“Seeing” in Luke

The Gospel Reading is Luke 17:5-10.

Last week, I invited us to “see” the people we do not normally see. Who we see and who is being seen are major themes in the gospel of Luke. Each time we read a text from Luke and Acts, we need to ask ourselves if sight is involved. We do this by quickly identify the major characters, their names, and what visual images are being used. We try to notice if anything is happening in the daytime (light) or is taking place at night (dark). On this first glance, we might not understand what this text is about but if we look for what’s seen and what isn’t, we can unpack what this text might mean for us.

So let’s take today’s text from Luke and ask these questions. If we remember last week’s commentary, Jesus is still traveling to Jerusalem. He’s teaching on-the-go and there are no large crowds following him today. As they talk, the apostles ask for their faith to increase. For them (and us), faith is not abstract. It has weight, value, depth, and height. If the apostles had enough faith, if they trusted in God enough, they might receive a blessing of some kind. What the apostles want is more.

This is where, I think, “seeing” plays a role. The apostles have a vision, an idea, of what their faith should look like. They’ve quantified their faith, created a measurement for it, and that’s what they are looking at. They “see” an expectation for their faith and how they are not meeting it. The apostles see failure so Jesus points their eyes to something else: what they actually have. We want to measure faith but we can’t. Instead, faith is something God gives us and even a little faith can do amazing things. We don’t need more faith to love like God loves us. We have Jesus and that’s more than enough.

Each week, I write a reflection on one of our scripture readings for the week. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship Bulletin for 10/02/2016.