Tag Archives: Luke 10

Middle of Nowhere

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
Luke 10:21 (NIV)

While we were away for the holidays, things really began to heat up back home in Iowa. We’re weeks away from the Iowa caucuses which are the first test on the road to political conventions for the Presidential candidates. Most Iowans can randomly spit in the air right now and risk hitting a Presidential candidate. The number of ads for Presidential candidates that we’re seeing on television right now is crazy. We go through this every four years.

Along with the candidates, we also get the press. Reporters from New York and Washington D.C. make their trek to the cornfields of Iowa. It’s usually the only time you’ll see a major reporter’s by-line read Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, or Sioux City.

During our U.K. sojourn, I read in multiple outlets a story of the host of NBC’s Meet the Press who went out of his way to disparage those who believe God’s Message as individuals who reject logic and believe in fairy tales; people who like to be lied to and are unwilling to accept “hard truths.”

Wow. I was glad to read that his fellow journalists distanced themselves from painting a large percentage of Americans with such a disparaging broad brush of generalization. Nevertheless, it’s a reminder that there are individuals who

In today’s chapter, Jesus is continuing his miraculous mystery tour of towns along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. His ministry is expanding. He sends out 72 followers in pairs as advance teams to the towns He’s planning on visiting. There are still small towns, like the little hamlet of Chorizin, who want nothing to do with Him. But the crowds are growing and word is spreading.

But here is the thing. Jesus has launched His ministry in the backwaters of the region. Everyone knows that Jerusalem is where it’s at. Everyone who is anyone knows that if you want to make a name for yourself you have to do it in Jerusalem. If you want to be big in the theatre you have to be in New York. If you want to be big in movies you have to be in Hollywood. If you want to be big in politics you have to be in the Beltway. If you want to be Messiah, you have to go to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is where the greatest religious minds reside, where the power brokers make and break religious careers, and where young men like Saul of Tarsus can make their mark in the world of Judaism.

But Jesus rejects that model. He chooses a strategic plan that runs opposite of what the PR firms of the day would have told Him to do. When His 72 followers return from their practicums in the little towns and podunk villages of the Galilee backwaters, Jesus joyfully relishes the successful results of His rural, spiritual caucus:

“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

Jesus will make His way to Jerusalem. He knows, however, that those religious power brokers will be threatened by Him and His teaching. He will stir the pot, and they will kill Him out of political expediency.

In the quiet this morning I’m reminded that the things of God run contrary to the things of this world. Jesus even told His followers, “In this world, you will have trouble.” Just as He did. I shouldn’t be surprised when power brokers in the institutions of the world paint me with broad brushstrokes of generalization.

In a few weeks, the political circus will pack up and move on to New Hampshire and elsewhere. Iowa will once again be largely relegated to the back-burner of national thought. I’m sure that politicians and reporters will swap war-stories of their weeks having to be here, in the middle of nowhere. That’s cool. We do this dance every four years.

I like it here. It’s the kind of place Jesus would start a ministry.

Have you missed the previous chapter-a-day posts from this journey through the Gospel of Luke? Click on this image and it will take you to a quick index of the other posts!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Phil Roeder via Flickr.

Finding Wisdom Amidst the Ruins

Chorazin

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.” Luke 10:13-15 (NIV)

When you visit Israel, there are a million places you can visit. Jerusalem and the temple mount are a big attraction. Floating in the Dead Sea and trekking up to the fortress of Masada makes the top of most tourist’s list as does a dinner cruise on the Sea of Galilee. Then there is Megiddo, Mount Carmel, Mount Gilboa, the Garden Tomb, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, The Jordan River, and on and on and on.

As I and my companions made our way around the north shore of the of Sea of Galilee, our guide, George, took a turn onto some back roads. It was obvious that we were off the beaten path. Even George, who knows the area like the back of his hand, seemed a bit lost for a few minutes. Finally we pulled into a group of ruins and got out. The site was desolate and bare. Unlike many sites in the Holy Land there was no hoopla. There were no trinket shops or refreshment stands. This place was clearly among the official sites to get scratched off the “must see” list for most tourists. The place was dead.

We were in the ruins of Chorazin, a small backwater town where Jesus once taught and performed miracles. The people of Chorazin did not respond favorably to Jesus message and miracles, however. I pondered Jesus’ words of woe as I walked silently among the ruined walls and abandoned buildings.

Wendy and I have been talking a lot this past week about the small daily choices we make and their cumulative effects. “I place before you Life and Death,” God once told His people before adding, “Choose life.” Along this journey I’ve come to realize that the choice of Life or Death is not a one time monumental decision, but a series of small daily choices that I make every day. What I choose to eat and how much of it I consume slowly affects my weight, my mood, and a myriad of other health issues. If I choose to sleep in and forget an important meeting it will affect my client relationship and, eventually, my income. If I consistently choose to give in to little bad habits they will eventually lead to very big consequences.

I snapped the picture above from the rubble of Chorazin looking out over the Sea of Galilee. It’s become a constant reminder to me that Jesus is both Savior and Judge. I find that I love to think of Jesus the Savior, but I like to conveniently forget Jesus the Judge. Woe to me for doing so, for amidst a judged Chorazin there is wisdom to be found for those who choose to wander in the ruins and digest Jesus’ words.

Chapter-a-Day Luke 10

Painting by Bueckelaer via Flickr and Jim Forest

As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen

. Luke 10:38-39 (MSG)

My wife, Wendy, and I are blessed to spend more time together than most couples I know. We both work out of a home office, so a normal day is spent in the house together. We eat breafast together, we eat lunch together, and we eat dinner together. If I take a break from my work, I usually walk down stairs to talk to Wendy. Much of our free time is spent working together on stage or in administrating the local community theatre. We worship together and serve together on the visual tech team at church. Wendy and I have an intimate relationship that is built on the foundation of shared time, shared space, shared interest, and shared conversation.

The story of Mary and Martha, and the simple lesson of it, keeps popping in my path the past few weeks. I was reminded of it once again in worship yesterday morning. So often I approach my relationship with Jesus like Martha, in which my relationship is really about doing things around him. Yet, Mary had the more initimate relationship with Jesus because she spent time centered on conversation with him.

My relationship with Jesus and my relationship with my wife are really no different. If I want to find intimacy in the relationship, then it’s going to require a foundation of time, proximity, and focused communication.