*NOTE* I realize there are groups who either cannot wear masks for health reasons (such as breathing issues) or do not feel comfortable wearing masks in public due to the color of their skin and the threat of racism that is so endemic to our culture. This message is intended for people who do not have to consider such unfair challenges each time they go out in public (or in some cases, just sit in their homes).
While life is full of opportunities to learn, on occasion we face significant moments that can dramatically reshape how we think about something. Sometimes we even discover a simple test that serves a tremendous service in revealing a person’s character.
The Covid-19 pandemic has provided countless situations like these. But the one that fascinates me most right now is the purpose of masks.
I’ll start with the first half of my above statement: the opportunity to learn. While this seems like such an obvious thing (and I feel a little stupid for not realizing it before), it wasn’t until quite recently that I learned the true purpose of medical masks. In fact, I always had it backwards.
I always thought masks were about protecting the wearer.
As we approach this chapter in our closer look at Luke, we see that most of it consists of stories that are very commonly taught in the Jesus narrative: Jesus sharing the parable of the sower, calming the storm, healing a demon-possessed man and sending the demons into a herd of pigs, and healing a dead girl and a sick woman.
Many of these sections have been mined for content, and they all offer important glimpses into the ministry of Jesus. However, I want to focus on just a couple key passages that, as has been the theme of this study, I have not previously noticed and fully considered.
The last section we reviewed included some of the most well-known words of Jesus, and today we look at what happened immediately after the Sermon on the Plain. In the seventh chapter of Luke, we read several short stories about Jesus providing healing and encouraging words, and I believe the two key takeaways that I’ve previously missed are humility and action.
Today I’m taking a quick break from my Closer look at Luke posts to write about something that’s been on my heart and mind throughout this pandemic.
In scrolling through social media, I have friends who espouse both conservative and liberal views. As you might expect, most fall under the traditional demographic markers for such political affiliations. And the political posts can be heated and frustrating.
Jesus’ “Sermon on the Plain” in Luke parallel’s the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew, although it is much shorter. Either way, this passage contains some of the most-quoted words of Jesus. We could devote thousands of words to almost every snippet of what Jesus says, but since most of the words are so well-known, my plan for much of this section will be to heavily quote the words straight from the text with only short interjections of thought. My reason for this is essentially the core of this project: some of Jesus’ words and deeds we’ve overlooked and never given proper consideration, but even some of his most famous words are basically ignored (and in many ways completely contradicted) by American culture.
Today, we’ll take a closer look at Luke 5, as we see Jesus begin to establish the type of people he wants as his closest friends and his opposition among the religious elites begins to solidify. Let’s get to it!
Chapter 4 of Luke turns the attention fully to Jesus, and within this chapter’s 44 verses we learn of Jesus’ early temptations, rejection, and healings. As I mentioned in the introduction to this project, my goal is to highlight things that I haven’t noticed in the past or feel have been overlooked. This means that there will be sections I look at closely and others that I gloss over. In no way am I suggesting those passages are less important; in many cases it will be the opposite: the section is vitally important and therefore has been dissected deeply with little left out.
Without further ado, we join Jesus in the desert, where he was tempted for 40 days and did not eat or drink. In what could be considered a severe understatement, we are told that “at the end of them [the 40 days] he was hungry” (2). Naturally, the first temptation Luke tells us about (although Luke says in verse two that he was tempted throughout the 40 days, so it likely was not the first temptation) is about food to satisfy Jesus’ hunger.