If you are fortunate to live under the pressure of the Gospel, sooner or later, your life will be reduced to a showdown with the Scriptural God. You will have the opportunity to be embarrassed, admit your failure, lose face, and look foolish in front of the person who preached the word of God to you. The problem is that you, like your teacher (along with everyone else), are no different than King Herod, his Hasmonean predecessors, or the cowards who worshipped them. You are terrified of losing control. Better to hold on and defend yourself. Everything is fine. You are in the right. You are justified. It is you who are the victim. It is others who should be held to account. I’m the boss of me, right? What’s playing on Disney tonight?
I just described the primary mechanism of the point of no return for every potential disciple. Each must face such a moment if we are serious about hearing Scripture. Not once, not twice, but over and over again. The first time, however, is the most critical. It is a kind of make-it-or-break opportunity along the lines of the Parable of the Sower. Why? Because cowardice and self-righteousness are evil twins. You fear the pain of the Bible’s piercing critique, so you choose the comfort and self-assuredness of being in the right and build massive defenses. Some people (actually, a ton of people, unfortunately) build entire religions. They imagine that these religions are “Bible-based” when, in truth, they are “Bible-reactions.” How else could you look forward to the cataclysmic judgment and doom of the Scriptural Kingdom as though it were an upcoming trip to a members-only version of Disney Land?
Thankfully, from generation to generation, the Lukan genealogy tells a different story – one that does not bode well for Herod, the Hasmoneans, and all those who are like them, everyone who trusts in them.
Richard and Fr. Marc discuss Luke 3:26 (Episode 480)
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