Today’s readings.. (Leviticus 27), (Psalms 140,141,142), (Luke 10)
Jesus spoke in parables, stories that were not necessarily factual because their purpose was to drive home some principle about the spiritual meaning of life. In Luke 10 we encounter some one word parables and phrases that are so obviously not literal. He did many miracles in Capernaum and other cities. He challenges, “If the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon they would have repented long ago ..” [Luke 10:13]
Capernaum had been the scene of many miracles, but it did not spark a spirit of repentance! They pursued Christ for more mass feeding on loaves and fishes and the Master lamented, when they found him on the other side of the lake, “you are seeking me not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the fill of the loaves.” [John 6:26]
This attitude leads Jesus to say, “… you Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades” [Luke 10:15] The city experienced seeing heavenly powers which it failed to react to. Its reward for this failure would be by going “down to Hades” That’s “Hell” in the old A V Bible, the grave, in many modern versions. And Capernaum did die for 1500 years – until archaeologists uncovered its ruins; so it was brought down to Hades.
In Luke 12 we read how Jesus makes a significant point, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.” [Luke 12:48] The people of Capernaum failed on this important principle. Can we fail in this way today?
Jesus’ disciples are sent out on a successful preaching and healing mission and when they return Jesus says, “I saw Satan like lightning fall from heaven” [Luke 10:18]. Again, obviously not be understood literally! We have seen the symbolic meeting of heaven! It means that the enemies of Jesus, those seeking his destruction, were “disarmed” by the demonstrations of heaven’s power and lost their position as heaven’s representatives. We see in Luke 11 how Jesus ridicules their attempts to deny the heavenly powers of Jesus [Luke 11:15-23], he ends by saying, “Whoever is not with me is against me…” We can take no neutral position when it comes to our personal relationship with Jesus. We must remember that!