Saturday, February 11, 2012

Luke, Chapter 10: Too many bloody Marys

Jesus chooses 72 new disciples and sends them a-proselytizing with no money or shoes and instructions not to talk to anyone and to stay in whatever house offers them shelter. They're not to be picky, and they're to heal all the people who ask for it.

As for the cities that reject them, well, we all remember what happened to Sodom, right?

The evangelists return triumphant a while later, full of stories of conquering Satan. Jesus, for his part, gives them power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy (v. 19). Then he thanks god that only stupid people really get his message and all the smart, educated ones reject him. He tells the disciples that they are extra-super-special for all the things they have seen and heard that kings would pay dearly to see and hear.

At this point, a lawyer stands up to ask how he can get into heaven. Jesus' answer is simple, because his followers have just been proven to be idiots: love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. (v. 27) The man, dissatisfied because he's intelligent, asks who his neighbour is. Jesus launches into a story about a man who went to Jericho and got mugged. A bunch of priests passed the man by as he was lying there bleeding from his injuries, but none of them stopped to help. Finally, a Samaritan sees him and takes him to hospital and gives him the cab fare to get home. So, which one was the better neighbour? The lawyer says the Samaritan, and Jesus tells him to act like that guy.

Our entourage leaves and comes to the village where Mary and Martha live. This is at least the third Mary in just this book. Did they have no other names for girls back then? Anyway, Mary and Martha invite them in for tea. Mary sits down to listen to the good news, but Martha is busy serving. After awhile, she whines to Jesus to make her sister help her. Jesus replies that she's being a fusspot about irrelevant details, and her sister knows what's important.

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