Friday, June 15, 2012

Daily Bible Reading: Tobit 9-10 and Luke 22

Tobit 9 – Tobias sends Azariah (Raphael) to Gabael, the cousin of his father with whom he long ago left the silver. He also lives in Media. Tobias wants him to come to the wedding feast that is planned. Azariah goes to Gabael, presents him with the receipt [Tobit’s half] and tells him about the marriage of Tobias and Sarah. The seals to the sacks of silver are “still intact” (9:7). They load the silver on the camels and the next morning set off for the feast together. When Gabael sees Tobias, he is overcome with joy. He looks so much like his father.

Tobit 10 – Back at home in Nineveh, Tobit waits anxiously for his son to return. But his mother, Anna, is really despairing. Raguel, Sarah’s father, has insisted that Tobias stay at their home for fourteen days of feasting, and Tobias knows his father and mother must be very worried about him.

When the fourteen days are over, Tobias and Sarah leave. Raguel, true to his promise, “gave Tobias half his wealth, menservants and maidservants, oxen and sheep, donkeys and camels, clothes and money and household things. And so he let them leave happily” (9:10-11). They leave with words of blessing and hopes of seeing them and the children they know they will have sometime again.

Luke 22 – Passover is near. The chief priests and scribes are still “looking for a way to put Jesus to death” (22:2). Satan enters into Judas; he arranges to betray Jesus for money. It is the day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed; Jesus sends Peter and John to prepare for their meal.

When they gather, Jesus says, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; . . . I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (22:16). He thanks God and shares bread and wine with his friends—his body and blood, which will be “poured out for you,” the “new covenant in my blood” (22:17-20). He tells them that the one who betrayed him is at the table. The “Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!” (22:22)
Luke puts the dispute over who is going to be the greatest here; in Matthew and Mark, it takes place much earlier in Jesus’ ministry (Matt. 18:1 and Mark 9:33). Jesus’ admonition to them is that “the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves” (22:26). Jesus says, “you are those who have stood by me in my trial; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (22:29-30). He tells Simon that Satan will “sift all of you like wheat,” but he will pray for them that their faith will not fail. He asks Simon to “strengthen your brothers” (22:32) once he “turns back.” And he predicts Peter’s denials of him. 
He reminds them of when he sent them out with nothing, how they lacked for nothing.  But now they must go armed with purses, bags and swords.  They show him two swords they have and he replies, “it is enough” (22:38). They are not understanding him again, and I confess I am with the disciples in their confusion.

After dinner, he goes out as he usually did to the Mount of Olives; the disciples go with him.  He leaves them a little bit away from him and tells them to pray that they will not fail at the time of trial.  Then he goes and prays, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (22:42). An angel from heaven strengthens him. Then he prays even more earnestly and “his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground” (22:43-44). The Jerusalem Bible note says some ancient manuscripts do not have verses 43 and 44. When he concludes his anguished prayer, he comes to find his disciples all sleeping “because of grief,” (22:45) and he rebukes them mildly.
Suddenly a crowd comes and Judas approaches Jesus to kiss him. Jesus says, “Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?” (22:48) His disciples ask if they should strike out, and one of them cuts an ear off of the high priest’s slave.  Jesus rebukes them and heals the ear.  To the chief priests, officers of the Temple guard and elders, Jesus says “this is your hour to act, when the power of darkness rules” (22:53).
They bring him to the high priest’s house with Peter following at a distance. They all go to a courtyard when there is a fire burning that people are huddling around, and a slave girl approaches Peter, saying that he “was with Jesus” (22:56). Peter denies that he knows Jesus. Twice more he is identified and twice more he denies knowing him; Jesus, who is also in the courtyard, “looked straight at Peter and Peter remembered that the Lord had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly” (22:61-62).
The guards mock Jesus and beat him.  They tell him to prophesy, blindfolding him and telling him to tell them who is beating him.  The next morning, they take him to a council of elders, chief priests and scribes.  They ask him if he is the Messiah. He says, “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God” (22:67-69). They ask him if he is saying he’s the Son of God? “He said to them, ‘You say that I am’” (22:70), and they take it as terrible blasphemy, a confession in fact. 

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