The same Hebrew word, shebet, refers both to the staff of a shepherd and the tribe. It is the exact same word. The staff of God is the premise, the reference, and the totality, not the community. In the land of Scripture, which is not your land, does not speak your language, does not conform to your norms, does not eat your food, and does not care about your values, there is no such thing as a flock, let alone a community. There is a shepherd-of-flock, in Hebrew, ro‘eh ṣon, who carries a staff.
In Luke 4, when God uses the mouth of Jesus to proffer his grace in Nazareth, the people of his own tribe turn their backs. They do so because they imagine that Jesus belongs to their tribe and is the son of their Joseph. Yet, from the moment Jesus said “no” to the Devil, God put his hand on him to control him “by the power of the Spirit…to preach the gospel to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
But the people from his own tribe were not satisfied because he did not speak by their hand, and it was not by the authority of their staff, under their control, for the benefit of the home team.
Truly, Truly I say to you, only a blinking idiot would pick a fight with the almighty, terrifying, and terrible God of Scripture over who owns the Lord Jesus Christ and who controls what comes out of his mouth.
Don’t laugh. People do it all the time.
Richard and I discuss Luke 4:20-27. (Episode 497)
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