Thursday, April 2, 2009

The setup (Luke 14)

An associate or friend invites you to a party at her house. Getting an invitation to anything is a big deal in the USA, which is a "low-context" culture.[1] You show up at the door, eager to spend a few hours snacking and talking -- and discover that you've walked into a sales pitch. For kitchen products. Cosmetics. Or maybe "special" vitamins.

You're a lonely college girl. An attractive frat boy[2] suddenly notices you, and invites you to a party. You primp, dress your best, and show up at the frat house, heart pounding, walk in -- and notice how the other girls are all obese, unkempt, plain, or downright ugly. Surprise! You get to star in a "pig party," a cruel joke where the frat brothers compete to see who can bring in the ugliest date.

We read of a similar incident in Luke 14:1-6:
Luk 14:1 Bir Şabat Günü İsa Ferisiler'in ileri gelenlerinden birinin evine yemek yemeye gitti. Herkes O'nu dikkatle gözlüyordu.
Luk 14:2 Önünde, vücudu su toplamış bir adam vardı.
Luk 14:3 İsa, Kutsal Yasa uzmanlarına ve Ferisiler'e, "Şabat Günü bir hastayı iyileştirmek Kutsal Yasa'ya uygun mudur, değil midir?" diye sordu.
Luk 14:4 Onlar ses çıkarmadılar. İsa adamı tutup iyileştirdi, sonra eve gönderdi.
Luk 14:5 İsa onlara şöyle dedi: "Hanginiz oğlu ya da öküzü Şabat Günü kuyuya düşer de hemen çıkarmaz?"
Luk 14:6 Onlar buna hiçbir karşılık veremediler.
A few words:
  • Herkes -- All of them
  • O'nu -- at him
  • dikkatle -- carefully, attentively
  • gözlüyordu -- stared.
In front of him stood a man with edema, visibly suffering from a disabling illness. I like the way the Greek expresses it:
καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν ὑδρωπικὸς ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ.
And LOOK! a man, who was waterlogged, before him.

It's a Sabbath day. Will this so-called teacher honor God by keeping the Sabbath? Or will he "do work" on the Lord's day of rest? Enquiring minds wanted to know! Actually, they already knew what to expect. After all, Jesus had a reputation as a compassionate healer. This situation was a setup, a trap, an effort to discredit Jesus. Interestingly enough, at this table, He turned the tables on His enemies, and went on to deride their transparent social climbing.


[1] This is a sociological term. A "high context" culture puts a lot of energy into the connections between people. A "low context" culture values independence. You end up with a lot of lonely high achievers!

[2] Fraternities are a fixture of most American college campuses. Those who are selected for membership survive some kind of "hazing" ritual that usually claims several lives every year. In exchange, you forge lifelong connections with people of influence. For example, the 2004 US presidential election pitted two members of the secretive Yale "Skull & Bones" society against each other.

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