每日诗歌: 昂首無懼 (http://jgospel.net/faith/hymns/天韻詩歌-昂首無懼.c67765.aspx)
Judges 12 [Read]
Judges 13 [Read]
Judges 14 [Read]
Luke 9:37-62 [Read]
Peter’s confession of Christ and the transfiguration are commonly viewed as the turning point of our Lord’s earthly ministry. From then on, Jesus moved towards Jerusalem for his ultimate mission – crucifixion. Hence, today’s NT reading marks the beginning of the end. But the following events were not encouraging.
First, the failure of his disciples casting out demon triggered the Lord’s disappointing cry “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?” Immediately after that, the disciples argued who would be the greatest among themselves. After being rejected by the Samaritans, the disciples’ reaction again revealed their ignorance of the true mission of their master. All in all, it was not a good experience.
Under such context, we came to the conversation of Luke 9:61-62. A person meant to follow Jesus, but he wanted to first go back and say good-bye to his family. How can anyone say no to such a reasonable or even morally right request? After all, the fifth commandment stipulated for us to respect our parents. But Jesus’s response was surprising: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”.
Was Jesus too harsh? I am glad that we are reading OT alongside NT, for that gives us a fresh perspective. Ever since Israelites left Egypt, they didn’t stop for one moment looking back. Every time they encountered difficulties, Egypt always came up in their complaint. In the book of Judges, they again looked back, not to Egypt, but to the pagan gods they worshiped before. The people of God were prone to “put their hand to the plow and look back”. Even for Jesus’s closest disciples, all they cared about was the earthly glory and power (9:46). But the Kingdom of God is a complete revamp of our value system, and looking back to the old system simply cannot work. A truly loving teacher would not and must not risk people’s life by sugarcoating the truth.
After becoming a pastor, I think I understand better now. Our Lord’s response was not harsh at all. It was in fact filled with compassion and mercy, like a loving father trying to stop his children from jumping off a cliff. Jesus was not harsh, for there was no time to waste. Speak the truth.
Keep on reading,