This chapter starts off with a mish-mash of verses plucked randomly out of context from Matthew. The bit about the millstone is Matt 18:6. The verse about forgiving seven times is Matt 18:21. Next is the mustard seed verse (Matt 17:20). And seriously, the mustard seed verse – has anyone tested that claim? Because that would be just about the easiest way ever to prove the bible false. I’d like to see Pat Robertson or someone try it… Just sayin’.
The next section (v 7-10) about the servants (slaves?) doing their duty is new, and I find it quite unpalatable. It sounds like just another way of maintaining the class structure and keeping the oppressed in their place.
Next, a favorite bible story from my childhood – favorite because it comes with a catchy song. The only recording I could find of this song on YouTube is too slow, but otherwise a great piece of nostalgia. Looking back, it’s got a nice little moral about remembering to say thank you; but it’s not a believable story. And the same point could have been made without the supernatural element.
The rest of the chapter is full of end-times prophesy stuff. The first part (v 20-25) is relatively new in Luke. But starting with v 26, it’s similar to Matthew 24:36. However, Luke changes it up, adding the paragraph about Lot, and the nice little image at the end of vultures circling. I’ve actually heard evangelists refer to the ‘signs of the end times’ and ‘vultures circling’. Make sure you’re “Rapture Ready”!
Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow. The SAB refers to this as the parable of the lazy, avenging, unjust god. Well said! We didn’t learn this at my church – no wonder! Jesus asks “So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?” Well duh… if you’ve read the bible, you know that’s exactly what happens! And if god is just, why is it necessary for people to cry to him for help?
Next up is the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The moral is supposed to be that we should not become smug like the Pharisee, and that’s a good point. But what about the tax collector? It’s nice that he’s humble, but to me he’s a bit too self-effacing. There should be no need to beat our chests and proclaim what miserable sinners we are. Just another example of the bible teaching people to shut up and brow-beat themselves.
The next story is Jesus blessing the children, another Sunday school favorite. It’s almost identical in all three gospels (see Mark 10 and Matt 19). Then the speech about the rich man who wants to enter heaven and the camel going through the eye of a needle and Jesus reciting the commandments – also virtually identical in all three gospels except that in Mark and Matthew Jesus recites 6 commandments (but they’re not the same 6), and in Luke he lists only five. Continuity editor blew it there…
Moving on, Jesus foresees his own death. Still almost the same as the parallel accounts in the previous gospels, except that Luke adds v 34, about the apostles not comprehending what he was telling them. The last story in the chapter is Jesus healing the blind beggar near Jericho. There are minor variations from the other gospels – did he heal before or after leaving Jericho? One or two beggars? Did he heal by words alone, or did he use touch? Whatever….