Who is included and excluded in Luke 13? Video conversation

The gospel lectionary reading for Lent 2 in this Year C is Luke 13.31–35, and once again the lectionary does us something of a disservice by cutting this short passage off from its surrounding narrative. That is not such a problem in relation to what follows, since Luke begins chapter 14 with a clear narrative break, ‘And it happened, he [Jesus] going to the house of a Pharisee on a sabbath…’ which is emphasised in many English translations by starting the sentence with the time marker: ‘One sabbath, Jesus went to…’. But the there is more of a problem in the detachment of the lectionary reading from the passage that precedes it, for several reasons.

James and Ian discuss the passage—how it needs to be read in context, and what the different elements mean—and the implications for our reading and our preaching on the issues that it raises.

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You can find the full details of the passage in the previous post here.

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7 thoughts on “Who is included and excluded in Luke 13? Video conversation”

  1. “At that very hour” is not a well-supported reading. “On the same day” is better. But fortunately you don’t construct anything on this.

    “Until” (Luke 13:35) does not mean the same as “unless”, so the suggestion that it does or can is really just to depart from responsible exegesis of the text to hand. Jesus is saying that Jerusalem will not see him again until his parousia in glory, when all Jews will hail him as coming in the name of Yahweh, as Yahweh. As discussed in the video, the saying seems to be displaced.

    As in the mass of comments following the written version, the key question regarding Luke 12:38 is: what does ‘saved’ mean? The answer is taken for granted (eternal life as opposed to hell/eternal forfeiture of life) but the passage that follows gives a context for ‘saved’ that says nothing about the resurrection and judgement before the throne but rather speaks about being left behind on earth. In addition, that context relates to the future, so it is specifically applying to a future generation that will be left behind on earth – not the billions who have already lived and died, awaiting resurrection. It seems better to understand it, therefore, as relating to a period after Messianic and Gentile believers are taken up to heaven, where they will recline at table to celebrate the marriage of the Lamb, while the earth experiences the short but dreadful period of wrath described in Rev 15-16. The weeping and gnashing of teeth takes place on earth. As Matt 25:32 indicates, when that period is over and the King comes with the saints to reign, there will be survivors and only then, still alive, will they face final judgement (Matt 25:34, 41). That will be on the basis of works. The sheep are those who were kind and merciful; the goats are those who were callous.

    • Er, the phrase in Greek is ‘Ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ’ It literally means ‘at that hour’. So I don’t really know what mean by ‘is not a well-supported reading’.

      The word in v 35 has a temporal sense—but even in English we use it as a conditional. ‘You cannot have your toy back until you say sorry’ is not about a duration of time, but a condition.

      I have no idea why you ignore the actual language Jesus uses here in order to push it into a construction chronology which we find nowhere in the NT. You have to add a whole load of stuff that is not there in order to create this. The ‘rapture’ is found nowhere, and the promise to those who believe is that they will ‘reign with him on earth forever’.

      • You need to be aware that there are variant readings. In this case, the better reading (cf. the KJV) is ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ἡμέρα, followed by Elzevir, Griesbach, Lachmann, Wordsworth, even Tregelles, the base text for the Tyndale NT (which nonetheless reads ‘Ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ’).

        Likewise, the best reading in Luke 13:35 is ἕως ἄν ἥξῃ ὅτε εἴπητε, not ἕως εἴπητε·, literally ‘until it come that you say’, i.e. until the time should come when you say. As you appear to be agreeing that the sense is temporal (with the subjunctive imparting some conditionality), to that extent we agree. But the best reading lays the conditionality on the time coming, not you saying.

        The rapture is referred to, directly and indirectly, in numerous places. As my original comment indicated, I agree that the saints will reign with him on earth.

  2. Good Morning,
    I am writing to ask if it might be possible to include reference to the other readings for the Sunday in question. I find that as a preacher I have to ask – maybe the third question in this sequence – what is the writer saying? What is Jesus saying? What does God want me to say as I preach Sunday by Sunday? Sometimes is is hard to find a common theme. In the case of this Sunday – Gen. 15:1-12, 17-18, Psalm 27, Phil 3:17-4:1 and Luke 13:31-35 – I have tended to find a focus on Responding to God. I find the erudite discussion of the gospel and the succeeding conversation video really helpful. The reading and discussion enliven my solitary and prayerful preparation. I was trained to try to use all three readings, and the psalm. Granted I am using the RCL as modified by the Episcopal Church (USA). I wonder if your discussion can, on occasion, reference the other readings in the lectionary. Blessings and best wishes – Ian M

  3. I really enjoy both your blog and these videos – to me as clearly for you context and deeper understanding is hugely important. So just adding to one of your comments in the video on Herod being described as a fox, I looked at this a few years ago and discovered Israel actually has four types of fox, one of which is the red fox that we are used to but far more common are two others the Blandford fox and the Ruppell’s fox. As you comment in Jewish terms this use of the word has none of the sly or cunning notations, this is not the world of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox nor does it have the attractive qualities we might indicate by use of the word foxy. My understanding is for a first century Jew, the fox was a religiously unclean animal and in rural Galilee was without doubt a pest, a nasty creature that lived in the ground and preyed on the small animals that were bred for food. So I understood that this very clear insult is more akin to us referring to someone as rat or as the Australians refer to their equivalent the dingo. (To be clear I am not disagreeing with anything you have said – rather I am supporting it)

  4. Hi Ian,
    I am intrigued by Luke’s statement, used seven times, but I forgot what it was so I listened to you again a second time but can’t find it.
    Mystery! My short term memory and … whatever it was that piqued my interest.
    Please help


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