Entrapment- Trinkets or Jewels? Friday, 32nd week in ordinary time – Luke 17:26-37

Businessman stranding next to a trap

Entrapment -Trinkets or Jewels? Friday, 32nd week in ordinary time – Luke 17:26-37

The text of Luke 17:20- 18:8 calls the disciples to fidelity while waiting for the coming of the son of man. However, this larger pericope takes several twists and turns as Luke, from several eschatological materials available to him (matters dealing with the ed times), creates a series of exhortations for the disciples who are walking to Jerusalem with Jesus. In short, this large pericope is a series of teachings grouped together to form a set of instructions under one heading; the end times.

So far, Jesus has told his disciples that the kingdom of God has already been ushered yet there are those who distract themselves and distract others seeking visible signs of a divine reality. Verse 26 changes the focus from the suddenness of Jesus’ coming to the need for the disciples to be prepared (JBC). To this end Jesus offers two examples; Noah and Lot.

It is common for people to see those references and quickly think they were unusually evil. There is no question about the utter evil of both the days of Noah and the days of Lot to which Jesus refers, but Jesus does not mention any of those things. Instead, He points out the common events of everyday life. People were living with little to no thought about the consequences of the evil among them, and that was despite whatever Noah or Lot said.

That is what makes this passage so disturbing. While these two examples were times of extreme wickedness, it is not the sin to which Jesus points, but the indifference to God in just living out their lives doing the common things of life as they desired. It is at that point that judgment came upon them suddenly. Though they had plenty of warning, they were completely unprepared.

They believed life would just continue on as they had always known it. Is there really any difference in our own time and these descriptions Jesus gives? The Christian disciple must always be attuned to kingdom of God lest everyday concerns like eating and drinking, buying, planting, selling and building may replace active and personal waiting for the return of Jesus. We could point to the rising wickedness not only in our own society but around the world, but more disturbing is the indifference shown to the warnings being given about the consequences God will surely bring.

Hence verse 31 is given as an exhortation. Readiness implies a renunciation or a detachment from earthly possessions. When the Lord comes again, these earthly possessions will become a hindrance to discipleship and attachment to it will lead to one’s downfall. It is for this reason that a man on his rooftop should not come down to collect his belongings nor should the one in the field head home to gather his possessions. The earthly trinkets will be a pale shadow before the riches that Jesus has to offer. Whatever you had in the house is no longer of concern because life just radically changed, and the Lord will provide anything you actually need just as he did for Noah and Lot. Lot’s wife was immobilised because she could not leave the past behind her. Sadly, we may still be attached to trinkets while abandoning the jewel; Christ.

Security is not a matter of what we possess but who we possess. Jesus says that those who try to make their lives secure by their belongings will lose their lives but those who lose their life in the serves of the kingdom will reign in it forever. Our times certainly sound very much like Noah’s, where everyone seems so distracted, unable to concentrate on what is really important. But Jesus warns us that the time for decision can catch us unawares, and that it cannot be postponed indefinitely.

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