Friday, March 7, 2008

Luke Chapter Twenty-One

Reading: Luke 21:1-38

Scripture: They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourself. For I will give you words and wisdom...and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life. - Luke 21.12b-15a,16b-19.

Observations: In extremely graphic and metaphorical language, Jesus predicts the events that took place in 70 A.D. when the Roman army leveled Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. This passage also speaks to Jesus' followers who would be dispersed throughout the empire and the persecution that would come to them on account of his name. For proof of these words all one has to do is read Luke's second volume, the Acts of the Apostles. Those who would endure these times were to do so because they had a firm conviction that death is not the final word for the Christian. As Christ suffered and died in order to initiate the new resurrection life of God's kingdom, Jesus' followers would also endure suffering with the sure hope that the kingdom of Jesus would spread and that resurrection life awaited them.

What a great way to invite people to follow Jesus! "If you follow Jesus you may be put to death! But don't worry, he'll tell you what to say when they are stoning you." And yet, that is what Jesus was telling these people. And, more astounding, that's what they did. And because they did, the gospel took root all over the empire.

And we complain about giving our tithes and offerings.

Pray: Forgive me, Lord, for complaining about any small sacrifice I may make because I'm following you. May I joyfully give of myself in any way I can so that your kingdom may spread in my generation.


J.Mercuri said...

Luke 21:37 – 38
37Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.

Observation: In the midst of brilliant teaching, insightful parables, and stunning miraculous works the writer decides to give us some insight into the lifestyle and context of Jesus’ ministry. Our Lord was making it a priority to teach on a daily basis, and he was gaining a following that would be there to meet him at the temple early in the morning. As a man who studied the Torah for years he had reached the pinnacle of being a rabbi at a very young age. In contrast to his accomplishments, superior intellect, compassion, and moral clarity, Jesus was homeless. Each night he returned to the hill, there were no kick backs, no income, no reward, not even a fair salary for the intense job Jesus was doing. Not only that, but Jesus was homeless, meaning that he did not have a fresh change of clothes or a cupboard full of food, the comfort of a bed or chair. This is a stunning reality. Look up a picture of the Mount of Olives or the Garden of Gethsemane and you will find it is kind of like a desert with a few trees. It was also a place where people were buried. It was a very public place, Jesus was homeless. The psychological impact of being homeless is brutal on the mental state of person. Homelessness is also fracturing to social support and interpersonal connection. It appears that Jesus overcame these barriers. The text says “each evening” in description of Jesus returning to the hill to live. This is not a one time occurrence but a pattern. Jesus was homeless.

Application: Jesus modeled a life of suffering not only in his death, but in the manner that he lived through a radical abandonment of all material possessions. I cannot even begin to ask “can we live as Jesus lived?” First I need to ask “Is Jesus welcome in my life, my church, and my home?” Would I be open to teachings about who God is from a homeless man? Would I open the door if he knocks at my home for some bread? Would he be welcome in the Sunday service at Riverside? I have more questions than answers about this passage. How can we apply this truth? Maybe I am way off base. All I know is that Jesus tells us he is the poor, not like them or symbolized by them. He is them and they are He.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your life of suffering, it must have been difficult. Help me to suffer for you and to enter the suffering of others. Help us to see you in our daily lives and embrace and love those around us. Convict our hearts God and help us to know who you are.

Gladys said...

J. Mercuri and I picked the same verses!! Starting with V. 37: "Now during the day He was teaching in the temple .."

There are quite a few Scriptures that testify to Jesus frequenting the temple, some of which can be found in Matthew 4:23; 21:14 & 23; Luke 19:47; 20:1; 21:37 John 7:14; 8:2, 20 and 18:20. The ones that caught my eye were Luke 21:38 and John 8:2, both of which are similar:

"And all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him."

Can you not think of a better place to be? Let's take the verse apart a bit:

ALL the people . . . apparently no one wanted to miss out on what they knew was excellent!

would get up EARLY in the morning . . . difficult anytime it seems.

TO COME TO HIM . . . the best place ever to be!

in the temple to LISTEN to HIM . . . the best that ears could take in!

Yes, there is something about the morning in starting off the day with "coming to Him" . . to listen to Him, by reading the Word, praying and having a quiet time before Him. The psalmist found this out as well in Psalm 5:3 "In the morning, O Lord, Thou wilt hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch."

Eagerly watch -- to how He orders your day with how things fall into place and how He keeps your mind and emotions calm in the midst of whatever comes your way . . and to the blessings and answers of those prayers you can EAGERLY (with great anticipation) WATCH (be on the lookout/pay attention) for!

Father, I know this to be true, but yet I find myself getting up at the last minute many times where I need to plan to rise earlier and start my day right with You. This is all a matter of priorities, and I ask that You help me remember what is most important as I make better effort myself.