Jan 2011

7714 - To Ceasar and God

The religious leaders in Jerusalem brought up the subject of paying taxes. Listen as I read Luke 20:20-26:

Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. So the spies questioned him: "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"

He saw through their duplicity and said to them, "Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?" "Caesar's," they replied. He said to them, "Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.

Friend, these leaders were continuing to seek a way to trap Jesus. They chose the subject of taxation to test Jesus. They thought they had the perfect question. If Jesus said that people should pay taxes then this would drive a wedge between him and the people. They already felt they paid more to Rome than necessary.

However, if Jesus said they should not pay taxes then the Romans would have arrested Jesus for sedition and would have prosecuted him.
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7713 - Parable of the Tenants

Let’s discuss one of the parables of Jesus today. Listen as I real Luke 20:9-19:

He went on to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out. "Then the owner of the vineyard said, `What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.' "But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. `This is the heir,' they said. `Let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. "What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When the people heard this, they said, "May this never be!" Jesus looked directly at them and asked, "Then what is the meaning of that which is written: "`The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone' Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed." The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

This parable is given shortly after the Jewish leaders have confronted Jesus about the authority for his ministry.

These leaders were jealously protecting their power position in Israel. With callused hearts they refused to listen to the message Jesus was sharing regarding the Kingdom of God and its nearness to them. They even rejected the miracles which authenticated the truth of what Jesus claimed about his divinity.
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7712 - Authority Questioned

In our study through the gospel of Luke we have come to the events in the last week of the life of Jesus.

The last week in the life of Jesus is very significant. The space allotted by each gospel to this week indicates this. Luke gives about 23% of its space to this last week. Matthew gives 28%, Mark gives 37% while John gives 45%,

This really should not surprise us since the events of this week — his unjust suffering, his accusation and crucifixion, and then his resurrection, were the very reasons Jesus came to earth.

I pray the Lord will bless each of us as we study the events of this week in detail.

One thing we will notice in these chapters is the increased hostility toward Jesus from the Jewish leaders. They resisted the truth of his life and message from the beginning. They scorned and rejected John the Baptist as he proclaimed Jesus to be the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. They ridiculed and disdained his miracles and his teaching. Many times the Bible relates to us that they schemed how they could put Jesus to death.

Listen to Luke 20:1-8 about this kind of deal.

Luke 20:1-8 One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. "Tell us by what authority you are doing these things," they said. "Who gave you this authority?" He replied, "I will also ask you a question. Tell me, John's baptism --was it from heaven, or from men?"

They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, `From heaven,' he will ask, `Why didn't you believe him?' But if we say, `From men,' all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet."

So they answered, "We don't know where it was from." Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."

The Temple courtyard was the place Jesus did a great deal of teaching in the last days of his life. The spiritual hunger within the people was satisfied by the teaching of Jesus.
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7711 - Cleansing the Temple

Join us for a study in God’s Word today as we talk about Jesus asserting his authority over the Temple there in Jerusalem.

Let me read Luke 19:45-48.

Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. "It is written," he said to them, "‘My house will be a house of prayer'; but you have made it `a den of robbers.' Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.”

This was not the first recorded incident in which Jesus demonstrated his wrath against those who dared to turn the Temple into a place of business instead of the holy place of prayer and worship.

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7710 - Triumphal Entry

Join us today as we share the record of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. I will read Luke 19:28-44. Listen:

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, `Why are you untying it?' tell him, `The Lord needs it.'" Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them.

As they were untying the colt, its owner asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" They replied, "The Lord needs it."

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace --but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave even one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

As Jesus approached Bethany just across the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem, he sent a couple of his disciples to fetch a colt which no one had ever ridden. They brought the colt back and placed their cloaks on him so Jesus could ride him. Let’s focus upon Luke 20:27-40 today. Listen:

Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. "Teacher," they said, "Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. The second and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. Finally, the woman died too. Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?"

Jesus replied, "The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in this age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection. But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord `the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."

Some of the teachers of the law responded, "Well said, teacher!" And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Friend, who are these Sadducees who have come to question Jesus?
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7709 - Give Account

At this time Jesus was in Jericho making his way to Jerusalem. We focus on Luke 19:11-27. Listen as I read these verses:

While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.

He said: "A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. `Put this money to work,' he said, `until I come back.'

"But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, `We don't want this man to be our king.' "He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

"The first one came and said, `Sir, your mina has earned ten more.' "`Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. `Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'

"The second came and said, `Sir, your mina has earned five more.' "His master answered, `You take charge of five cities.'

"Then another servant came and said, `Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.' "His master replied, `I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?'

"Then he said to those standing by, `Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.' "`Sir,' they said, `he already has ten!'

"He replied, `I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them --bring them here and kill them in front of me.'"

Notice the fact that the people who were following along with Jesus have in their anticipation that Jesus would soon bring in the Kingdom of God there in Jerusalem. Their eyes were focused on the one whom they considered as the conquering King Jesus, and they desired to be a part of this, to see it take place. They would be glad to see the Romans put to flight. They simply did not understand that Jesus was destined to soon die as the atoning sacrifice in Jerusalem.

Jesus likely wanted to dispel any disappointment that could spring up among his followers when he was crucified on the cross.
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7708 - Zachaeus

Luke 19:1-10 :

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a `sinner.'"

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

Friend, the focus in this incident is on a man who was successful in the eyes of the business world. He had become a rich man. He had also ruffled some feathers of some Jewish people, because he was a chief tax collector. That meant to them the he was working for the opposition, the Romans; and that wasn’t a popular thing among some Jewish people.

But Zacchaeus had a heart which was not satisfied or fulfilled.

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7707 - The Blind Healed

Jesus and his disciples would soon be in Jerusalem for the Passover. In our passage for today, Luke 18:35-43, they are approaching Jericho, about eighteen miles northeast of Jerusalem.

Let me read the passage:

35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.

36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening.

37 They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."

38 He called out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him,

41 "What do you want me to do for you?" "Lord, I want to see," he replied.

42 Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you."

43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

Dr. Luke is giving us insights into teaching episodes, or opportunities for healing.

In this passage we observe a blind man who is sitting beside the road begging from the crowds of people who are passing on the road on their way to Passover.

We can tell he knows about Jesus because when it is explained to him that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by, he quickly grasps the situation and calls out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” This blind man had already come to the point that he believed that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Son of David. This was a term for the Messiah, so this blind man had already had faith to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. This means he likely knew the power of the Messiah to heal the lame, and even to raise the dead.

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7706 - Death Foretold

At this point in our study of Luke’s gospel, Jesus and his disciples are on their way to Jerusalem for his final Passover. Of course the disciples did not know this. In Luke 18:31-34 Jesus shares with the twelve about what is going to unfold in Jerusalem.

31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.

32 He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him.

33 On the third day he will rise again."

34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

Here Jesus was preparing his apostles for those days in Jerusalem when the very faith of these men would be tested. Jesus had previously talked to some of these men about some of these events on three different occasions. This passage is the most open revelation of these coming events of any previous conversation.

Jesus refers to the prophetic writings, which told of this sacrifice in Jerusalem, and he told them that all those prophesies would be fulfilled.

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7705 - Even the Rich

As Jesus and his disciples proceed toward Jerusalem, people continued to seek his counsel. In Luke 18: verses 18-30 we read:

18 A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

19 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good --except God alone.

20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.' "

21 "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.

24 Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!

25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

26 Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?"

27 Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

28 Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!"

29 "I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God

30 Will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life."

Here a young ruler comes to Jesus. He asks: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”.

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7704 - Little Children

In our study through the book of Luke we are now in Luke 18. Listen to verses 15-17.

Luke 18:15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.

Luke 18:16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Luke 18:17 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

The people were bringing their babies to Jesus to have him touch them. The word translated babies may also be translated infants. The parallel passage in both Matthew and Mark uses the term “little children.”

This was a social custom for parents to bring their infants or little children to a holy man for a blessing.

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7703 - Humble Yourself

Our passage is Like 18: verses 9-14. As I read them you will understand that Jesus is speaking about humility.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men --robbers, evildoers, adulterers --or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

We are told that Jesus directed this parable to some who were self-confident regarding their own righteousness. This means that there was a pride factor in some of the people to whom he is talking. In fact their exalted attitude about themselves caused them to look down on everybody else. That description paints a clear picture of a person who is egotistical and who considers himself to be better that everyone else.

They required the people, to whom they ministered, to keep every little detail of the law, and they performed in public to give the image of one who kept the law, but Jesus knew their heart. He knew what happened behind closed doors, and he called them hypocrites because their walk did not match their talk. Most Pharisees would never admit to being a sinner.

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7702 - Persitence

In our study through the book of Luke we are now in Luke 18. Listen to verses 15-17.

Luke 18:15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.

Luke 18:16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Luke 18:17 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

The people were bringing their babies to Jesus to have him touch them. The word translated babies may also be translated infants. The parallel passage in both Matthew and Mark uses the term “little children.”

This was a social custom for parents to bring their infants or little children to a holy man for a blessing.

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