Sunday, February 5, 2012

Luke, Chapter 9: No funerals

Jesus gathers the disciples together and gives them the power to cast out devils and cure diseases, because when you have no science, why not? Then he sends them out to spread the good news with only the clothes on their backs. I don't know which would be scarier: a bunch of smelly, unwashed, underfed beggars, or these guys.

Meanwhile, Herod has been hearing rumors, that Jesus is the reincarnation of John the Baptist, or Elijah, or one of the other prophets. He decides he wants to see Jesus, but his storyline is abruptly ended like a bad soap opera.

The disciples return from their trip and head to Bethesda to tell Jesus all about it. People hear about them and start bringing their sick and demented for faith healing. As the day wears on, the disciples realise that they don't have any food for the people still waiting. Given that this is at least the fifth time this has happened, I'm going to skip over this incident.

The next day? 5 years later? Jesus is praying, but stops to ask his disciples what people are saying about him. That he's John the Baptist, or Elijah, is the main consensus. And the disciples? Who do they think he is? The Christ. He swears them to secrecy. Then he tells them how he's going to die.

Eight days after that, he takes James, John and Peter up into the mountains to pray and do the old sparkle trick. As usual, Moses and Elijah show up to talk death some more. The disciples get bored and fall asleep. When they wake up, they pledge to build three temples in honour of this momentous occasion, but Jesus swears them to secrecy again some more. How all these books got written, then, is a mystery.

When they go back down the mountains the next day, the crowd has grown. One man cries out that his son has rabies or epilepsy or something and the disciples have been unable to cure him. Jesus criticises the disciples for not putting the faith in faith healing and proceeds to cure the kid himself. He reminds them he's going to die soon, but they don't get it, and fearing more criticism, are afraid to ask.

Like any group of people that spends too much time together, the disciples descend into petty squabbling about which of them is Jesus' favourite. Rather than pick a side and end the discussion, he accosts a child and puts it on his lap, then tells the disciples that accepting him is like accepting this random kid, and accepting the random kid is like accepting god.

This prompts John's memory about a guy they saw who was casting out devils, but wasn't one of them. Jesus says that's cool, the more devil-casters the better.

A week? Five minutes? later, Jesus decides to face the music and head to Jerusalem. On the way, they enter a village of unfriendly Samaritans. John and James want to reenact Sodom and Gomorra on their asses, but Jesus says no, he's into letting sinners hang themselves by their own ropes and moves on.

In another village, a man comes up and says he wants to join them, he's just gotta bury his dead father first. But no, Jesus is fixated on his death march and doesn't have time for shilly-shallying. He won't even wait for the guy to give his excuses at the funeral that's going on at his own house. He basically tells the guy he's going to hell for not wanting to be a rude bastard to his own guests.

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