The Open Tomb, Eyes, Hearts, Minds, and Mouths

June 24, 2020 at 11:18 am | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, Luke | 2 Comments
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Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

I Corinthians 15:12-19

If the tomb is not empty… if Christ is not alive today… if the Resurrection didn’t happen, we are of all men – all people – most miserable. But the tomb is empty. Christ Jesus lives today. He lives forever. The Resurrection is not a myth, a fable, a mere belief, or even a spiritual illustration. It is a TRUTH, a FACT. Have you ever suffered and longed to see mercy? To see grace? There would have been no Resurrection without the Crucifixion. Therefore, we are of all men – of all people – most joyful.

There is much to say about the power of the Resurrection, about the power and meaning of the empty tomb, but there is also much to learn about the OPENING of the tomb. First, the opening of the tomb opened the eyes of the disciples. In Luke 24 we see that even Jesus used the Word of God.

And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

Luke 24:13

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:27

He taught about Himself. What a Sunday School class that must have been! Jesus showed how all the Scriptures applied to Him.

Once we see Him in the Word, we can feel Him in our hearts.

And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Luke 24:32

Then we can see Him in everyday things – even a common meal.

And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

Luke 24:35

First, the opening of the tomb opened the eyes of the disciples. Second, the opening of the tomb opened the minds of the disciples.

But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

Luke 24:37

They were terrified, even though He had spoken to them to calm their fears.

And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Luke 24:36

He showed them His hands and feet.

Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

Luke 24:39

He ate physical food.

And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.

Luke 24:42-43

But they were not really assured until He opened the Scriptures.

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Luke 24:45-47

This gave them understanding of how His suffering and death were necessary for the promises to be fulfilled.

Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

I Peter 1:10-12

First, the opening of the tomb opened the eyes of the disciples. Second, the opening of the tomb opened the minds of the disciples. Third, the opening of the tomb opened the mouths of the disciples.

And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Luke 24:48-49

Witnesses need power to be convincing. They are simply telling what happened, not really making an argument. So while we don’t witness FOR the Lord as much as His power witnesses THROUGH us, the motivation for our witnessing is HIM, as much as, or maybe even more so than, a loving desire to rescue lost sinners.

The Resurrection and its Credibility, Confidence, Comfort, and Conquest

June 10, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Posted in Luke | 2 Comments
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Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words,

Luke 24:1-8

The Resurrection is one of the most significant doctrines of the Christian faith. It is absolutely essential. The doctrine of the Resurrection provides:

1. Credibility

Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

Luke 18:31-34

Also, Jesus had said He would rebuild “this” temple in three days. The veracity of the Lord Jesus was at stake. Because He rose from death and lives we can believe everything He said.

2. Confidence

The boldness of the Apostles is attributed to the filling of the Holy Spirit and to their complete confidence in the Resurrection.

Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Acts 13:26-39

If Jesus could defeat death – if He could fulfill perfectly the prophecies made thousands of years before His death – He can forgive sins and even do what the Old Testament Law could not: He can JUSTIFY sinners.

3. Comfort

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14:1-3

Jesus died and and His body went into the grave, and then He came back. Death is the “last enemy,” but we are victorious over it in Jesus. No other belief system has a resurrected God.

4. Conquest

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Colossians 2:10-15

The Resurrection is the complete and utter triumph of Christ over all our enemies, and it is the complete and utter exposure of Satan and his minions for the imposters that they are. Jesus takes all spoils from Satan and shares them with His people. We are raised with Christ; we need to live like reigning victors, with the joy of new life now. Eternal life begins at salvation, not at death.

Religious Triflers, Realistic Traders, and Rabid Traitors

June 3, 2020 at 11:40 am | Posted in Luke | 1 Comment
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In the previous lesson on Luke 23, I called Herod a “religious trifler.” Pilate, however, was more of a “realistic trader.” For him, Jesus was a potential problem or a potential asset. He needed to be dealt with advantageously if possible, or expeditiously if not.

And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined [him] before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him: No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. I will therefore chastise him, and release him.

Luke 23:13-16

We have people today who are not really triflers. They don’t find Jesus entertaining at all, but secretly they find Him either advantageous: “I can make business connections or at least friendships at church;” or something which can be used in bargaining: “I’ll come to a children’s concert at church, but I won’t stand too much Jesus talk.” Pilate even offered the Jewish leaders Barrabas, the insurrectionist and murderer, but they cried out for the Crucifixion of Jesus instead. These were neither religious triflers, nor realistic traders; they were “rabid traitors.”

Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

Luke 23:20-25

These were like the people today who hate Jesus and Christianity, and they do not bother to hide it anymore. They call Christians intolerant while they themselves are tolerant of everything except Truth, and – like those very vocal Jewish leaders who shouted for Jesus’s death – they will carry the day in worldly culture mired in sin and spiritual darkness. Futhermore, if Christians aren’t careful, we will find ourselves yelling along in agreement with them and thinking of Jesus only as someone to be trifled with, entertained by, used for ulterior motives, or traded like a commodity when it suits us. Chirstians must remember that He is LORD. The humiliation He suffered led to His glorification, and He will never be humiliated like this again!

Jesus was then “scourged,” which, as administered by the Romans, was a horrible torture in and of itself. The crossbar of the Cross was laid on His shoulders, and He took His final walk to Golgotha – outside the gates of the city – falling once, so that Simon of Cyrene was enlisted to carry it for Him.

Jesus told the women who were following and weeping not to cry for Him, but for themselves and for Israel, because of what was coming in 70 years. Then we get this terse statement:

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

Luke 22:33

Crucifixion was a terrible form of death, sometimes lasting up to eight days. Dehydration, exhaustion, or suffocation were the contributing factors that typically led to death. It was a humiliating spectacle, but the people of Luke’s day had seen it done so frequently that it did not need to be described in detail for his readers.

And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,

Luke 23:36

And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

Luke 23:44

From noon until 3:00 p.m. may have been the time when the wrath of God was propitiated, to the extent that such an event could be said to have taken place in the temporal realm.

And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

Luke 23:45

The tearing of the Temple veil signified the opening of salvation to the gentiles, and also the tearing down of the partition between God and man for those who enter in to a relationship with Him and true worship of Him through Jesus instead of an earthly Holy of Holies.

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Luke 23:46

Jesus willingly gave up His own life, as touching His humanity. We sometimes say that He was murdered or killed, and that’s not incorrect, but the fact is that our own sin is more responsible for the death of Jesus than the Jews or the Romans, and, in the final analysis, He laid down His Own life. There is no greater love than a man laying down His life for His friends (John 15:13), and Jesus laid His down for His enemies!

And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:

Luke 23:50

The fact that Joseph was wealthy also fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy.

(The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.

Luke 23:51

Joseph and Nicodemus were Jewish religious leaders who had come to believe the Truth about Jesus.

This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.

Luke 23:52-53

This was a “borrowed” tomb rather than a donated tomb because Jesus would not stay in it.

And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Luke 23:54-56

The Lack of Respect for Jesus

May 20, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Luke | 3 Comments
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Jesus was betrayed by Judas with a kiss. A kiss of greeting was not uncommon among men in those days.

Then took they him, and led [him], and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.

Luke 22:54

Peter and Judas both betrayed Jesus. Both were sorry after having done so, but Peter repented and Judas did not. It’s not enough to be sorry and feel bad; true repentance involves confession and turning to back to God.

Luke’s acccount says that they took Jesus to the high priest’s house. Caiaphas was the high priest. John 18 tells us that they took Him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiphas, first, probably because it was nighttime, and they wanted to consult about the best way to handle Jesus’s execution.

And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him.

Luke 22:63

This was not a legal interrogation. It was a brutal beating by a gang of vicious thugs.

And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying,

Luke 22:64-66

This seems to indicate that they beat Him throuhgout the night, giving us tremendous respect for the physical toughness of Jesus in His humanity. Thus began sort of a human pinball game where Jesus was marched around Jerusalem being humiliated, back and forth from Annas and Caiaphas (two religious authorities) to Herod and Pilate (two government authorities) while they tried to get Him to admit that He claimed to be God, so they could execute Him for the crime of blasphemy, or to deny that He claimed to be God, so that they could call Him a liar. Jesus had a whole other purpose.

Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.

Luke 22:67-71

It is obvious that they understood Him to be claiming to be God incarnate, which is exactly who He was. Jesus was and is God. He claimed to be God when He had no reason to lie, when He could have possibly saved His life. Muslims, Mormons, other cults, and many heretics deny this, but it is true.

Jesus was then taken before the Roman authority.

And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.

Luke 23:1

Jesus did not not deny that He was King of the Jews, but Pilate clearly understood that He was not claiming to be a political king. He was not trying to overthrow the Roman government, which is what Pilate really cared about, so Pilate declared Him innocent.

Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.

Luke 23:4

No one ever found any actual fault in Jesus. Pilate had no real interest in getting involved until he heard a certain word: Galilee. That caused his ears to perk up.

And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean.

Luke 23:5-6

Galilee was a poorer region and had a reputation for spawning rebellion. Also, Herod the tetrarch was over Galilee, and Pilate could kill two birds with one stone: patch up a bad relationship with Herod and get rid of a potential source of more problems from Galilee.

Herod was at Jerusalem for the Passover. This was Herod Antipas, the son of the Herod who had tried to kill Jesus as a baby.

And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.

Luke 23:8

He was exceeding glad to see Jesus, which sounds very hopeful, but he was a type of what the old preachers called a religious trifler. These people come to church to see a show, or to hear a story, or to find something amusing or something that can make for a good anecdote. They are worse in some ways than those who will not come to church at all. There was a time when Herod had been at least somewhat fearful of God, but his conscience was now seared. He was wicked in his insensitivity to spiritual truth. Jesus was not a performer for triflers, and He never kowtowed to those who were willingly ignorant: spiritually deaf to truth but desiring to see some sort of religious show.

Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.

Luke 23:9

Jesus knew his heart, as proved by his subsequent treatment of Jesus:

And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.

Luke 23:11

“Set at nought” means they counted Him as trivial, unworthy of any respect. Herod’s and Pilate’s politcal alliance came at a high cost.

And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.

Luke 23:12

In the past, when I’ve studied the hours leading up to the Crucifixion, I’ve pictured myself standing there beside Jesus every step of the way, pleading with the Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities and the angry mob to let this innocent Man go free. But I’m afraid that we miss the point if we read the account that way. The fact is, Jesus was suffering for OUR sins during the torture He endured. When I am guilty of pride, that’s me having a turn punching the blindfolded Savior in the face (Luke 22:64). When I love things more than God, or myself more than other people, that’s me sitting with Herod humiliating the Son of Man (Luke 23:11). When I am dissatisfied with what God has given me, and I covet what someone else has, that’s me loudly demanding that the spotless Lamb be crucified (Luke 23:21). When I look with lust at someone other than my spouse, that’s me sneering at the suffering Messiah (Luke 23:35). Let’s honor the One Who shed His own blood for our souls.

The Most Memorable Meal

May 1, 2020 at 11:25 am | Posted in Luke | 2 Comments
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Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.

Luke 22:1-2

Note the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. They plotted the worst atrocity in the history of mankind during what was supposed to be a time of spiritual cleansing. Don’t cleanse your home and fail to cleanse your heart.

Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.

Luke 22:3-6

Judas solved the problem of a potential riot by conspiring to betray Jesus secretly, at night, but Jesus was not taken by surprise.

And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:

Luke 22:14-15

The Passover meal they shared was transformed into what we call the Lord’s Supper.

And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

Luke 22:17-20 (emphasis added)

We are supposed to observe the Lord’s Supper today: (1) in communion (“divide it among yourselves”); (2) in expectation (“until the Kingdom of God shall come”); (3) in identification (“This is my body”); and (4) in remembrance.

But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

Luke 22:21-24

This is how things work in the Kingdom of God, as compared to the kingdom of this world. “Greatness” has a different definition. In the world’s kingdom you are “great” if the next generations talk about you, but in the Kingdom of God you are “great” if the next generations talk about Jesus because of you.

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

Luke 22:31-34

Even the strongest men fail Jesus, but Jesus never fails anyone.

The Welcoming Committee

April 21, 2020 at 10:06 am | Posted in Luke | Leave a comment
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In Luke Chapter 21 Jesus gave His greatest prophetic sermon, the so-called “Olivet Discourse,” which is sometimes hotly contested and debated as to its meaning and implications. It is primarily directed toward a Jewish audience, but, because the Holy Spirit was having Luke write for a predominantly gentile audience, the sermon is also geared for more general application.

And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.

Luke 21:1

Giving gifts is good, but giving for the wrong reasons, while probably better than not giving at all, is still a sin.

And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.

Luke 21:2

These two mites were not intended as a “tip” or a mere afterthought.

And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:

Luke 21:3

He meant that she had given more, proportionately.

For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

Luke 21:4

Giving reveals the heart and it changes the heart. As Christians, we need to give in obedience and joy. God is more than generous with us; we need to reflect His generosity toward others.

And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,

Luke 21:5

The Jewish leaders were in the process of refurbishing the Temple.

As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

Luke 21:6

This was a shocking statement. We do not have a “temple” in which to meet with God. We have something – Someone – better: the Lord Jesus.

And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

Luke 21:8

1. Don’t be deceived.

This was going on immediately after Jesus’s death, it is still going on now, and will go on in the future.

But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

Luke 21:9

2. Don’t be afraid.

This happened in the Discples’ lifetimes, it is still happening now, and it will continue to happen.

Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

Luke 21:10-11

Some of these things have been happening, but others may be yet to occur.

But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony.

Luke 21:12-13

These things have already happened, but there is an application for us, too.

Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

Luke 21:14-15

3. Don’t worry about your response when the time comes.

And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls.

Luke 21:16-19

Our destinies are in God’s hands.

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Luke 21:34-36

Watch – while working – like when you are preparing for a storm. Some people prepare their own property for safety. Some people go out and see to the needs of others. But don’t sit and watch. Don’t get obsessed with predictions and date-setting and bickering over current affairs. Don’t be deceived; don’t be afraid; and don’t worry. As God’s redeemed children, we are not on the planning committee; we are on the welcoming committee.

The Stones of Confrontation

April 9, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Posted in Luke, The Stones that Don't Cry Out | 2 Comments
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The last parable of Jesus recorded in Luke is the so-called “Parable of the Bad Husbandmen.”

Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.

Luke 20:9-10

The “certain man” represents God and the vineyard represents Old Testament Israel. Vineyards were very common in those days, and the idea of Israel as God’s vineyard would have been very familiar to the Pharisees. Jesus intended the husbandmen to be respresentative of the Pharisees. The owner of the vineyard wanted an accounting from the husbandmen, but they beat up the servant (a symbol of the Old Testament prophets) of the owner instead.

And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.

Luke 20:11-12

This scenario kept repeating itself in Israel’s history, leading up to John the Baptist. The religious leaders of Israel had mocked and abused and tried to kill the Lord’s messengers.

Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.

Luke 20:13-14

This was shockingly evil, but the vineyard owner’s beloved Son typifies Jesus Himself, and this was precisely what the Pharisees were planning on doing: kicking God out of His Own Kingdom and keeping it for themselves. Let us beware that we do not try to do the same thing in our own hearts and lives.

So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.

Luke 20:15-16

God would stop trying to get the Jewish people to repent. He would destroy their vineyard and give it to gentiles.

And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Luke 20:17-18

There is a cost to rejecting Jesus, and that cost is more than loneliness, dissatisfaction, poverty, and unfulfillment. The cost is judgment and wrath. The image is of a millstone grinding God’s enemies to powder, not so familiar in our day, but very familiar in Jesus’s day, to common people and powerful people alike. Peter used this same theme, in a way, when he used the image of a building foundation/cornerstorne to preach against the Jewish authorities after Jesus’s Resurrection.

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Acts 4:10-12

And again:

Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

I Peter 2:6-8

Jesus is the Rock that you will build the foundation of your life on, or you will stumble over Him and you, not He, will be broken.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Isaiah 53:10

God crushed Jesus in our place, so that He does not have to crush us if we fall before Him.

Sadly, the chief priests and scribes did not respond correctly to this parable.

And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.

Luke 20:19

From this point on they were continually trying to gather some pretense for arresting Jesus, for they had already made the decision to kill Him.

From Investing to Interceding

March 30, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Posted in Luke | 1 Comment
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And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.

Luke 19:11

People were expecting a political and military revolution, but instead Jesus taught a parable. It is a parable about a nobleman or a king who had to leave his kingdom for a while, but is going to come back.

And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

Luke 19:13

He leaves some of his funds with these servants and tells them to “occupy” – to put the funds to use – to get busy investing or using the funds to advance the kingdom to show their loyalty or faithfulness. “Pounds” is translated from the Greek word mna, which was about three months’ wages or the rough equivalent of $5000 today. When the nobleman gets back, he asks three of them for an accounting.

Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.

Luke 19:16

That’s a pretty good return, like investing $5000 and receiving another $150,000 in return!

And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

Luke 19:7

The nobleman tells him he has done a good job, and that his reward is… more work! But it’s honorable work.

And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.

Luke 19:18

This is not as much, but still really good.

And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:

Luke 19:19-20

I’m no investment expert, but I’m thinking “hide the money in the napkin” is not the wisest investment plan – and certainly not the most proactive. Here’s his excuse:

For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:

Luke 19:21-22

The nobleman basically tells him that he’s dug his own hole. The servant knew “about” his master, but he didn’t “know” his master. We need to be aggressively investing our lives, our talents, our funds, and especially the Gospel, because our Master is kind, but He is also going to demand an accounting.

And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.

Luke 19:35

In the record of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem we see four attitudes about Him:

1. The Roman soldiers saw Jesus as innocuous.

This parade would have looked pretty silly to them. Do you have trouble taking Jesus seriously? You shouldn’t. He is eternally serious and significant.

2. The Jewish people saw Jesus as insurrectionary.

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

Luke 19:37-38

They wanted to see salvation in a visible way, and to see it right at that moment. They sang a Psalm of deliverance. They hoped Jesus would deliver them from Roman rule and re-establish the kingdom of Israel on earth the way King David had done. Do you see Jesus as only the answer to your financial or health or or marriage or parenting problems? I hope not. He is much more than that.

3. The religious leaders saw Him as inconvenient.

And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Luke 19:39-40

He was a threat to their religious profiteering. Do you see Jesus as inconvenient, as though He is in the way of your “fun” or your career or your social climbing? I hope not. Jesus is more important than all of those things combined.

4. Jesus saw Himself as intervening and interceding.

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

Luke 19:41-42

Jesus loved the people He came to live and die for, and He loves you today. Jesus got involved and He prayed and He did something about the problem. We must do these things also. The love of Jesus is real love.

The Gospel of Luke emphasizes Jesus’s humanity: He is shown joking, crying, compassionate, concerned, and even angry:

And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Luke 19:45-46

Matthew 21 and Mark 11 talk about Him turning over tables and casting out the religious profiteers who were desecrating the Court of the Gentiles. Jesus was not a faker. We should not be either. Be passionate rather than fake.

A Blind Beggar and a Short Order Crook

March 19, 2020 at 11:02 am | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, Luke | Leave a comment
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The Bible tells of two men who at first could not see Jesus – for different reasons. Was there a time when you wanted to see Jesus but could not? Do you remember what your reaction was the first time you did see Him?

And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:

Luke 18:35

Jericho was on the way to Jerusalem, which is where Jesus and His followers were going for Passover. This blind beggar had probably strategically placed himself in the path of religious people.

And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.

Luke 18:36-38

He used the Messianic title, pleading for mercy. He understood what the Disciples did not: that the One Who can “save” (sozo) – who could fulfill all the prophecies of the Messiah and truly deliver and heal blind people and cast out demons and make the lame to walk – was here, fulfilling the Scriptures. What an advertising campaign! Is this how you would choose to market your new business? Get some homeless blind guy to shout it out on the side of the highway? Or cause a disturbance somewhere, and when everybody gets mad at you, tell them all about it?

And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him, Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.

Luke 18:39-42

The man got his sight because of his faith. Faith comes by hearing, not by seeing. We walk by faith and not by sight, although a desire to see is a very good thing.

And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

Luke 19:1-2

Zacchaeus was not only a crook, but a chief crook and a rich crook. We might also call him a “short” order crook.

And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

Luke 19:3-4

Climbing up in a tree was not very dignified behavior for a rich publican.

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

Luke 19:5

How would you feel about Jesus inviting Himself to your house?

And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

Luke 19:6

When you see Jesus, follow Him, talk about Him, and praise Him with others.

And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

Luke 19:7

These people were talking about Zacchaeus, referring to Him as a sinner. Nobody ever really accused Jesus of being a sinner; they accused Him of being the friend of sinners.

And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

Luke 19:8

Zacchaeus’s reaction was the opposite of the rich young ruler’s reaction.

And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

Luke 19:9

The true sons of Abraham are those who are truly saved.

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Luke 19:10

Even the Rich Need to be Saved

February 26, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Luke | 1 Comment
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And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Luke 18:18

Matthew’s Gospel tells us that this ruler was also young and rich. Jesus is more than just a “good teacher.” In fact, a “good teacher” who claimed to be God, if He really wasn’t, couldn’t honestly be called a good teacher.

And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

Luke 18:19

Jesus was not denying His own Deity, but was establishing that this man had a low view of “good.”

Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.

Luke 18:20

Jesus listed Commandments 5 – 9 in the Decalogue, ommitting Number 10, against coveting, which turned out to be the real deal-breaker for the rich young man.

And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

Luke 18:21-27

camel and needle

The answer to the question, “Who can be saved?” is really, “No one can be saved – unless God does a miracle.” Why were the Disciples so surprised that it would be difficult for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God? It was not because they themselves were rich. The word for “saved” in Verse 26 is the Greek word sozo, and it describes more than being rescued; it describes being made whole, “healed” or “delivered” in the fullest medical, spiritual, military, Messianic sense.

Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Luke 18:28-30

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