Monday, 22 September 2008

Finishing Luke

Have you noticed the final words of Luke's gospel?

and were continually in the temple blessing God.

It is the description of what the disciples were doing when they discovered that the mysterious individual who had been appearing among them was, as some suspected, the Lord Jesus risen from the dead.

Remember at the beginning of Luke that the reason he writes is for Theophilus,

that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

By the time that Luke finishes his gospel, he thinks he has achieved his goal. The result? Those who have certainty are in the temple 'blessing God'.

The Christian life is characterized by thankfulness, focussed on and inspired by the mighty work of God.


Unknown said...

Amen. Amen.

I wonder if you've moved slightly in the ideas from a more uncomfortable word (in our circles) blessing/praising to a tamer word thanksgiving.

Do you or others agree?

(However, if Piper et. al. are right and 'God IS the gospel' then I suppose there is not much difference between blessing/praising God for who he is and thanking God for who he is.)

Gordon Cheng said...

Yes, and I noticed the shift as I was writing it, Andrew. I left it as it was because I am not sure there is a difference, outside of feeling less comfortable with the one word than the other.

Because I noticed the shift in what I'd written, I decided to check the Greek to see what was going on and it was eulogountes ton theon, speaking the good (eu) word (logos) about God. So the meaning isn't disastrously affected by using 'thanksgiving'.

Why the discomfort? For myself, blessing seems more supernatural in nature, somehow more out of my control, even though it doesn't really mean anything different from 'thanksgiving'. So it is slightly embarrassing, a bit like admitting to a drug habit or saying 'thank God' amongst a group of school parents.