May 07, 2012

Luke 17.1-4

And he said to his disciples, "Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to him by whom they come. It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.

"Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him. And if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in one day, and turns to you seven times, and says, 'I repent', you must forgive him."


At 8:30 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

On the surface, this looks like no-brainer stuff. Leading one's brother (sister!?) into "sin" would be a bad thing; you'd be sorry, real sorry!

But what does this "sin" look like? An unsanitary excursion into the bushes?

Within the overall theme that Wright has been developing about Jesus' historical role and purposes: The Pharisees and other religious leaders have been entrusted with stewardship of the nation and its people; and the bulk of what Jesus has been saying so far has applied to where they've fallen short of their responsibilities. No one else is in a position to offer serious "temptation." So what are their sins? Reading worldly status and wealth as signs of God's favor. Blaming the poor, as "sinners" aka "debtors", for falling victim to other people's personal greed and their own religious exactions. And sanctifying chauvinistic religiously-motivated violence. "Everyone tries to bring [the Reign of God] by force." A key element of Jesus' assignment will be to prophesy concerning the disaster to be expected if such efforts continue.

Addressed "to his disciples", because? Some nicknames (esp 'Judas the Knife'? Iscariot == 'Sicari' ~= 'daggermen': a group we find mentioned in later history, involved in religio-political assasinations...) suggest that some of Jesus' disciples have come from resistance organizations... and Judas (if he is not a legend) is the one who eventually betrays Jesus. For money? Not likely. Failing to see what Jesus is truly about, it would be in character for Judas to have felt betrayed, to be willing to reciprocate.

Again, to his disciples: Keep each other out of trouble, warn each other if you see lapses-- and forgive as soon, and as readily, as each warning has served its purpose.

But here, I'm guessing, the "sins" involved are violations of what Buddhists call The Percepts. Backbiting, gossip. Destructive rivalries. Practices that can cripple or destroy an organization...


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