March 2017

180317 – Luke 17:22-37 (Vultures and the corpse)

V36-37

There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

The disciples question is phrased in a strange manner, but given the context of the previous verses, it can be assumed that they were asking about where these people were taken to – “Where will you take these people on the day the Son of Man is revealed?” The disciples seem almost in awe, that they are rendered near speechless, unable to phrase a proper question. Even after my study of Revelations, the day that Jesus Christ will be revealed has never quite struck me with such awe before.

Then comes the corpse. My initial impression of the verse, was that Jesus Christ Himself was the corpse, and that the vultures, drawn to His blood spilled out, will gather to Him in that day. But immediately there was a deep sense of discomfort with that interpretation; is  Jesus some sort of slain beast that we as His followers should devour? Surely this is not what was meant by ‘eat of this bread, it is my body’. The day that Jesus Christ is revealed is described in revelations as a day of triumph and victory; He is no longer appearing as a slain lamb, but as the “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (Rev 19:16) Strangely enough, in Revelations 19, it describes a scene where God invites the birds of the air to ‘gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men’. If anything from this interpretation, the corpse refers to the defeated army of men led by Satan, and vultures are literal vultures that God will invite to devour them in their defeat.

Another way of looking at the verse is that it is not symbolic of anything, and that what Jesus meant by this analogy was that, “it is obvious where you will be going”. This doesn’t really sit well with me, and leaves me a lot more confused than anything. Surely there are easier/clearer ways to answer, “the answer is obvious”.

So what then do I make of this account? TBH I’m not sure. The more I look at it, the more I feel like the disciples had a different question in mind when they said, “Where, Lord?” like it was less about where they would be taken to, and more about their curiousity towards the End Days as a whole.

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