Lenten Reading Challenge: Luke 12-18
• When and Where
As I said earlier, I am intrigued by but not entirely sold on this late dating for Luke/Acts. Borg says the growing movement for this later date has several foundations.
One, some scholars argue that Luke knew the works of Jewish historian named Josephus who wrote in the 90’s. More importantly for Borg, he says to consider the language about “the Jews” and the synagogues here. They are almost generic terms, but the style lacks the anger and divisiveness found in Matthew and John. This suggests the split between Judaism and what is now Christianity was nearly complete and something to be looked back on as a given rather than fiercely debated. Whereas Matthew and John were engaged in a struggle to define post-Temple faith – Luke/Acts sets out to chronicle the birth and spread of a new faith tradition, one now essentially separate from the Judaism of its earliest figures.
• Key Insights
So many rich and vibrant passages here. Note the continuing emphasis on inclusion of outcasts.
Wesley Study Bible Life Application Topic: A Fruitful Life
“There are many who testify to a before and after in their lives. Gods grace chased them until their lives blossomed with peace, justice, hope, caring, and humility. In Jesus story of the fig tree, the gardener offers to put fertilizer (natural fertilizer!) around the barren tree (13: 8). Growth comes because the gardener works at it. Wesley believed that God finds ways to nurture and mature us into the fullness of love. These means of grace (Scripture, prayer, worship, fasting, Lords Supper, holy conferencing, acts of mercy) become ways by which God nourishes us toward fruitful living: full love of God and full love of neighbor.”
• Big Picture Wesleyan Core Term: Spiritual Sight
“Can we see the kingdom of God? Wesley says Gods kingdom does not come with such outward pomp as draws the observation of everyone (Notes, 17: 20). Yet we can see evidence of Gods reign,Wesley taught. One of his favorite verses was Rom 14: 17, For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Real Christians exhibit righteousness and justice, peace, and joy—true kingdom signs. Luke 17: 21 can mean the kingdom of God is within or among you. Wesley combined the two—the kingdom is within you as part of Christian experience through the Holy Spirit, and also among you (plural), especially in authentic Christian community. So Gods reign is visible. With time the kingdom will be increasingly visible as Gods grace works through Christians lives. Gods Spirit enables Christians to see what others don’t. We see things not through worldly eyes but through faith and in hope of the coming kingdom.”
Blessings on your reading!