Weighed Down

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Scripture: “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.” (Luke 21:34)

Observation: Jesus is giving his famous “Olivet Discourse.”  It is well known because Jesus not only predicts (“prophesies” is a better word) the fall of Jerusalem – which occurred in 70AD, but he also gives the disciples and us a glimpse of what the end of days will be like!  He talks about ‘nation rising against nation’ (v. 10) and ‘persecution’ (v. 12).  Clearly these are events that occurred prior to the fall of Jerusalem, but will also occur in the last days as well. In fact, as with much of the Old Testament, prophesies can have a “near” and “far” fulfillment.  In other words, Jesus knows that what he says will happen in the lifetime of some of his listeners, but will also happen when He returns!

Application: In fact, we are in the “last days” now.  Truly Christians are being persecuted for their faith, and nations are rising against nations.  But what does Jesus speak to us in the midst of that turmoil? “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down.”  It is easy for us to allow our hearts to be weighed down by the events that unfold around us and which the media is all too happy to report in the news!  But in the face of those anxieties we are to turn nowhere but to the Lord himself for our comfort and our hope.

Prayer Lord Jesus, help us face today’s troubles being aware that you know about them, since you foretold them long ago.  Cause us to look toward your return with hope! Amen.

What do you want me to do for you?

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Scripture: “When he came near, Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Lord, I want to see,’ he replied.” (Luke 18:40-41)

Observation: Throughout chapter 18, Jesus has been teaching – first about prayer, then about pride and humility, then about faith – the faith of children and gentiles.  Then he teaches about his suffering and death, and finally he teaches about his power and glory – revealing them as he heals the blind beggar. Tax collectors, children, gentiles and beggars… not the Jewish elite!  And yet, Jesus draws close to them, and reveals his glory through them.

Application: What is particularly striking is Jesus use of the question, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Wasn’t it obvious??  Didn’t Jesus already know?? And yet He asks! He does this with us too!  Can’t God just see what I need?  If He already knows everything, why then do I need to ask Him?  And yet, it is the faith of the blind beggar that obeys – He simply responds to Jesus question, telling Him what he wants.  What about me and you?  What is so obvious in our lives, that needs to be relate to Jesus?  Will we hear Him tell us today, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Prayer Lord, thank you for caring about me enough to want to know what I desire.  Help me to open to you all my wants and needs, having faith to believe that you can do all things.  In your Name, Amen!

Counter-Cultural Jesus

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Scripture: “But when you are invited, take the lowest place,” … “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,”(Luke 14:10, 13)

Observation: Luke 14 begins with the words (v. 1): “One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.”  Jesus did associate with the Pharisees, unfortunately they weren’t really interested in Jesus.  Rather, they were interested in the way he threatened their known world … their culture. Healing on the Sabbath was a no-no.  Eating with sinners and gentiles was also a no-no. Jesus did all these things, and yet was gaining in popularity and renown.  Jesus was a threat to them, and so they watched him – waiting for him to do something of which they could accuse him and be rid of him once and for all.

Application:  When Jesus did speak, his words challenged the cultural norms.  Who would take the lowest place at a banquet?  Who would invite poor, crippled beggars to a fine banquet?  … and as we begin the Prodigal God series … who would kill the fattened calf for a wayward son?  Truly Jesus’ message was counter-cultural.  As it was 2,000 years ago, so it still is today.

Prayer:  Jesus, help me to understand just how radical your love for us sinners is.  In Your Holy Name.  Amen.