11 May 2008

"Ahas" During the Readings

Hate it when that happens! I want to scribble it down lest I forget it as fast as it came along. In the Babel account, humanity is active: "let us, let us, let us" and afraid "lest we be dispersed." And thus at the heart of Babel is man's attempt to reach God, to do and to work, to storm heaven by our deeds. And the Lord rejects this utterly and scatters people. When Babel is reversed it is clear that it is not our doing, but His giving which accomplishes and delivers salvation.

And in the Gospel today, when our Lord says: "the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me." The ruler of this world HAS a claim [note that the word claim is absent from the Greek; literally, he has nothing in me], has a piece of all who have sinned. As in Narnia, the traitors belong to the white witch. Jesus makes it clear that what's about to befall Him does not come about from Satan having a piece of him, for Satan can never get his clutches into Him. Rather, what our Lord "rises" to go meet is simply what His Father has commanded Him to do, and that's the measure of His love for the Father that He receives even what awaits on Calvary in obedience.

"Yeah, Father, yeah most willingly I'll do what Thou commandest" as we sing.


John Hogg said...

What is the Lutheran understanding of, "The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and violent men take it by force."

Grace and peace,

William Weedon said...


Luther explains the passage: "That is to say: Men are not coerced by force to receive the Word, but they apply force to themselves."

Dannhauer calls the way faith apprehends the promise "as act of force by which the believer, while no violence is ever exerted upon him, drives with eager longing upon his object, as the eagle swoops down upon his food."

Thus, both use it to denote the eagerness with which God-wrought faith seizes hold of the promises in Christ. I believe this is also in harmony with Chrysostom, who speaks of appropriating the faith that is in Christ with earnest mind.

Did you hear in my mention of our salvation resting in God's giving a denial that faith "is a lively, active thing"? I hope not!