74 Standing in grace
‡T The kingdom of God
On the Christmas and the year-end and the New Year holidays, I took a rest for a while, but now I want to reopen the Gospel of Luke. The text of this morning is divided into two copies, and Part 1 (20-21) is a short conversation of Pharisee and Jesus; but probably it is thought that it would have happened in the region patrol of Perea. Luke incorporated its article here. Would Luke have chosen this as appropriate introduction for teaching (22-37) to disciples who would follow? The text of this morning is talked about the things mainly "that day" which was repeated many times by Jesus; and it is the central subject of Luke which is saying "the time of Jesus"; and it seems that the kingdom of God is superimposed on there.
It begins with "Now having questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming" (20). The view of the kingdom of God of Pharisee seems to succeed one of the late formal Judaism doctrine which was formed after the end of Babylonian captivity (BC587); there will be conscious as an attempt of the kingdom of Messiah to save remnant of Israel. The kingdom of God was established by armed revolution from Gentile domination, and Messiah had been assumed to be its leader. Pharisees would have thought about their personal safety by joining it, and it became this question. If we think about it so, they had helpless distrust against Jesus, but why could they have approached Jesus here, like there was no such thing at all? Would they have thought opposing Him was not good, if He was the Messiah by any chance? Their compromise is likely insurance just in case.
They asked Jesus that, "If You are the Messiah, You will know when the kingdom of God will come". The answer of Jesus was this. "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or, 'There it is !' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst." (20-20) We will be able to hear it as the Messiah declaration of Jesus. "In your midst", it shows Jesus who became a person. We must hear that the kingdom of God began to be formed since Jesus had come..
‡U Might Jesus already come?
"The kingdom of God began to be formed since Jesus had come"; it needs explanation. The kingdom of God has revealed the figure as having been completed at the same time as Jesus coming. However, it is still a stage such as "new wine". It repeats fermentation, and it shifts to the thing that it has been gradually matured; so, would we able to say as of what had been ripening (completed)?Surely, it will be the time when the kingdom of God received people of God. Luke understood it as a thing at the time of the Second Coming of Jesus of the end. Luke describes its process until aging in Acts, and connects the hope to the second coming of Jesus. For Luke, all activities that have been carried over to the disciples and to the work of Jesus Himself, it is the time of the kingdom of God, and it is "the time of Jesus". In the following second part (22-37), the footsteps of success of the disciples seems to hear.
"The days shall come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, 'Look there! Look here!' Do not go away, and do not run after them. For just as the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day." (22-24) Various false rumors fly about at the time of confusion of the end; we experienced it at Great Hanshin Earthquake. Surely a rumor of the Jesus second coming would have swelled in various form that time. Hope has been lost, will it be such a thing it can not be ignored anymore? However, the people had heard the voice of the mission of the disciples surely. There is also a message of Second Coming of Jesus who had hanged on the cross in there; therefore, too much false rumor would have spread among Jews. For Israel that the second coming of Jesus who will be the Messiah approached for the confusion period, it might have been a thread of hope.
The sparkle of the lightning was not a rare thing in this district which was divided in the dry season and in the wet season. Although I have read the account of a trip of the person who crossed the Syrian Desert by jeep before; the lightning in the desert of the sky rightly shine instantly from tip to toe, and seem to cross it. And this is a rain storm. It seems to be intense in everything, but the second coming of Jesus is said like that. Should we have to prepare for not only the salvation but also the judgment?
By the way, that "day" is plural in the original. I imagine it from there, but possibly, the state of a lightning of sparkling may be superimposed on missionary activity of the disciples. If it is so, it is still covered, but, the second coming of Jesus has already begun. Afterward, we are only waiting for that "day" to see a face of Jesus. Will it be near, too?
‡V Standing in grace
"But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation," (25) Of cou‚’se, it shows a cross of Jesus, however, Luke seems to talk about one more thing from here; it is that Jesus must be "discarded" by the people. Will it be the emphasis? The same thing is repeated in Verse 26-37. "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it shall be also in the days of the Son of Man: ..." However!, about the times of Noah and Lot, will it be put on the top of only people of the time that included these Pharisees and disciples of Verse 37? Luke seems to put it on the top of the people of his times. However!!, when I repeat this and read, I can hear that the present age becoming crazy about "only money and materials" is rightly that time. Isn't it so? It seems to be warned that various confusion of the end period begins with such an eating and drinking in defiance of eyes of God. We must hear that the second coming of Jesus discriminates against us in the salvation and the judgment.
"However"!!! A more profound message is talked from here. It had a special meaning for disciples, and especially for the church of that era and for Luke. Because the event of the cross was the center of the blessing of God who saved them from their sin above all, people of faith who expiated their sin by a cross can endure any kind of hardship by the blessing of the cross. We are not afraid of the person who cannot suppress a soul even if he kills a body, because it is the hardship which the Lord of glory has passed. This will be the message of Luke to the foreigner church which will face hardship soon; persecution and the martyrdom have already begun to appear, and Luke would have put this message on top of encouragement of Jesus. Will the title called "Son of Man" emphasize hardship? The martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:54-60) would have carved in Luke, I think. While hurled stones, Stephen was looking at Jesus who stood up from the seat of the right of God and came to meet him. Luke who spent days with Paul while waiting for the departure to Rome in Caesarea, and was writing the Gospel, would he have prepared for his own martyrdom? His encouragement seems to tell us that for the hardships of the people of faith, there is a hope ahead. We also must not be convinced that modern people are unrelated to this. In here, a state of the end is talked about. In the near future, the era of hardship comes by all means. Are we able to say guarantee that persecution and martyrdom are not at that time? The fact of the Pacific War that many pastors lost their life in prison, it is a thing of yesterday. However, please remember the comfort of the Lord. Jesus arrives at the seat of judgment, and will judge those who persecuted them (it is suggested here) and stands up from the king's chair and will come to meet people of faith to return in triumph to.