In today’s gospel, the Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign from heaven. They are testing him because they have no faith nor trust in him. Interestingly, faith-belief-trust, etymologically it is the same word in Greek. So rather than think about “faith” which sometimes befuddles people, let’s consider “trust” and our own experience of trust. Why do we trust some, not others? Continue reading
25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
Only Luke uses the word “signs” in this section. The same word was used earlier in the question “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” (Luke 21:7) and “…There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky”(v.11). Perhaps one remembers that Jesus’ opponents “to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven” (11:16). A little later Jesus responds to this request: “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.” (11:29-30) Continue reading
7 Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” 8 He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! 9 When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.
When and by what Sign? In v.7 an unnamed interlocutor(s) asked Jesus, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” Given the introduction in v.5 where the disciples are mentioned, one assumes the disciples are the audience. But one should note that nowhere else in Luke do the disciples call Jesus “teacher.” This is the eleventh time Jesus is so addressed and in none of the previous ten are the disciples the one addressing Jesus. Luke reserves the moniker “Teacher” for the Pharisees, lawyers, the crowd, the rich, Sadducees, and scribes. Given the larger context of Luke, it is more likely that while the disciples are present, Jesus is responding to those present in the Temple complex. Continue reading