week 8

Luke 18:1-17

This parable speaks to us about to always pray and never give up.  The widow is the symbol of all who were poor and defenseless.  It is so very apparent that she had nothing and she didn’t think that she would get justice from the judge.  One thing that she did have in her corner was persistence.

 This speaks to us in a special way.  I have had opportunities to pray for a long period over things in my life.  I don’t always expect to get whatever I pray for.  God doesn’t reject my prayers but he does sometime reject my requests.  We do not know what is going to happen in the next few moments, or the next week, or the next month or year.  God knows what is best for us in the long run.  This does not mean that we should ever grow weary in prayer.  Our faith in Christ will never fail if after having voiced our prayers and our requests, we add the important following sentence prayer, Thy will be done.   This helps us refine and gives our prayers the direction that they need to go.  Continue in your prayers, be faithful, be persistent but realize that our Heavenly Father knows all.  We can gain comfort in that.

 The Pharisee did not go to pray to God.  He prayed with Himself.  The prayers of a faithful person are offered to God and God alone.  This Pharisee did not go to pray; he went to tell God how really wonderful and good he was.  This tells us that no one who is proud can really give a sincere prayer.   Who do you compare yourself with?  When we put our lives beside the life of Christ all that we can say is, “God be merciful to me-a sinner.”

Luke 18:18-43

Have you ever been called Good and struggled to understand why?  In this portion of Luke, it was indisputable that this ruler was a good man, but in his heart he knew that something was missing.  Jesus told him that he would have to sell all of his possessions give them to the poor and then follow him.  The rich man was living a selfish life.  He was rich, and yet he gave nothing away.  His comfort was derived from his possessions and his wealth.  Many times in life we let desires and pleasures get in the way of true worship.  If the rich man was ever to find happiness he must give everything away and live for others with the same intensity with which he had so long lived for himself.

 

In verses 31-34—it was a grim truth that the cross was waiting for him.  Jesus tried to warn his disciples but the truth is they could not take in what he was saying to them.  They were obsessed with a conquering king.  We do the same thing on many occasions—listening to only what we want to hear.  Man struggles with the tendency to hear only what he wants to hear.  One thing is clear, Jesus never told about the cross without telling about the resurrection.  He knew what the power of God was going to do.

 

Verses 35-43—The one thing that stands out is the persistence of the blind man.  Jesus was teaching as he was walking.  When the blind man heard the approaching throng he asked what was happening and was told that Jesus was passing by.  Immediately he cried out for help and healing.  Everyone around cried out for him to be quiet so they could hear what Jesus was saying.  Nothing could stop the blind man.  The man was healed because Jesus stopped to help.  For Jesus it was more important to act than to walk.

Luke 19:1-27

This is one of the most famous stories in our Bible.  Even today, children often times can recite the song about Zacchaeus “climbing up in the sycamore tree.”  Jericho was a wealthy city and thus one of the best taxation centers in Palestine.  Zacchaeus was at the top of his profession and thus one of the most hated men in the region.  Zacchaeus had been wealthy but he wasn’t happy.  He had chosen a way in life that left him lonely and an outcast.  He knew that he needed something and that could be God in his thoughts.  Zacchaeus was desperate to see Jesus that day.  A miracle happened that day.  Not a healing of the body but a healing of the heart.   When Jesus announced to the crowd that he would be staying with Zacchaeus that day, Jesus made a new friend and changed the life of Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus made a decision to give half of his possessions to the poor and sell the other half to make restitution for the frauds which he had committed.  Zacchaeus was lost and when he was found he took his rightful place as a child in the household and family of his heavenly Father.

The Parable of the king and his servant illustrates important facts of the Christian life.  It first tells of the king’s trust.  He left them entirely to do what they thought best.  This is the same way that God trusts us.  He doesn’t stand over us.  Instead he allows us the privilege to do as we see best.  Second, the king has a test.  This is to see whether the servant was faithful and reliable in little things.  Third, it tells of the king’s reward.  The reward of God to man who has satisfied the test is more trust.  There is no standing still in the Christian life. We either advance or slip back.

Luke 19:28-48

Jesus planned his entry into Jerusalem in a precise way.   It was an act of defiance.  At this time there was a price on Jesus’s head.  It was bold and deliberate to ride in on a donkey while the whole city was watching.  It is noteworthy the courage that it took for Jesus to enter Jerusalem in this way.  During this period of time that Jesus did this, it was symbolic to ride a donkey.   In war, kings entered a city on a horse.  To ride a donkey was a symbol of peace.  Jesus entered as a king of love and peace and not as a conquering hero that the mob gathered in the city expected.  Even at the very end of his life he confronted the whole city with an invitation of love.

In verses 41-48 there are 3 separate actions.  First is Jesus’s lament over Jerusalem.  Jesus stopped and wept over Jerusalem.  He knew what was going to happen in the city.  Second, there is a cleansing of the temple.  In this account Luke is very basic (unlike Matthew’s account which gives greater detail).  The moneychangers were distinctly taking advantage of the poor. Third, Jesus was defiant in the Temple courts even though there was a price on his head.  The officials were reluctant to arrest him because the people hung on his every word.  Each time he spoke, Jesus took his life into his hands and he knew that it was only a matter of time when the end would come.  Jesus left us with an example to show that we should never be ashamed to show whose we are and to whom we serve.  Do you pattern your life like this?

Luke 20:1-19

The first portion of this passage can be described as a day of questioning.  The Jewish authorities came to Jesus with question after question to trap him.  Jesus saw this and answered in such a way that left them confounded and without response.  Their question of “what authority” was intended to find some reason to level a charge against Jesus.  Jesus claimed independent authority so that the authorities would not claim blasphemy and could not charge him with a crime.  The Pharisees refused to face and answer Jesus’s question and thus had to withdraw and remove themselves from the crowd.

In verses 9-19—This parable is very clear.  The vineyard represents Israel.  The tenants are the rulers of Israel.  The messengers are prophets that were not listened to, that were persecuted, and many were killed.  The son is Jesus.   The consequences are that Israel should have had a place of glory but was instead given to others.  This parable tells us some things about God.  First, that God is patient.  The owner gave the tenants a chance to do the right thing.  Second, it tells us that there is judgment.  The tenants thought they could get away with it.  The day of reckoning came.  This parable tells us something about Jesus.  First, it tells us he knew what was coming.  Jesus was unafraid and he was coming to carry out his mission.  For Jesus, there was no turning back.  Second, it tells us that Jesus never doubted God’s ultimate victory.   Sometimes in life we think that wickedness prevails, but in the end it cannot escape punishment.  Third, it makes the ultimate claim that Jesus is the Son of God.  The prophets were servants, he IS the SON.  In this parable, he made the claim that no one could fail to see God’s chosen One.