It’s an odd passage of scripture. But the more I read, the more of those I find. Especially with Christ
-Calling the daughter of the Syro-Phonecian woman a dog
-Telling us that he came not to bring peace but the sword
Certainly a very unexpected Jesus.
Was this an exclusion of his family for the sake of another? Well, kinda.
I think it goes back to Jesus telling us that we don’t judge things the way he does. Where the Jews around him might have judged the Centurion harshly, Christ saw the greatest faith he had ever encountered.
We see things differently that Christ does. Shocking, I know. And as obvious as that statement is, we don’t always believe it.
We say the fruit doesn’t fall from the tree meaning that if the parent is bad then the child is going to be bad too. But I don’t think that is in any way what Jesus meant when he talked about no good fruit coming from a bad tree.
You, for good or for bad, are more than the daughter or son of your parents.
Maybe you come from bad parents. A troubled home. A dysfunctional family.
Jesus is telling us that none of these things constitute a set in stone blueprint for a miserable life.
Maybe you come from good parents. A welcoming home. A stable family.
Jesus is telling us that none of these things constitute a set in stone blueprint for a blessed life.
There is something more than we can see. Jesus tells us that his family are
-Those who hear God’s words
-Those who put them into practice
Those are the ones who claim him as brother. Those who have a relationship with him.
This is not a knock on Jesus’ family but rather an expansion of who and what family is in the Kingdom of God.
When I take a bit wider view, I see a little more of what Luke was trying to convey. Right before this passage, Christ is telling his disciples a parable about what the Kingdom of God is like.
I think Christ’s idea of family and the Kingdom of God are directly related. They affect each other.
Right after this story is Christ having to calm the seas for the frightened disciples. They still haven’t understood what it means to have faith (like the Centurion) or understood Christ’s view of the Kingdom of God (life with his family).
I think this all leads to Christ’s view of the end, his eschatology. I think that for all of us, whatever our eschatology is and how strongly we believe it to be true affects how we live.
Whatever the disciples’ eschatology, it caused them to only be able to see what was happening to them right there in the moment. And so it filled them with fear.
Christ has an eschatology. He has a very clear view of what the end will look like. Jesus believed in the fulfilled Kingdom of God. And it was this fulfilled Kingdom of God that affected how he saw the world he lived in and how he lived in that world.
And yes, it looks different than the present we see. That’s why so many times we hear the words “You have heard it said… but I say to you…” or rather “You believe it to be… but I believe it to be…” Christ trying to give us the vision of what the Kingdom of God looked like to him. Christ continually worked and preached and taught and acted in ways to bring that fulfilled Kingdom of God to the here and now, where he was.
When Christ looked at the fulfilled Kingdom of God, he saw
-Good news for the poor
-Freedom for the oppressed
-Sight for the blind
-Unending favor of the Lord
He started his ministry telling us how he saw things to be. It’s amazing how often people will tell you what they mean right at the start.
And if this is Christ’s view of the end, then it should be our view as well.
Luke 6 tells us to love our enemies. Why? Because God is merciful to the wicked and therefore we should be merciful as our Father is merciful.
As Christ-followers, as the Church, we do things not because we believe they are right but because they are who our Father is.
We are to work for peace not because we have some human rationalized hope that in doing so we hope that all the wicked people will be nicer to us and we can live a happier life free from strife.
We are to be just not because of some belief that everyone and everything is equal and we have some “godly” authoritative knowledge of how to run the world better.
We help the poor and needy not because we think we can eradicate poverty and homelessness in our lifetime (or because we feel guilty when we don’t.)
To paraphrase the English Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon— Christ didn’t come to make bad people good or even good people better. Christ came to make dead people life.
In the fulfilled Kingdom of God, dead people live. So we do all these things not because of our human reasoning but because it is what our Father does, it is who our Father is and it is because that is how the fulfilled Kingdom of God will be.
Our job is to follow Christ, our example, and bring that Kingdom of God to the here and now, to us.
So maybe coming back to this passage, I can come to the understanding that Christ was in no way demeaning anyone.
He was trying to open our eyes to something beautiful.