27 December 2012

Jesus Taught Not Everyone Accepts the Invitation

Luke 14:15-24

Jesus sees the back of the room.  The back of the room sees Jesus.  The front of the room?

After Jesus teaches about the folly of popularity and the importance of genuine hospitality, a man responds, "Blessed is the one who eats at the feast in the kingdom of God."  And the expert teacher responds to the correct statement turning the attention from those who invite to the One who sends the ultimate invitation.

24 October 2012

Jesus Sees The Back of the Room

Luke 14:7-14

Our ability is great, but our motives are petty.  We the people have seemingly always been able to accomplish just about everything we want to accomplish.  What we want to accomplish, unfortunately, doesn't amount to much.

What do we want?  We want to matter.  And, for the vast majority of us, we think that mattering comes down to amassing fortune and glory.  Through our various gifts, our strength, our intelligence, our charisma, we seek to influence those around us so that our will is done.  We quickly learn what makes people take notice, what people value, and we pursue it.

19 September 2012

Jesus Defiantly Heals

Luke 14:1-6

Do you think Jesus and the recorders of his ministry are trying to make a point?

Again, Jesus is invited to eat at a religious leader's house.  And he accepts.  Again, Jesus is confronted with a man in need.  And he heals.  Again, he questions the religious leaders on their hard hearts and points out their hypocrisy.  And, again, the religious leaders have no real answer.

On this occasion, they were closely watching Jesus.  Their suspicions about what Jesus would do audaciously reveals just how hard their hearts truly are.

16 September 2012

Jesus Will Not Save Everyone

Luke 13:22-35

We are the problem.

Why does a child die days before an expectant mother and father anticipate his birth?  Why does a grandfather die before having the opportunity to meet his grandchildren?  Why do species become extinct?  Why do we live within a constant state of entropy? 

We are the problem.

Death was never part of the natural order.  Hate was never meant to be.  Murder is an abomination.  It's all our fault.  And until we accept this fact, this life will continue to frustrate us to our core.

11 September 2012

Jesus Is Not Believed By Everyone

John 10:22-42

Jesus gave sight to the blind.  Jesus gave the ability to walk to the crippled.  Jesus made lepers whole.  Jesus fed crowds.  Jesus taught perfectly with authority.  Jesus showed kindness.  Jesus was hated.

Is this possible?  Surely, if someone went around helping others, if someone gave to others perfectly without any possessions of their own, if someone came as a perfect representative of the Living God who brought life, love and hope wherever they travelled, surely everyone would love him.  Such a man would not generate such hate?

08 March 2012

Jesus Teaches There's Never a Wrong Time to Love

James Tissot
Luke 13:10-17

How many times have we come across this scene so far?  Jesus is walking, teaching, etc... Jesus comes to someone or someone comes to Jesus in severe need.  Jesus miraculously meets their need.  Religious leaders don't praise God.  Instead they criticise the person healed and Jesus for doing this on the wrong day.  And any reader with a heart is left to wonder if anyone can truly have that kind of reaction.

So, what is the Lord trying to teach me in this account?

If you want to really grasp what God is telling you through His Word; if you really want to know what the Spirit-inspired writers are trying to emphasize, the key is context, context, context. 

07 March 2012

Jesus Wants Fruit

Luke 13:6-9

Jesus tells us not to be concerned about being burned at the stake or having our bodies dismembered and scattered to the four corners of the kingdom.  As we saw in the previous teaching, Jesus wants us to focus on life and not death.

And in beginning our focus on life, Jesus wants us to repent.  To stop, confess, ask forgiveness and walk in the opposite direction than the one we did before.

So the natural question is, "How do we know we are doing that? How do we know we are doing what God requires of us?"  The Master Teacher illustrates his point with a story.

06 March 2012

Jesus Doesn't Care How We Die, Only How We Live

The Tower of Siloam, Tissot
Luke 13:1-5

Odds are each of us will experience death.  Yet, it seems circumstances of death fascinate us more than others.  If a commercial plane crashes, there's round the clock coverage.  If someone dies in an automobile accident, there's a mention on the news.  If a middle-aged man dies from a heart attack in his living room, it goes unnoticed by those who didn't know him.

Times haven't changed much.  It seems the 1st century Jews had the same biases.  People wanted to know Jesus' opinion on Pilate punishing enemies of the state by not only executing them but by using them as examples for would-be future outlaws by mixing their blood with sacrifices.

Apparently, not only did such deaths have the community's attention but this religious culture drew the conclusion that for God to allow such a death would mean that a person subject to this kind of death was a special kind of sinner that had to be forsaken by God.

This is obvious because of Jesus' response to the people's reports.  "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners because they suffered this way?"  Then he voluntarily brings up the tragedy of the Tower of Siloam in Jerusalem when eighteen people died.  And answers the same way.

His message and lesson from the peoples' fascination with such kinds of deaths?

But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

There's that word again.  Jesus tells all within the sound of his voice time and again, "Repent".  If we are spending any time worshipping anyone or anything else besides The Lord God, we need to stop, confess, turn around and start worshipping the Lord God only.  If our lives are spent pursuing created things instead of the Creator, we need to stop, confess, turn around and start pursuing the Creator.

According to Jesus, dying is easy.  Everyone does it.  Living is hard.  Because He knows not everyone will do that.