Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Finger of God

In Luke 11.20, Jesus uses the phrase, “the finger of God.”[i] Woods explains the Jewish meaning of “the finger of God” in these words:

"Behind the Beelzebub pericope (Lk. 11:14-26) remains the issue of whether Jesus is a ‘true or false prophet.’ The true test is found at Deut. 13:1-5. It is not an issue of ‘signs or wonders’ being performed, for Jesus’ exorcisms were not denied. The true test was a theological one. It related to the revelation of God at the Exodus. Against this background, Jesus’ reference to the ‘finger of God’ at Lk. 11:20 was very appropriate, because it also answered the charge of Deut. 13:1-5 by stating that his exorcisms were performed by none other than the God of the Exodus. This established him as the true prophet like Moses (Acts 3:22), mighty in word and deed (Lk. 24:19; Acts 7:22). At this point Luke engages a pesher ‘This is that’ argument before a Jewish audience. Such an audience would have regarded God as the true author of miracle (Acts 2:22), in a typical Jewish fashion."[ii]

[i] Woods, Edward J., The 'finger of God' and pneumatology in Luke-Acts, (Sheffield, 2001), takes 261 pages to explain as the Jewish meaning of “the finger of God” within Luke 11.14-26.
[ii] Woods at 250.


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