Have you watched water boil, recently? As the flame contacts the surface of the pot, nothing much happens at first. Then slowly and gradually a few bubbles form on the bottom of the pot. Casually releasing from the bottom, they gingerly making their way to the surface. Then a few more bubbles form, and then others, and soon a steady stream of little bubbles rise, sometimes in straight lines like the pot has sprung a leak and started to let in air from the bottom.
But then the size of the bubbles grow as the core temperature of the pot rises and larger bubble release from the bottom and cascade rapidly to the surface, disrupting the equilibrium and causing waves to role across the water. And while it took a long time for the small bubbles to appear, it doesn’t take nearly as long for the large bubbles to multiply.
Soon bubbles are rising in wave after wave, originating continually across the entire bottom of the pot and jetting to the surface. The constant source of heat has pushed the internal temperature of the water to the boiling point and things are changing rapidly now. The bubbles are bursting forth uncontrollably on the surface, emitting powerful and dangerous steam that can burn anyone within reach. There’s no going back now, either the flame source is extinguished, or the contents are exhausted. One thing or the other must happen.
Can you visualize what I’m talking about? If so, then think about the interaction between the heating source and the contents of the pot. Imagine the flame having the ability to turn up the heat all by itself. Also, what if the water could somehow find a way in the midst of its boiling to splash out just enough to extinguish the flame and end it’s suffering. If you can see that picture in your mind’s eye, and you can feel the intensity of the battle that ensues, then you have a partial understanding of the story we are unpacking today from Luke’s Gospel.
Chapter 20 records a series of five consecutive events that all happen on the same day, each one taking us ever closer to the boiling point in the theological battle between Jesus and the religious elite. Steam is starting to rise from the pot as Jesus turns up the heat big time in our story today. I hope you can join us for the discussion as we trace Jesus’ step through passion week from the temple to the cross. We are getting closer and closer to the fulcrum event with each passing verse. And our study this week is a key event in that plot line.
For those unable to join us in person, please feel free to download the Bible study materials for your personal use by following one of these links: PowerPoint Slides, PDF File. Also, you can download files for previous weekly studies by visiting the following page on my blog: Doubtless Living: The Gospel of Luke.uke.