Get Over Yourself! Luke 21:5-19

The Son of Man, many scholars feel, is the only Messianic label Jesus ever attached to himself. That sounds like something he would do, because this appellation had enough mystery in it that he could shape it to his own contours. Its existing meaning was "representative human," most explicitly mentioned in Hebrew Scriptures in Daniel (7:13f) and later connected with a future Messianic eschatological judge in such works as the Similitudes of Enoch and 4 Ezra.

Reliance on wealth and power. Following false teachings. Pointing our resources, time, and passion in a false direction with a false sense of urgency. Lacking any sense of urgency at all. All these obstacles to receiving Jesus now and preparing for his Advent in the future are implied in Luke 21:5-19.

The eloquent prediction of the coming of the Son of Man that comes shortly afterward, in Luke 21:25-28, underscores the challenge of our text for this morning.

Here a note from Joel Green's The Theology of the Gospel of Luke is illuminating:

Luke's emphasis on salvation in the present doesn't mean that he discounted the earlier Christian hope of the impending Parousia. In fact, Luke's presentation of the timing of the return of the Son of Man is more variegated. The end is very near, at hand, according to some texts (18:7-8; 21:31-32). According to others, a delay seems to be envisioned (12:45; 19:11). Two points are implied here. First, Luke has not simply collapsed the eschatological  hope of salvation into the present; the kingdom of God has a future element as well as a present one.

Second, Luke's presentation of the Parousia defies oversimplification; as regards its timing, "it is not for you to know" (Acts 1:7).
(Joel B. Green, The Theology of the Gospel of Luke, 97-98)

We can't be sure when, but we can be sure that the Son of Man is coming. That means that now is the time for us to stand up and raise our heads from our preoccupations with our wealth or lack thereof, our problems, our possessions, and our desire for personal influence and power. It is time to stop looking down. The best way to prepare for Advent is to identify these preoccupations as obstacles and then to stand up and raise our heads, because our redemption is drawing nigh. 

11/2/2010 4:00:00 AM
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  • Alyce McKenzie
    About Alonzo L. Gaskill
    Alonzo L. Gaskill is an author, editor, theologian, lecturer, and professor of World Religions. He holds degrees in philosophy, theology, and biblical studies. He has authored more than two-dozen books and numerous articles on various aspects of religion; with topics ranging from world religions and interfaith dialogue, to scriptural commentaries, texts on symbolism, sacred space, and ritual, and even devotional literature.