Reading Luke 13:31-35

A reading for the second Sunday in Lent: Luke 13:31-35

This is one of those texts that makes following the the Revised Common Lectionary a challenge. Often we people speak of the discipline of the lectionary, they talk about the way it forces you to deal with “hard” texts like divorce and carrying your cross and hating your mother. But it is texts like this one that I find the most challenging.

When I preach, I try to find a way past lecturing about a passage. I don’t want to educate people about the Bible, I want to preach a message that comes out of the Bible but gets as close to the gut and as far from the head as possible.

With texts like this one, I have a hard time doing that. I have a hard time opening up questions that speak to the spiritual state of the congregation. The closest I come feels like missing the heart of the text: Jesus did today’s work today and did not let what was coming down the road intimidate him.

I think of the hymn “Work for the Night is Coming.”

There is a sermon in there somewhere, but this week I think I’ll end up preaching on Philippians.

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4 thoughts on “Reading Luke 13:31-35

  1. This definitely feels like one of those weeks where the excerpting that the lectionary does makes preaching difficult, especially if you don’t want to get bogged down in explaining the context of what all is happening.

  2. As a fellow lectionary preacher, I feel your pain. There are times when I read the Scriptures passages listed and sigh as I see little to work with (the fault there is my own to be sure). But, if I may be so bold, I think that this passage has something that gets very “close to the gut”. We see Jesus in lament, deeply upset and grieving, because of the spiritual condition of Jerusalem and all of Israel. Jesus is heart-broken over their stubborn defiance and rebellion. Do we, as Christians, as followers of Christ, share his pain and anguish over the lost in our communities? Over the lost in our own churches? I feel a gut punch as I read that passage. I feel convicted about being too focused on “running the church” and not having enough focus on saving souls (or as much focus as I feel Christ would want). Just my two cents! Keep up the good work John! I enjoy your blog and your thoughts!

  3. “When I preach, I try to find a way past lecturing about a passage. I don’t want to educate people about the Bible, I want to preach a message that comes out of the Bible but gets as close to the gut and as far from the head as possible.”

    Interesting comment when you consider United Methodists are known for their zeal and not their great theology.

    “The extraordinary success of his preaching which urgently demanded ministers for the ever-increasing number of his followers, led to the appointment, in the early history of Methodism, of preachers more commendable for their religious zeal than remarkable for their theological learning. Indeed, for a comparatively long period, the opposition of Methodists to schools of theology was pronounced. ”

    One historical account puts it this way.

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