The Word

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Stabbing Luke

In a story about the USA census National Public Radio took a dagger to Luke, the Physician, and author of the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament.   Why bother NPR?  It is a silly thing to do.   The unnamed commentator (that is all she is, not an expert) said that the census that Luke recorded likely did not happen at the time of the birth of Jesus.  “Likely”?  Why even both mentioning. It was irrelevant to the current USA census and the commentator was missing some data.

Except for the understanding of Doctor Luke, no one in the modern era can be certain that a census did or did not happen.  Here is the conclusion of Biblical Archaeology.

… Quirinius’s personal chronology is not fully known, particularly around the years of Jesus’ birth. Thus, it is not impossible that he held another office at the time which Luke appropriately describes with (h[gemoneuontoj thj Suriaj) hegmoneuontos tēs Surias, a description as we saw which could also appropriately describe the office from which he took his well-known census. In short, it is most likely under this otherwise unattested office that Quirinius officiated over what Luke describes. To say more would go beyond the present evidence; to say otherwise, would, as we saw, strain the syntax. As such, I. Howard Marshall is probably right when he suggests that Luke’s full vindication lies buried somewhere, waiting to be unearthed.51 Until then, Luke’s historiographical track record (well-documented in other places52) and the implausibility of such a monumental miscalculation, especially considering his method of and purpose for writing (cf. Luke 1:1–4),53 should forestall the rather premature conclusions noted initially. Moreover, for those of us with a high view of Scripture, the fact that Luke’s record is indeed part of Scripture suggests that these conclusions are not only premature but are, in the end, simply wrong. Further evidence will only demonstrate this more conclusively.

Time will tell.  Maybe in eternity we will know (if it is at all relevant then).

Related:

Biblical Archaeology article

Man Born Blind

In John 9 Jesus walks by a man who has never seen.  This man was born blind.  Image result for man born blind in the bible

I read this section last week and the reactions of the man, his parents, the disciples and the Pharisees all struck me.

After this miracle, even the neighbors are confused whether the man is the same man they had known from childhood (verse 8).  The Pharisees did not believe, they believed this healing was impossible (v 13).  They began investigating what they perceived as trickery (v 18).  The Pharisees say that Jesus is a sinner and from the Old Testament we know that God does not hear sinners. (Jesus did not dispute this claim.) But, the man born blind makes a strong point: “One thing I know, I was blind and not I see!” “You, Pharisees do NOT listen!” (v 24) The Pharisees respond” “We follow Moses but we don’t know this man.”  In the Jewish history, no one had been healed of blindness.

The man born blind presents first hand information to the Pharisees and to their apparent bias to the evidence: “This is amazing! You do not know where he is from yet he opened my eyes. God listens to those who worship him.  Never has anyone opened eyes of the blind.  If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” Pharisees: “Are you trying to teach us?”

Jesus comes to the man and reveals  that he is Messiah, the Son of Man: “I came so that those who do not ‘see’ may ‘see.'” (v 35)  Jesus then turns to the Pharisees and condemns them because they claim sight but are blind and refuse to believe the clear evidence presented to them (v 41).

A man is a most pitiable condition receives physical sight and another amazing revelation.  Not only does he gain sight, which he never had, he sees Jesus for who he truly is: the unique, promised Son of Man.  The Son of Man has special meaning to Jews. Jesus is the most notable son of man of all time.

“The Son of Man” is a messianic title that refers back to the mysterious, human-divine figure of “one like a son of man” in Daniel 7.  That one would rule over all the nations of the earth forever.  This Son of Man was to be “lifted up” by being crucified (John 3:14), will provide divine revelation (John 6:27) and will act with end-time authority (John 5:27 and 9:39).  See ESV Study Bible notes.

What do you know about the son of man?  Have you met him? He still lives in the 21 century.

Related:
Jesus Heals Man Born Blind
Grace to You
Man Born Blind
Blind Man Sees