September 19, 2011

Luke 9.18-22

One day when he was praying alone in the presence of his disciples, he asked them, "Who do the people say I am?"

They answered, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, others say that one of the old prophets has come back to life."

"And you," he said, "Who do you say I am?"

Peter answered, "God's Messiah."

Then he gave them strict orders not to tell this to anyone. And he said, "The son of Adam has to undergo great sufferings, and to be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and doctors of the Torah, to be put to death and to be raised again on the third day."


At 2:28 p.m., Blogger Random Arrow said...

One day when he was praying alone in the presence of his disciples, he asked them, "Who do they say I am?"

Rich imagery – praying alone in the presence of. Reminds me of what posted here previously about Gaskin on God thinking out loud. In the presence of.

Is Jesus asking the disciples here to answer in the form of an apology to a rabid conscience? Who do ‘they’ say I am? Does Jesus really care what ‘they’ say? Is Jesus asking the disciples to confess their own ‘rabid’ confusion because the disciples can’t square what ‘they (out there)’ say with what the disciples feel inwardly? Isn’t it interesting that the disciples repeat social memes, ‘some say,’ and ‘some others say’? What’s the difference between the disciples repeating social memes heard across the public (awaiting the Messiah) compared to the disciples repeating the social memes that really, really sting and hurt deep down? – sting because these particular social memes (‘some say’ and ‘others say’) are embedded down deep in a ‘psi’ place connected to social life that’s hurting and aching for individual and personal answers?

Peter answers. And Jesus immediately corrects and elaborates Peter’s answer. Peer review hurts.

“.. and to be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and doctors of the Torah, to be put to death ..”

Ouch. Open puzzle for me. John’s gospel gets blamed for anti-Semitism. Fair enough. Pompous as John is. Peirce thinks that the John of Revelation is insane with pain and hatred. Not reliable. Luke here indicts the elders, chief priests, and doctors of the Torah. It’s impossible for me – impossible – so far to learn how to strip away the anti-Semitic parts of the gospels (which I do hate – if hate’s not too strong a word) and to keep the story intact. NT Wright is helpful in recovering Second Temple stuff. It leads inevitably to the story line, ‘the Jews rejected the Messiah.’ It’s not that Herod is any better in his sniffing around for fresh meat. This is painful stuff.

At 5:19 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

Man, you don't leave anything out! (& so maybe I leave too much of what comes in my life separate, when it all really belongs together!?)

Another piece of it?-- Someone on a yogic site recently saying that the local psychic energy level was being turned up soon, that getting 'enlightened' on this Earth would become easier than it used to be. & I've been thinking of the introduction of 'psychedelics', how easy it was to get "more energy than one human being could handle." The obvious solution being, not to "handle" it, but to take one's tour of the Garden, pay attention, come back with a little new perspective. A lot of the time I just "freaked".

If we should be due for some new manifestation of the Spirit-- (and I would say we're likely past overdue!)-- then some people could experience serious discombobulation. Specifically, the same sort of people who are depicted here as rejecting Jesus. He scares them; he undercuts their certainties. (He's too much! We want to hang him up so God doesn't strike us dead or something!)

Everyone Jesus is talking to here is "a Jew." It's the "people with their act together", as seen in this milieu, who are going to want to do him in.

Even his disciples here are measuring Jesus for a big white horse, armor, a sword for smiting the goyim. One reason for "not telling" is that this role is dangerous. Another is that this is not what God has in mind. We are not getting a rerun of Maccabees; been there done that! God is for no oppression-- no more Roman oppression, no more oppression by Jewish overlords either.

And Jesus is going to have to get through this somehow. Not "alive," because they're going to "put him to death." Not dead, because he's going to be raised! "What kind of crazy talk is this?" they wonder.

Well, what kind of crazy talk is it? One day at Pendle Hill, around Easter, Anne starts wondering: "What if he really did come back from death?"

At 7:37 p.m., Blogger Random Arrow said...

Hehe. Sorry about the million-and-one questions. Puzzling out loud! I’ll use disclaimers – “question alert, million questions coming. No need to answer any of them. Jump on the ones that start a fire.”

Great story on the psychic energy.

Even better riff on why not tell. Dangerous. And spare us eternal reruns of Maccabees.

Exactly on the resurrection. My ultra-naive take is this. All the way back to my adolescent first encounter. I’m reading along in John. I didn’t look for John. Didn’t know the difference between John and any other gospel. Nor know the difference between Old and New. The old and dusty bible just fell open to John. Just opened there. Boom. I already noted how I wondered if Jesus might still be hanging around somewhere. Be cool to find him. I came to the parts about how Jesus will go away. And the Spirit will come. So when the Spirit came to me, the ‘resurrection’ of Jesus wasn’t a big issue. Jesus already said I wouldn’t find him if I went looking! Nowhere to be found!

Why bother with a ‘quest for the historical Jesus’ when the so-called historical Jesus said, “don’t come looking!”?

Just my ultra-naive perspective.

Albert Schweitzer’s interesting for intellectual history.

At 10:51 a.m., Blogger forrest said...

Maybe you should start posting from John? I bogged down posting it myself, but could probably find something to comment from my naive cynicism?

One thing about the animosity in John... The later comments in luke 7.36 were bringing out how intensely certain people in leadership positions did hate him-- or at least everything he stood for.

One of the pieces I really did like in it was what you just mentioned: Jesus saying that if he didn't go away, "the Spirit" couldn't come. Which I see as, it would be there, as always, but they would go on looking for it outside themselves.

What the historical Jesus is quoted as saying was not: ~'Pay no attention to this man and his words' (which I'd consider an implication of dumping hJ.) He was saying not to go out of your way seeking out 'the Messiah' in charismatic leaders and remarkable events. The end of the age would come when God got around to it, not from human fuss...


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