&hl=en&ei=pXM9Tq-HMonWiAK_gpzDBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&sqi=2&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=reed%20symbol%20herod%20agrippa&f=false "

: ~"The earliest bronzes of his reign bear the image of a reed, a symbol of the city (Tiberias) recently founded by him."

----

Anyway, this is about a kingdom in "this world," though not the sort of kingdom we normally get.

But John hasn't made it. How come?

This kingdom John hasn't made it into is the new, improved version of Israel. And somehow John is still stuck in the old Israel's viewpoint. What's the difference?

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger Random Arrow said...

This was another of Jesus’s lies, that is, the lies that Jesus tells children. See my favorite gospel, the pompous and arrogant. Gospel of John – “His disciples said, ‘Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech’" (John 16:29). In other words, Jesus here (Luke 7.24-28) is lying in figures of speech about John the Baptist. We are never more like John the Baptist, nor superior to John in insight, than when we too ask – “are you the One or do we look for another?” Or when we are honest about it. What Jesus is saying about John the Baptist is that John will die before John gets to – see – the death and ‘resurrection’ (however you style ‘resurrection’). John may have seen ‘it’ before John died his own death – privately in the Spirit/spirit – we don’t know.

I can relate better to John the Baptist (the synoptic gospels version) better than I can relate to Jesus (the synoptic gospels versions). So I am in no position to say whether Jesus is lying here about John (lies we tell children) or whether I am lying here about Jesus.

The coinage stuff about Herod Antipas does confuse me. No matter what kind of head was on the coins – the head of John the Baptist on a platter is the coinage that sticks with me. ~ Jim

 
At 9:00 PM, Blogger forrest said...

Wrong book for head-on-a-platter. That's about JB's denouncing Herod's family politics-- Herod divorcing his own wife, asking his brother to divorce his, marrying his brother's ex. Which was intended to give Herod descendants in the Maccabee line, which he hoped would lead to popularity among his Jewish subjects, if not for himself, then for his anticipated sons. This did not work out very well, given that Herod Antipas ("safer to be Herod's pig than his son", according to his long-time buddy Augustus) had fatal suspicions of most of his family at one time or another. Such a remarriage was unfortunately forbidden by the Torah. as John had all-too-publicly insisted.

Maybe John is easier to understand. His baptism says, loudly to a 1st Century ear: This is a way you can be part of Israel when God resurrects it, ie brings it out of its condition of slavery to pagan foreigners, restores it to divine favor, makes His own rule explicitly visible.

He says to his hearers: "Do right, share what you can spare with your needy brothers, and you'll come out okay when God acts."

Jesus has been out preaching: ~'God is acting, restoring His visible, palpable rule over Israel, and I am His agent in this."

"Death and resurrection" here is national, the restoration of that old violated agreement with Moses, on a new basis. It's not about a personal afterlife-- although the Book of Daniel did offer that to Jews who died defending God's Torah, as the Pharisees also taught. So far as it's personal, it's about life in the Age to Come, when the Kingdom is established.

John wants to see that happen; but whatever Jesus is doing is not what John had expected. And whatever insight Jesus has found, as to what kind of kingdom, and how to facilitate its manifestation-- whatever basis underlies Jesus' practice here-- has not occurred to John.

 
At 9:36 PM, Blogger Random Arrow said...

Excellent

 

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