Luke 11 - Deleted Scenes

I just preached on Luke 11, the first bit where Jesus again teaches the disciples about how to pray. He gives nearly the same model prayer that he did in his prior public teaching (recorded by Matthew). As before, I’m including some “Deleted Scenes” that were prepared for the sermon, but didn’t make the Final Cut. Now when I do this, I’m not – at all – implying that the information in these Deleted Scenes would make it into the “Director’s Cut.” Some of this was cut for time, others because they didn’t relate directly to the main message, even if it was initially interesting to me.

Before we get into looking at this verse by verse, I want to acknowledge that I get lots of help when I prepare a sermon. I say this because not only do I want to teach and preach to you about what’s in the Bible and what it tells us to do. But also because I want you to see a bit into how I come to these conclusions. Now, I don’t always do this as well as I should. But I thought I’d just take a minute to acknowledge help that I do get. After I study a passage on my own, I’ll then go to reliable commentaries to check my work and see that I’m on track. One commentary that I’ve been using a lot of is this one by Darrell Bock, a professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary. This thick book covers only the last half of the single book of Luke. The full commentary on Luke is two books this size. I’ll also use other commentaries to give me some other input. Here’s a commentary (The Interpreter Bible) that we had in the church library – I think it was donated – and I found it’s not that helpful. You just learn these things. Commentaries can be helpful to keep you on track – after you do as much as you can on your own – as well as pointing out things that you might have missed: which is mostly what is valuable to me.

This sermon was uncharacteristic of me because I dove into the Greek a bit. I try NOT to do that (even though many preachers do) for a variety of reasons. But in this case it was helpful. As you’ll see, I was tempted to put in much more “Greeky” stuff than actually went into the final sermon…

The language can fail us so we’re going to get all Greek-y. The phrase is “One day;” actually, the language gives more the meaning, “It unfolded…” giving this as more of an episode that played out. And that is much of the ‘feeling’ of Luke’s gospel; we get the feeling that we’re walking along with Jesus, seeing events as they unfold.

More Greek: “Lord~” is a ‘vocative’ – a calling, address; take a noun and use that to call out to someone. It’s like: “Ushers, would you come down?” or “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!” or “Private, you come here!” or “Lord, please teach us…”

Now there is this odd Greek grammatical structure of a past-tense combined with a command, or technically known as the Aorist-Imperative. Doesn’t that just bless your socks off? This grammatical structure is actually used as request to superior in this word: “teach us.” Usually an imperative is a command, but telling God, or any superior, what to do is not wise! So it seems that the Greeks showed respect by putting the command in the past. So a command, “you taught us” was understood to be “Please teach us.”

I spent some time talking about the New Testament use of the word “Abba” as ‘Father.’ I’ve discussed this before in this blog (http://ericmesselt.blogspot.com/search/label/father). In retrospect, it would have been helpful to clarify what I was trying to get across – something like this…

When we see that God tells us that he is our Father, does that mean that God is not our “daddy?” Certainly not! It is fully appropriate and supported in the Bible (think of some of the Psalms) to cuddle up in our heavenly Father’s lap, nestle into him, and have a good cry. This kind of casual or informal relationship with God is, it seems to me, clearly supported in scripture. But, again, what is NOT supported in scripture is this idea that God is our “buddy,” our “pal,” or our “mate.” There is much in the Bible that talks about what a proper and healthy Father-child relationship is like and none of implies that the Father and the child are peers. Any time we make God out to be that kind of he’s-just-like-me relationship, we’ve got it wrong.

At the same time, Jesus does say that he is our friend. But in any earthly friendship between two people, there seems to usually be a dominate person in the relationship. With our friendship with Jesus, he’s always the dominate person.

So, yes, a healthy relationship with God as our Father includes both intimacy and respect, affection and honor. God is our Father.

As to the point of our relationship with God as our Father…

I had a chat with my son, Theo, recently. One of the points I reminded him of was that I was extremely invested in his happy and successful future. That is, I cared a lot more for him than any – ANY – of his current friends at school or even here at the church. There is no one on the planet who loves Theo more than Barb and I. At the end, I hope it was clear to Theo that I had his long-term happiness and success in life in mind – and that is just not true of any of his friends in school or church. That’s a small part of the nature of God’s fatherhood of us: he is vitally interested in our lives and he knows what will make us truly happy in the long-term

I got to the section where Jesus says that if we ask, seek, or knock – we’ll get good things…

But what about this language? Is God a genie in a lamp and gives us whatever we ask? That seems very contrary to the flow of this story. That potential misunderstanding is corrected for us in Jas 4:2 – in our day, we must look at the whole Bible to formulate our theology. And, if we look carefully at the language, it is not saying that God will give you exactly what you asked for, but that God will graciously respond in terms of the request.


So that's my Deleted Scenes. Again, it's probably more helpful for you to listen to the sermon first (www.lbchapel.org/media.php?pageID=24) and then you'll understand the context of these 'scenes.'

No comments: