Jesus' Kingdom agenda seemed to turn some people's expectations on their head. For example, one man says to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me!" (Luke 12:13). This seems like a reasonable request for a Man who is claiming to establish God's justice in the world. Shouldn't Jesus care that a brother is stealing a portion of the family inheritance? If we have believed that Jesus is not concerned with "this worldly" things such as family inheritances, then it is easy to interpret this passage as an example of how Jesus cares about heavenly things and not earthly things. But the main point of this blog and podcast has been to demonstrate that Jesus came to change THIS world and not to take us out of it. If I am correct, it would seem that Jesus really should be concerned with this man's plight. Shouldn't Jesus care about justice in this situation? Jesus doesn't say that the man with the complaint doesn't have a just cause to seek an arbitrator but simply that Jesus wasn't the one to do it. Quite possibly, this is because Jesus had bigger fish to fry. Jesus hadn't come to be a judge in a petty claims court, He has come to defeat evil in God's good creation, once and for all. Jesus also seems to be suggesting that there is a deeper evil present than the one to which this man is pointing. Jesus warns this man with the complaint, that he needs to guard his heart against greed. It appears that Jesus saw this to be the greater threat and evil in the scenario. Don't let greed rule your heart because the true essence of being human cannot be acquired and cannot be measured through the accumulation of things. Therefore, don't let your character be contorted when others seem to be taking advantage of you.This is a message that the Western world really has hard time receiving. But this message is in perfect harmony with what Luke tells us about Jesus' teaching throughout Luke 12: "Do not be afraid" Jesus has been saying. Don't be grasping and clawing to protect "what is yours", stop stock piling to try to make yourself comfortable. "Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him!" This chapter is full of comfort and encouragement, but also deep challenge. In fact "encouragement" is as it sounds, a way to grant courage. That is what we need more than anything it seems. We need courage to ignore our fears and to trust God. This is the essence of being a Christian and it is how our father Abraham received approval. "Without faith, it is impossible to please God", says the writer to the Hebrews. And "Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." If there is one thing that we should take away from Luke 12, it should be the call to put our trust in the Lord completely.
Let us make this our one ambition, to trust in the Lord completely IN everything and FOR everything. This is the way forward, the way to experience God, the way to know that Jesus is alive , the way to be truly human. This is the way of real courage, beauty, and humanity.