Luke 12:54-59 NRSVue
54He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain,’ and so it happens. 55And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. 56You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
57“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58Thus when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to reach a settlement, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. 59I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”
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Some thoughts on this scripture
Jesus clearly feels that many of his listeners are too complacent about the call to conversion and they need to be shaken up.
In what way am I complacent? How is God calling me to live a new and better life and what are my resistances?
Can I allow Jesus to challenge my resistance?
Lord, you are shaking my complacency. You ask me to judge the signs of the times, to recognise what is evil, greedy and perverse and to take sides for justice and mercy. Teach me to interpret the present time with your eyes.
The realism of Jesus comes across in these sayings. The writer of the gospel in a persecuted society leans on sayings which advise taking notice of what is going on and the interpreting of what may happen in the future - with a recommendation, in a court case, to settle out of court if possible! It is not always easy to pray some of Jesus' sayings - here maybe we ask his help in the difficulties we face, and the humility to take the ordinary human steps we need to take in our varied dilemmas.
Prayer helps us to notice God in our lives. We can go back over a day or a week and notice where we found love given and love received, where we found the moments of depth in our lives, the call to help or to serve...all the different ways we can notice the presence and activity of God in life.