Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Luke 16-20...almost to Acts!

So we finished up Luke at the end of last week! So exciting! I've gotten slightly behind at the start of Acts so I'm catching up with my group on that. I always seem to fall a little behind when I get to the weekends, I think in part due to the less structured nature of the weekend. I guess I need to be more disciplined on the weekends :) While I try my hand at that, you can enjoy the following notes, covering Luke 16-20!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Luke 16
While verse 8 says that the master 'commended' the shrewd manager, it does not say he changed his mind about firing him. Maybe he thought it was a clever idea and admired the shrewdness of it, but I doubt he appreciated the debts owe him being decreased if it lost him money. However, based on the man's intentions (make friend's using wealth), Jesus instructs us that we should us our worldly riches to benefit the kingdom of Heaven by ministering to people on earth. He doesn't advocate using other people's money (like the manager) but your own resources that God has given you to serve others.

In his parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, Jesus makes the point that the Law of Moses and the Prophets should be enough for anyone to come to belief in God and if that does not persuade them, a resurrected man would not either. In the audience, the Pharisees would have been most familiar with the Law and Prophets, but even the later resurrected Christ would not convince them of the truth.

Luke 17
It is inevitable that we will be tempted. It doesn't magically stop once we reach a certain level of "Christian-ness". We read early in Luke that even Jesus was tempted so we should expect no less. But I should try not to be the source of temptation in anyone's life. I must "watch" myself so that I don't become a stumbling block to anyone and cause them to sin. I should forgive whenever it is asked of me. My duty to my Lord is that of a servant. Only by humbling myself can I become more like him.

With the lepers, we see again how often Christ healed those who were not Jews. The man possessed by Legion in Gerasenses and the Roman centurion in Capernaum were both documented by Luke earlier. Here, the Samaritan is the one who returns to praise him. While Israel was looking for a political Messiah, some of the Gentiles were discovering faith.

The statement at the end of the chapter ("Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.") intrigued me and I was very glad my Study Bible had a note about it. Here's what it said: "To answer the disciples' question, Jesus quoted a familiar proverb. One vulture circling overhead does not mean much, but a gathering of vultures means that a dead body is nearby. Likewise, one sign of the end may not be significant, but when many signs occur [in my opinion, all signs occur], the second coming is near." (Comment inserted in [] is mine). This explanation made sense to me in my reading so I thought I would share. :) I also liked the description of Jesus' return as "like lightning which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other." This is something that we will not be able to mistake. Maranatha!

Luke 18
At the beginning of the chapter, I like how Luke identifies the audience the two parables were intended for. God being just will hear our cries for justice even more so than the unjust human judges. With the rich man, Jesus made it clear that it was still possible for the rich man to be saved ("What is impossible with man is possible with God.") but that it would be more difficult because of the life of wealth and comfort he had here on earth. Jesus didn't require that all his disciples give up all their wealth (others offered half, or to repay more than owed, and Jesus was pleased with it), but he could see this man's heart and knew that his riches were indeed what was hindering him from entering the Kingdom. I find it surprising after Christ predicting his death so plainly for a third time that the disciples didn't understand it. It truly was hidden from them! After telling his disciples to allow the children to come to him earlier (v. 15-17), Jesus again has to remind his followers that all should be allowed to come to him and that they shouldn't hinder anyone.

Luke 19
I couldn't read the story of Zacchaeus without hearing the song in my head :) Also, here is an example of a man offering half of what he owed (and repaying dishonest gains) and Jesus being pleased with the offering because he saw the man's heart, unlike the rich man from the previous chapter. In the parable, I wonder what the other seven servants did with their minas since we're only told about the 3. Did they prosper for their master? Or were they like the scared servant? I love how Jesus' lament over Jerusalem echoed his entrance to the city. He says if only they had know "what would bring you peace". A king who rode in on a donkey came in peace as opposed to one who rode in on a war horse, the kind of king they were expecting. Again we see that his identity and plan was hidden deliberately, not only from the disciples, but from everyone. How often I have fretted over the future when I know that it's in God's hand and should rightfully remain hidden from my sight!

Luke 20
I love how Jesus confounds the Pharisees and teachers by exposing their weakness. In their minds, all things of God for the people came through them and them alone so Jesus presents them with the question about John, who was indeed a prophet but one they didn't recognize as such. God works in mysterious ways, so who am I to put him in a box like the Pharisees? Immediately following this Jesus tells a parable that exposes how the prophets have been treated and that he as God's Son will be treated even worse and killed. It was the perfect follow-up since they hadn't respected John as a prophet of God and the meaning of this parable was not hidden from them: "they knew he had spoken this parable against them." In vs. 26, it says that the spies were unable to trap Jesus and vs. 40 says that no one dared to ask him any more questions, knowing that they could not trap him in that way. How much of my life is a reflection of Jesus? Would people see him in me and be unable to speak against him on account of my witness? As a fallen person, I know I'm not perfect but I hope that in my own life I can silence the spies and be above reproach as a disciple of Jesus. 

No comments: