Saturday, August 13, 2005

Vernon Easterhare Declares: p.m.--8/13/2005.

The Inclusiveness of the Messianic Banquet Table.

...My focus is again on the Gospel of Luke, since that topic is the subject of study by the Jefstreet Adult Sunday School Class for past moons.

Consider Luke 13:29 NRSV, "Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat [emphasis mine] in the kingdom of God." I see this as connecting-- over chapter boundaries which were established many centuries after this writing--in the Middle Ages-- with the entire content of chapter 14 Luke. For we read in the first verses that Jesus is at an eating of bread [phagein arton] at a Pharisee's house, and in healing a man and making a Rabbinical pronouncement, says in plain connection with his 'social Gospel:'

"...when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous." Luke 14:13-14 NRSV.

Then to amplify this same teaching, Jesus goes on to utter a parable in keeping with the notion that the Realm of God consists of a Great Meal to which the Insulted are guests of honor. In this parable, a great man holds a dinner and at first invites friends to attend, but one-by-one for reasons of varying importance the invitees 'beg off.' Therefore, the lord of the house instructs his servant to go out and bring in the poor, the crippled, and the blind, and the lame. This being done, the lord then instructs that the 'people of the land,' the peasants [am har'etz in Mishnaic Hebrew] be invited into the feast-- to the utter exclusion of the first-invited guests.

Then to the crowd after these teachings, Jesus tries once more to teach that old kinship loyalties must be rechanneled in favor of a new family in the Realm of God. "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26-27 NRSV.

Jesus proceeds inter alia to utter strongly, "So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions." Luke 14:33 NRSV.

Finally in Chapter 14, we hear Jesus utter something about salt-- then and now an ingredient in feasts! Luke 14:34 NRSV, "Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!"

To my perception, these utterances all connect back in a 'cut-and-paste' way editorially to the Messianic Banquet Feast to which Luke 13:29 alludes, a great coming-together from a Diapora of the Righteous [Greek: dikaoi and Hebrew/Aramaic: tzdkim/tdkin both have strong implications of 'doing-charity']. One should note that many who thought they were being righteous by following rote morality had been-- in Jesus view--evildoers!

IT IS ESSENTIAL TO READ NO ANTI-SEMITISM INTO THIS PIECE. NEITHER JESUS NOR I AT ALL AM CONDEMNING JEWS BUT 'ALL WORKERS OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS' [pantes ergatai adikias.] To my mind that means there will be -- the Ultimate Sense--many many Jews who get 'saved' and many many evildoing 'Christians' who are 'not-saved.' BUT I DO THINK THIS LANGUAGE OF 'SALVATION' IS TALK ABOUT WHICH WE MUST BE VERY CIRCUMSPECT!

At any rate, Jesus is telling us that the Realm of God we Christians should expect should have at the Table a plethora of Life's Untouchables. Let us keep the Feast with sincerity and truth!


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