Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daily Bible Reading: Tobit 5-6 and Luke 20

Tobit 5 – Tobias answers that he will go and try to get the silver his father left in Media some twenty years earlier, but he wonders how he will get the money since the man to whom it was given does not know him. Tobit says that he “set his signature to a note which I cut in two, so that each could keep half of it. I took one piece, and put the other with the silver” (5:3). CLEVER!

Tobias needs to get someone who knows how to get to Media; so he does. He finds the angel Raphael (without knowing he is an angel). He brings him in to meet his father and when he does Tobit bewails his blindness. The angel tells him he will be healed. Tobit asks him what tribe he is from and the angel tells him he is Azariah, son of one of Tobit’s relatives. Tobit tells Azariah/Gabriel that he will pay him to guide his son. They prepare to leave. Tobias’ mother cries, but Tobit tells her not to worry.

Tobit 6 – They leave and spend the first night by the Tigris River. A big fish leaps from the water and tries to take off Tobias’ foot, but the angel gets Tobias to catch it and take its innards for medicines and eat some of it. When he asks, the angel tell Tobias that the heart and liver of the fish, if burned in the presence of someone afflicted by a demon or evil spirit will cause the evil spirit to flee. And the gall can be used to anoint a person’s eyes if they have a film on them. Clearly this fish will be used to help both Sarah and Tobit – they suffer from both of these things.
They arrive near Ecbatana and go to the home of Raguel. The angel tells Tobias that Raguel has a daughter who is very sensible and pretty. And Raphael tells Tobias that he has a right to marry her because she is from the same tribe, and that the marriage will be arranged that very night. Tobias has heard the stories about her having been married to seven husbands who all died because of some demon who kills them. Tobias is advised to burn the heart and liver on some incense when he goes to consummate the marriage. “Do not be afraid, for she was set apart for you before the world was made” (6:18). Tobias is very drawn to her. He “fell so deeply in love with her that he could no longer call his heart his own” (6:18).

Luke 20 – By what authority is Jesus teaching.  He knows they are simply trying to trap him, so he turns the question around and asks about where John the Baptist’s authority came from.  They won’t answer that because they fear the crowd’s love of John and faith in his prophetic identity.

Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard owner who sends servants to collect his share of the produce, and how they are always insulted or injured - they are never killed in the Lucan version. You can compare Matthew 21:33 and Mark 12:1. Finally the vineyard owner sends his beloved son; but this inspires only a conspiracy to kill him and take the property.  What will the owner do? “He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to other” (20:16).

He [the owner’s son] is the stone the builders rejected. “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls” (20:8). Again, the analogy is meant to show the DANGER people expose themselves to when they do not recognize the importance of this son.
As part of the plan to trap Jesus, the teachers of the Law ask him if it is lawful for them to pay taxes to the emperor or not.  He takes a coin and shows them the head and inscription on it—that it is the emperor’s. “Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s and to God the things that are God’s” (20:25).
Sadducees, who doubt the idea of bodily resurrection, challenge him with a story of the childless woman and her seven husbands.  They ask whose wife she will be when the “resurrection of the dead” happens. Jesus says they will not be as they were in this life; they will be like angels.  He argues that Moses himself taught that the dead are raised, for he speaks about the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob; but God is God of the living, not the dead.
And how can the Messiah be a son of David, for in the psalms it says “the Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand. . .” (20:41-44). If David calls him Lord, he cannot be his son.  Jesus appears here to be trying to tell people that the concept of the Messiah they have is not accurate—he will not be a Davidic heir but something more.  The Messiah David was looking toward would have been his Lord too, not his son or heir.
Jesus warns people against the hypocritical testimony of the scribes—that they love to have all the accoutrements of holiness and importance but not the real substance of righteousness.

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