Pentecost 3, 2024

We ware all familiar with the many images Jesus uses of himself. In Easter we hear of Jesus the Good Shepherd, the Door, the Vine, and more. We depend on these comparisons and metaphors to describe Jesus and His work because without them we would be unable to grasp who He is or what He has done for us. Even something like redemption is a metaphor taken from the slave markets of old. Forgiveness was first what the banks are not going to do to your car loan, but they could.

This week we may get one of the strangest metaphors to describe Jesus of all. He is the good thief! He likens our enemy, Satan to a strong man who has a house. But Jesus has tied him up and is pillaging the house and taking all his possessions. Notice that last word of the prior sentence. When someone has a demon, we say that they are “possessed.” In that little metaphorical image of what it is that Jesus is doing, you are the treasures, the valuables stolen from the grip of our ancient foe.

There is hardly a metaphor which Jesus will not put into service as he fervently seeks to connect with people. These words are spoken in a moment of some tension as both his family and the religious leaders are questioning what He is doing. They do not understand Him. Is He insane? Is He possessed himself? What shall we say of Him this week? Shall we call Him the good thief who has broken into this world to plunder the devil’s treasures? You could do worse than that.

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