After a break for a few weeks over the Easter period, as we start to look towards Pentecost, we are returning to our 2016 “Gospel Challenge”. We are encouraging all our members and friends to take an in depth look at the Gospel of Luke over the course of the year. Start by reading Chapter 7, and then read the few thoughts below, which I hope will aid your own reflection and prayer.
Chapter 7 points towards the Divinity of Jesus... Who else but the son of God could raise to life a centurion’s servant and a widow’s son? Jesus’ encounter with the disciples of John the Baptist makes it clear that he was the “one who is to come”.
For me, even though I am a progressive Christian, I believe the miracle accounts are literal; if not, then why would they have survived the test of the time? However, some progressive see these accounts as describing the spiritual experiences of the early Christians when they encountered the teachings and worship of Jesus. Whatever the case, there is no doubt that when we as modern day women and men look at the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel we can experience new purpose and new energy in our own lives. At times this can be as dramatic as raising us from the dead. This spiritual change can be profound and extraordinary. Even though we all have to face the death of those we love and our own mortality at some point in our lives.
This chapter also illustrates the inclusive love of Jesus. The Roman Centurion was part of the occupying forces; someone who would normally be despised and not welcomed by a Jewish Rabbi – Jesus didn’t worry. And who was his servant? This centurion was wealthy and slaves were bought and sold easily at that time and often had little value. However, it was not uncommon for Romans to have sexual relationships with their servants and even occasionally marry them. Could these two men have been lovers? There was certainly great love from the centurion for his servant. Whilst they certainly would not have identified themselves as LGBTQi in terms of twenty first century lifestyles and identity, men have always loved men, and women have always loved women. The important thing is that Jesus did not question, Jesus just did. Jesus just healed. Chapter 7 certainly opens our eyes to the Divinity, and Inclusive Love of Jesus.