Original Research

A kairos for the lowly? Reflections on Luke's story of a rejected fortune or tyche and lessons for South Africa

McGlory Speckman
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 37, No 1 | a1550 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v37i1.1550 | © 2016 McGlory Speckman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 November 2015 | Published: 17 June 2016

About the author(s)

McGlory Speckman, Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


This article argues that failure of Jerusalem to accept or recognise its fortune (Lk 19:41–44) may be ascribed to a difference in expectations between the Temple rulers and the lowly, who interacted with Jesus at their level. At the outset, the kairos was anticipated and welcomed by the lowly, and throughout the two-part narrative the respective attitudes of the lowly and Temple rulers towards Jesus are contrasted, whilst conflict between Jesus and the latter culminated in the crucifixion. The problem as suggested by the narrative is that a highly political messianic programme may have been expected, whereas Jesus offered an individual and community empowerment as the content of God’s kairos. The article concludes that the content of a kairos is determined by the potential beneficiaries; its delivery vehicle and timing (kairos) are God’s prerogative, whereas the ability to recognise and accept it is predicated on a consensus among beneficiaries about the content. South Africa should learn from this if its National Development Plan is to become a reality.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article employs insights from the narrative approach and Greek mythology to question the sterile approach to the kairos discourse. It introduces a new hermeneutical and epistemological paradigm that opens up possibilities for a developmental approach and sheds light on the behaviours of Jerusalem and the early Church. In the process, views from Biblical Studies, Hermeneutics and Church History are engaged.

Keywords: Biblical Studies; Hermeneutics; Church History; Development Studies; Religion Studies


Biblical Studies; Hermeneutics; Church History; Development Studies; Religion Studies


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