Archive for November, 2012

Luke 19:7 (1-10) “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.

How did the crowd know Zaccheus was a sinner and what would that make them… righteous?

Just like a blind person would be lost in unfamiliar surroundings man, who was not made to sin, is lost in a world of sin. Our purpose for existing is to manage the planet (Genesis 1:26–28) and thereby praise God for His wisdom.

But in the garden (the training ground for man’s mission) man failed to follow God’s direction. So God kicked him out of the garden rendering him lost. Yet, some find their way back, like Zaccheus.

See all of us are lost, but not all of us are totally aware of it. Some of us have become aware of our being lost by the grace of God and are struggling to stay found in our everyday living. Just as Satan made it difficult for Adam and Eve to pass a simple test back in the garden, he continues today toward every one of us who has accepted Christ as our one and only savior.

Attentiveness involves looking, listening and learning the will of God, the way of God and the commands of God.

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Luke 18:41 (28-43, Matthew 20:29–34, Mark 10:46–52) “Lord, I want to regain my sight!

I don’t know if Luke did this on purpose, but right after speaking to His blind disciples Jesus next encounter is with another blind man.

Remembering that Luke is a doctor, his language was specific. The blind man asks for his sight to be restored. So, he wasn’t always blind. We’re not told what took his vision, only that he wanted it back. Yet, a lack of vision didn’t keep the man from asking what was going on. As much as he wanted his vision restored it had not kept him from living.

Again notice that with Luke’s precision after the man receives his sight he gives praise to God and causes those who see him to praise God as well, 18:43. So whereas the disciples saw Jesus as the Messiah ushering in the Millennium, the blind man saw God meeting his present need.

The disciples had then become blind to the question of what were all the prophecies concerning the Messiah and where in that timetable they were. Don’t let yourself be blinded by the things around you to the things God has done, is doing and will do.

Attentiveness involves looking, listening and learning the will of God, the way of God and the commands of God.

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Luke 18:34 (28-34, Matthew 20:17–19, Mark 10:32–34) “But the disciples understood none of theses things,

When Peter said that they had left everything to follow Him, I think it triggered two thoughts in Jesus mind. First He responded to Peter with the encouragement that our physical family we leave behind is being replaced with new family both now and in the future, 18:30.

His second thought was that the day of being able to finally see and receive that whole family was about to become very much closer. Jesus tells His disciples that He is about to go up and fulfill a major portion of the prophecies concerning Him.

But the mind of the disciples was not there. Matthew (20:20–28) and Mark (10:35–45) tell us that they were thinking about heaven and having, what they thought was, the most important relationship of all; the kings ear. Yet, Luke doesn’t mention it at all.

I think Luke doesn’t mention it because he wants us to see that our purpose for leaving the world behind is not for the things we’ll get in heaven, but because as our Lord left so much behind for us we should also for Him.

Gratefulness implies my willingness to pay Him back although I know it’s not possible.

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November 27.12 ethot

Luke 18:17 (15-30, Matthew 19:13–29, Mark 10:13–30) “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.

This verse is not saying that you have to be a screaming baby to enter the kingdom of God, but like one you must be dependent. Although those who brought their babies to Jesus weren’t necessarily looking for entrance into the kingdom they were looking for a blessing.

Jesus points out to His disciples that this was the reason for His being here, to bless us with the greatest blessing of all, entrance into His kingdom. Apparently since He mentioned the kingdom a rich young ruler took advantage of the moment and asked what else (essentially) did he have to do to enter the kingdom.

So Jesus gave him something to do, but he couldn’t. He must have thought that his youth, riches and power were evidence that he was worthy enough already. Yet, he had not understood Jesus words; a baby doesn’t come with anything but his need. It’s not what we have here that guarantees our entrance; it’s what has been reserved in heaven already that will make the difference, 1 Peter 1:3–9.

Faith involves resting all my hopes for tomorrow on God’s proven promises rather than on man’s faltering word.

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Luke 18:13 (1-14) “the sinner!

Since Jesus was talking about the coming of His kingdom we would naturally assume that we could or should start praying for His quick return. But that might assume prayer could make God change His timetable.

A human judge might be able to have his mind changed, 18:1–8, but not likely God. So not only what we ask for should be thought over carefully but our attitude when in prayer should also be considered.

The two men Jesus compared, on the surface, couldn’t have been more opposites. In reality they were both rich and didn’t actually work to get it. Yet they saw themselves completely differently. The Pharisee assumed he had become more righteous in the eyes of God as if he could actually change who he was before God.

Only God can change us from not being right before Him to being right before Him. In this life we can only hope to make ourselves more useful to Him. Being right before God does make us better than anyone else… after death. For now we are still sinning so when we go to God in prayer we never go assuming we deserve anything more than anyone else.

Humility involves recognizing the mercy and grace of God in our election.

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Luke 18:8 (1-8) “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?
Right after explaining that they were going to go through hard times as a result of His death, He attempts to make them see that they will not be alone in their struggle to spread the news about hope for the day of final judgment.
His point being that if a Godless judge would give out justice, then their Father in heaven was sure to give them justice in their need.
But just like in the case of the widow looking for justice, as Jesus followers, we should never give up praying (presenting our requests) no matter how impossible our circumstances might seem. Jesus is not saying that prayer is the way we force God’s hand into action in our favor, prayer is the way we remember who we are and what our purpose is, no matter how difficult things get.
These words of encouragement are given because being faithful until His return will not be easy, 18:8.
Loyalty involves remembering that God is in control and has placed me where I am to demonstrate my commitment to Him through those He has called me to serve.

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Luke 17:17 (20-37) “For behold the kingdom of God is in your midst.

It’s interesting that although the Pharisees ask the question the full answer is given to the disciples… the one who will actually listen. Remember the Pharisees weren’t looking for truth, they were looking for ways to accuse Jesus of breaking the Law, 11:54.

I think that the kingdom of God the Pharisees were talking about was the Millennial kingdom. But Jesus answer was that with His presence they were experiencing that kingdom, like a preview. Then He describes what was about to come, His death and their longing to see Him again. Jesus will return, but no one will know the exact date. Although, we should be able to tell that things are getting bad like in the days of Noah and Lot, His return will be sudden.

Since the Pharisees asked about the Millennial kingdom Jesus limited His response to it. So the descriptions He then gives are of the coming of that kingdom and have nothing to do with the Rapture of the church. On the day He returns to establish that kingdom people will either enter into it or not, this has nothing to do with salvation from ultimate judgment. Remember the daughters of Lot were saved from the Sodom judgment, but they were certainly not saved.

Alertness is not just to danger. It involves paying attention toopportunities God presents for real change, right now.

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Luke 17:17 (1-19) “Were there not ten cleansed?

In the Old Testament there were rules or procedures for those who had skin diseases, like leprosy to follow, Leviticus 13 & 14. In this occurrence we see ten lepers appropriately standing at a distance. They were following the rules.

Recognizing that Jesus was someone special they called out to Him asking for mercy. And, Jesus responded commanding them to go to the priests and show themselves. This was done to prove they had been healed. So the ten followed the rule.

But, one didn’t. In the group of ten was a Samaritan. Samaritans were half breads and considered worse then a gentile. So I’m guessing he walked a few steps behind the nine. They all must have noticed that the leprosy had disappeared from there bodies, but only one thought he would have enough time to return to his healer and say thanks before seeing the priest.

Jesus doesn’t want us to merely be rule followers, he wants us to understand their meaning and purpose and follow that, 17:18. The Pharisees had gotten themselves tangled up in rules for the sake of rules… don’t forget the purpose and value of rules!

Wisdom involves applying basic principles in every situation we’re confronted with.

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Luke 17:10 (1-10) “We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.”

In a veiled attack at the Pharisees Jesus here points out that they had become stumbling blocks to the spiritual development of the very ones they were supposedly committed to help.

They had failed to recognize what every good teacher knows about their students… students make mistakes, lots of mistakes. Many times it seems like they make the same mistake over and over, but it’s just until they understand. Patient persistence will eventually equal success more times than not.

Yet, as good teachers, we forget that it is not an extra effort we are making, it is just part of the job. Doing our job as teachers, whether in an academic program or Sunday school, doesn’t require extra recognition of our efforts on the part of others. Yes, I believe that a teacher’s job may be harder than most, but we make the commitment or contract to do the job and that is all we deserve, no more, no less.

The question the Pharisees had forgotten to ask themselves as teachers of the Law was, had they at the end of the day at the very least done the job? It is the very same question good teachers need to ask themselves every day.

Love involves seeing the basic need of another and meeting it, as I would want another to meet mine.

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Luke 16:31 (14-31) “But he said to him, If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will no be persuades even if someone rises from the dead.”

In the story of Lazarus and the rich man it is odd that the rich man would ask for the kind of mercy he failed or refused to display to Lazarus when he could have. But was it possible that the rich man was a Pharisees and couldn’t touch Lazarus because he was unclean being obviously a sinner. Then would he have permitted Lazarus to be in his presence just to highlight his own righteousness?

If the rich man would have actually read, listened to and put into practice the words of Moses and the Prophets (the Bible as it existed in those days, all 39 books of what we now call the Old Testament) he would have avoided the mess he was now in.

Abraham tells the rich man that his brothers have the same opportunity to listen with the intent to act on the word of God to them as he did. If having the dead return to warn would be enough to change people’s hearts, then what would be the value of God’s word? (God later did try this, Matthew 27:50–53)

In a way this story is a prophecy in that the Pharisees didn’t believe even though Jesus was raised from the dead.

Love involves seeing the basic need of another and meeting it, as I would want another to meet mine.

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