Friday, 12 February 2010

You shall be satisfied. (Luk 6:21)

This weeks Gospel is taken from Luke 6:17,20-26. Jesus is standing at a plane and the crowds of people are gathering around Him. What struck me in the first line is that the people did not only come to be healed, but actually "came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases" (Luk 6:17 RSV).

I think both aspects are interesting in some way. In one way I have often thought that the people were following Jesus because he healed them. He gave them some instant fix and it was worth to travel the whole way as He "healed them all" (Luk 6:19 RSV)

But just because miracles might have a prominent role in the Gospel stories on one level, it is very easy to look over the much deeper level, the actual encounter with God. That He "healed them all", but it does not say in which way He healed them. Maybe this is actually an aspect that is much easier accepted in contemporary society, as possibly a lot of people might not belief in miracles.

I think that there is something to think about here, especially with people who might be slow in accepting the Gospel. Why did people travel hundreds of kilometres/miles by foot to meet Jesus? If somebody would argue that it wasn't because of the miracles, possibly denying the supernatural aspect of God, the fact that they happened or deny God completely, why was it then that they came the whole way? Just to hear an ordinary man speak extraordinary well? So if not arguing that it is the miracles who attracted them, it looks that there is something deeper, something which we can not just rationally explain, an encounter with Jesus, and encounter with God, which would make the long journey worth it. An encounter which would change ones life, as "He "healed them all". It is probably not a very strong argument, but it was just a thought that crossed my mind.

The second set of versus in the Gospel is Luke's version of the Beatitudes, a text most people are quite familiar with, or at least know about. When reading it, it strikes one straight away how alien the examples Jesus gives seem to be on how we look at things. Everything that Jesus brings forward as a blessing seems on a first view to be a curse, and everything that seems good on a first glance Jesus makes out to be a curse.

However we have to look at the deeper reality of what reality is. C.S. Lewis wrote "Christianity does not take hardship form life; it simply gives one a reason to endure it". Although this might sound negative, I think it emphasises how Christianity is not some-kind of a "make me feel good" movement. No instead Christianity recognise the reality of life, and while recognising it and accepting it, unites itself with God and leads us to the fullness of life, a life united with God here on earth as well as in Heaven.

There is a much more fundamental happiness than the one we can find by riches etc. Ultimately it is God who is the only one who can gives us complete happiness. And that is one of the messages of Jesus in this Gospel.

It is something to think about. To what extend are the things which Jesus mentions as being blessed helping us in our journey towards God, how they can help us to more fully trust in Him, journeying towards Him in trust that He will lead us. Subsequent, we can do the same for the things Jesus portrays as bad, and how they could potentially lead us away from God. They could potentially take the place of God.
"Woe to you that are full now" (Luk 6:25 RSV) because if you are full now there is no space for God, but "blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied" (Luk 6:21 RSV), satisfied as God will fill you with himself.

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