9/12/2001

In-Your-Face Preaching (Luke 17:5-10)


(This article appeared in The Christian Century, September 12-19, 2001, p. 19. Copyright by The Christian Century Foundation; used by permission. Current articles and subscription information can be found at www.christiancentury.org. . This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.)


Jesus is reported to have said, "The law and the prophets were in effect until John came; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone tries to enter it by force" (Luke 16:16). This might also be read, "The law and the prophets reigned until John, but now we are confronted with the preaching of God’s reign, and people demand to be part of it."

Jesus just won’t let go. Over and over again in Luke’s long narrative of Jesus’ interactions on the road to Jerusalem, Jesus persists in his effort to make us squarely face the fact that it is the reign of God that he is proclaiming and confronting us with -- not the reign of human perfectibility or even life under the law. He pushes and pushes against every excuse, every modification and every "weasel way" out of that confrontation we can invent. ...

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