Luke 9 59-62: and mixed messages about how to treat one's family.

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Comments

  • Very helpful.....thank you for that Rublev.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    I'm glad you brought it up because the hard sayings of Jesus are not always included in the lectionary. And there can be a tendency to domesticate and rationalise the gospel in a way that mitigates its challenge to us. I think it is well worth grappling with the hard sayings because they above all other parts of the NT can help us to align our cultural lenses with those of the first Christians.

    I think the texts in your OP are raising the issue of not letting anything become an obstacle to your relationship with God - not wealth nor desire for material goods, nor devotion to family nor your own ego - all of which can become idols.
  • Rublev - I was very interested to read what you say in the first paragraph. I'm not surprised that the lectionary doesn't always include these things. Having said that - Alan Cresswell mentioned earlier that his lectionary came up with this, and he preached a sermon on it...

    If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple"
    Luke 14:26


    I thought that must have been a pretty challenging sermon - but it's a lot clearer in its intent, and with its role as a rhetorical device, than the verse I originally mentioned.

    As you say in your second paragraph this was the meaning of the verse I wrote about in my OP. It feels quite odd to have understood it one way a day ago, and now having done a complete flip - to understanding it differently.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Some of them are in the lectionary and they can produce the most interesting sermons if they handle the difficult texts well. They can take the preacher out of their comfort zone in speaking on the Greatest Hits of the Bible. And they can resolve knotty theological problems for parishoners if they explain and unpack the meaning properly. I once heard an outstanding sermon on the Tower of Siloam and the problem of evil.
  • caroline444caroline444 Shipmate
    edited October 21
    Ha ha! Now of course I have googled the Tower of Siloam, which I find very perplexing, but that is a conundrum for another day...
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    The explanation of Luke 14: 26 that I have found the most helpful is a linguistic one. In Aramaic there is no word for 'prefer.' So if you want to state that you prefer bananas to apples then you would say, 'I like bananas, but I hate apples.' It makes a lot more sense of that text to read it as Jesus saying that we should 'prefer' discipleship above all things. Because a literal interpretation would contradict the Ten Commandments and the requirement to honour your father and mother.
  • Ah, that is extremely interesting! Thank you...
  • Just a minor FYI on the guy with the father to bury--

    if that was meant at all literally, it would mean that the son was ritually unclean (due to having been in the presence of a dead body) and ought not to be out in public AT ALL, spreading his uncleanness. So I think we can take it that whatever he meant, it was not that Dad was lying at home unburied, or even that he had died within the last week.
  • Very interesting! Many thanks for that Lamb Chopped.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Remember, at the time when the Gospels were written, families were being torn apart because of this new religion. The result was societal structures were breaking down. Let the Dead Bury the Dead appears to be from the Q source since it is found in both Matthew and Luke. The Matthew rendition is
    Matthew 8:18-20: "When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, 'Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.'
    "Jesus replied, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'

    "Another disciple said to him, 'Lord, first let me go and bury my father.'

    "But Jesus told him, 'Follow me, and let the dead bury the dead.'"

    My impression is that Jesus is saying that let the old order take care of itself, what he was offering is something more radical than what has come before.

    In a sense, we have had similar experiences even in modern history. The reformation saw families being split apart. The American War of Independence saw the social fabric being torn as was the War between the States. The Vietnam War, even the recent election of 45 was the reaction of the radical changes in our society (same sex marriage). One could argue that Brexit has the same taste.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Remember, at the time when the Gospels were written, families were being torn apart because of this new religion. The result was societal structures were breaking down.
    There was certainly no shortage of conflict in first century Judea. But I am not aware of unusual strife within families because of the rise of Christianity. Do you have a reference for this?
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    tclune wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Remember, at the time when the Gospels were written, families were being torn apart because of this new religion. The result was societal structures were breaking down.
    There was certainly no shortage of conflict in first century Judea. But I am not aware of unusual strife within families because of the rise of Christianity. Do you have a reference for this?

    I may have oversimplified my comment, but there was a break within the Jewish religion concerning Christianity, and by the time Matthew and Luke were being written, Jews were forcing Christians out of the Synagogues. John was certainly written in reaction to that break.

    Here is one article https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/how-jewish-christians-became-christians/
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited October 26
    The Didache of late C1 / early C2nd makes references to that break without giving the reasons. But it's likely that it was due to the developments in Christological thinking. It was one thing to preach in the synagogues that Jesus Christ was the Messiah foretold by the prophets. But it was another to assert the deity of Christ.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    But @Gramps49 the logic of the saying being Q material is that it significantly predates the time at which Matthew and Luke were written, and predates the time when followers of Jesus were being forced out of the synagogues.

    Families being torn apart at the time Matthew and Luke were written may account for the inclusion of this material, but not for its existence.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    edited October 26
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I may have oversimplified my comment, but there was a break within the Jewish religion concerning Christianity, and by the time Matthew and Luke were being written, Jews were forcing Christians out of the Synagogues. John was certainly written in reaction to that break.
    Certainly we have adequate evidence that Christians were increasingly personae non grata in the synagogues by the beginning of the second century -- and were generally on the outs in Judea when they refused to join the Bar Kokhba revolt because they believed that Jesus, not Bar Kokhba, was the Messiah. But none of that translates obviously into intra-family tension. It seems more analogous to the Catholic/Protestant tensions in our own country, which were mostly played out between families and groups, not within them.
    Rublev wrote: »
    The Didache of late C1 / early C2nd makes references to that break without giving the reasons. But it's likely that it was due to the developments in Christological thinking. It was one thing to preach in the synagogues that Jesus Christ was the Messiah foretold by the prophets. But it was another to assert the deity of Christ.

    There is nothing within the Didache as far as I recall that suggests the divinity of Christ. My expectation is that it was far from the majority view among Christians in the first and second century in Palestine. The doctrine developed slowly and, by the time of the Council of Nicea in 325, it appears that those who viewed Christ as less than fully divine were still about equal in number to those who took the Athanasian view. The animosity between rabbinic Jews and Christian Jews seems much more political than theological AFAICS. But I could be wrong.

  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    In one of Jesus most challenging sayings He says that the gospel will bring division:

    'Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to turn:
    A man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
    a daughter in law against her mother in law.
    A man's enemies will be the members of his own household' (Luke 12: 49-53; Matt 10: 34).

    Simeon foretold that Jesus would be a sign that would be opposed (Luke 2: 34).
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Rublev wrote: »
    In one of Jesus most challenging sayings He says that the gospel will bring division:

    'Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to turn:
    A man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
    a daughter in law against her mother in law.
    A man's enemies will be the members of his own household' (Luke 12: 49-53; Matt 10: 34).

    Simeon foretold that Jesus would be a sign that would be opposed (Luke 2: 34).

    Yes, but it's putting a lot of burden on that passage to say that families were being torn apart willy-nilly in 1C Christianity -- especially when participants in this thread (including you) spent so much time arguing for hyperbole in the language of the Gospels.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    What would be the hyperbolic point of this text?
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Rublev wrote: »
    What would be the hyperbolic point of this text?

    That Christ's ministry would be controversial.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    That is also the literal meaning of this text. Illustrated by Mark 3: 21.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited October 26
    The Didache is a text about church governance rather than Christology. There are several NT texts which refer to the divinity of Christ (Matt 1: 23; 14: 33; John 10: 29-33; 20: 28; Titus 2: 13). But the proclamation of the gospel by the apostles in Acts focuses upon the Messiahship of Jesus Christ (Acts 2: 30-36; 3: 13-26; 4: 8-12; 7: 2-53). Paul does not have much of a theology of the deity of Christ other than Col 1: 15-20 and Phil 2: 5-11.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Rublev wrote: »
    That is also the literal meaning of this text. Illustrated by Mark 3: 21.

    Here is Mark 3:21-35. In my reading of Mark, Jesus was completely unaware of His calling before His baptism. Then, it came as such a shock to Him that He went off to the wilderness to figure out what had just happened. When He returned to civilization, He began casting out demons like there was no tomorrow. Not surprisingly, His family was alarmed by His massive change, and wanted to bring Him home until He returned to His normal self.
    By my reading, that is the context for the passage quoted. It appears to me to be an illustration of love on all sides that is encumbered by differing understandings of what the sudden change in Christ meant. We know that Christ and His family got back together after this event. Reading it as a story of hatred or enmity strikes me as wildly misplaced, at least in Mark's version (which is frankly the only one that makes much sense to me in this case.)
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited October 26
    Interesting that in the passage where Jesus brags about creating dysfunctional families, he specifically uses terminology(ie. man against father, daughter against mother, DIL against MIL) that emphasizes the young rebelling against the old(as opposed to just saying that everyone in the family will be fighting, while leaving out the details about who threw the first punch).

    But am I correct in understanding that that verse is a re-working of another one from the Old Testament? I'm guessing that the speaker in that earlier verse, if he was in any way supposed to be on the side of God, didn't claim to be the actual cause of the parricidal shenanigans.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited October 26
    The gospel can lead to division. And even in Christ's own family there was misunderstanding and discord. (Which is an argument in favour of the authenticity of the gospels).

    According to Luke 2: 49 Jesus was aware that God was His Father as a child. But I'd agree that the baptism of the Holy Spirit fully revealed His mission to Him. And the Temptations were an immediate spiritual counter - attack to God's purpose. And a trial run of the ordeals of Gethsemane and the Passion which Jesus overcame on both occasions.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Rublev wrote: »
    According to Luke 2: 49 Jesus was aware that God was His Father as a child. But I'd agree that the baptism of the Holy Spirit fully revealed His mission to Him. And the Temptations were an immediate spiritual counter - attack to God's purpose. And a trial run of the ordeals of Gethsemane and the Passion which Jesus overcame on both occasions.

    One of my many pet peeves is the Westminster Confession hermeneutic
    IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.
    I firmly believe that scripture is often in dialog with itself, as opposed to being in harmony with itself. And that includes the various Gospels, which seem to have been written at least in part to "correct" other Gospels (as suggested in Luke's intro.) So I am leery of attempts to "clarify" one Gospel account by invoking another. Although I find myself doing exactly that sometimes, it is dangerous in that it can easily obscure the point that the original Gospel writer was trying to make.
    [Tangent]
    Does anyone know whether there is an earlier source than the Westminster Confession for the hermeneutical principle quoted above?
    [/Tangent]
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Christian theology and doctrine is based upon the whole of the Biblical narrative. Which gospel would you select as the most significant version?

    I agree that the texts of the Bible are in a chronological dialogue with each other. And are sometimes subtly correcting one another. And certainly we see that Matthew adjusts Mark to be more orthodox and Luke sets out to be an historical gospel according to ancient standards. And John discards the Synoptic template and does his own thing entirely. Which is quite fascinating.

    Marcion was regarded as a heretic in C2nd for rejecting the relevance of the OT. Which is probably the earliest example of the principle of 'scripture interpretating scripture' by the Church.
  • @tclune, a similar thought is expressed in Chapter II of the Second Helvetic Confession, written in 1561, so it predates the Westminster Confession by almost 80 or so years:
    HE TRUE INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE. The apostle Peter has said that the Holy Scriptures are not of private interpretation (II Peter 1:20), and thus we do not allow all possible interpretations. Nor consequently do we acknowledge as the true or genuine interpretation of the Scriptures what is called the conception of the Roman Church, that is, what the defenders of the Roman Church plainly maintain should be thrust upon all for acceptance. But we hold that interpretation of the Scripture to be orthodox and genuine which is gleaned from the Scriptures themselves (from the nature of the language in which they were written, likewise according to the circumstances in which they were set down, and expounded in the light of like and unlike passages and of many and clearer passages) and which agree with the rule of faith and love, and contributes much to the glory of God and man’s salvation.

    While acknowledging the broad way in which Westminster is worded, I don’t think what you call the Westminster Confession hermeneutic is necessarily at odds with your understanding that Scripture is often in dialog with itself. I think the paragraph you quoted needs to be understood in light of what is said two paragraphs earlier:
    All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.
    That is to say, I think the Westminster Confession hermeneutic refers mainly to interpretation of “ those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation,” not to interpreting things like every way in which the gospels differ.

  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Thanks, Nick. That was useful.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    But am I correct in understanding that that verse is a re-working of another one from the Old Testament? I'm guessing that the speaker in that earlier verse, if he was in any way supposed to be on the side of God, didn't claim to be the actual cause of the parricidal shenanigans.

    I think you're remembering Micah 7:6.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    tclune: I firmly believe that scripture is often in dialog with itself, as opposed to being in harmony with itself.
    I think this quote is absolutely spot on! :smile:

    I don't know whether it's original to yourself, tclune, but if it is you should get it patented!

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