Luke 24:40 and 41

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.  And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”

This reminds me of the times when God does something wonderful, even miraculous and I say, “Can you believe it ?!”It is not that I doubt that God can do something; its just that I am overwhelmed with joy and amazement.

Luke 23:44-46

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”  When he had said this, he breathed his last.

All of heaven is holding its breath in awe and wonder as the blood is spilled, the perfect Sacrifice is finished, and the doors of heaven swing open.  Because the Perfect, Innocent Lamb of God gave up his life as a sacrifice for sin, we now have the amazing future of living for eternity with the God Who loves us.

 

Luke22:52, 53

Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?  Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me.  But this is your hour – when darkness reigns.”

…when darkness reigns.  This is the Lord of glory.  He wrapped that Glory in flesh and walked among us.  He brought salvation to mankind.  He healed lame, broken, dead, self-righteous people.  He showed us the way to God and to eternal life.  He was the Light of Life shining in a very dark place.  Now though, for a few hours, the Lord of Glory, the Light of Life will submit to the darkness.  Darkness will reign.

Today, we are that light in a darkened world.  We have been called, ambassadors for Christ, salt, light, City on a hill, reflectors of the Lord’s glory, letters from God to the world.  Let your light shine, God has said, so that others may be drawn to me, and desire to know me.

Luke 21: 1-4

As he looked up,Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.  He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

This poor widow opened her pocketbook and gave.  Sometimes we give out of our abundance, and we are happy to have it to give.  Sometimes, though, God asks us to give when we don’t have abundance.  This is sacrificial giving, and may not involve money.  We could be asked to give of our time – there is a treasure – or of our frienship.  We could be asked to do some laundry, or even share our home.

All of this is simply giving back to God from the treasure He has given us. The poor widow honored God with her giving because it included trust that He would provide for her.  It is not WHAT is given, but how it is given – the attitude of the heart.

Luke 20: 17,18

Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builder 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.”

Following Jesus words here, falling on the stone and being broken to pieces doesn’t appear to be a negative idea.

This is my testimony:  All the things I had built for my life and world broken to pieces when I fell in repentance on the rock of Jesus at the foot of the cross .  It was a terribly difficult time, but the end relationship with God was worth more than many fortunes.

Luke 19, verses 5-8

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.”

As I was reading these verses, I was struck by the difference between the story of the rich young ruler in Chapter 18, and the story of Zacchaeus.  The rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked him what to do to gain eternal life, and Jesus told him.  The young man went away sad because he had great wealth.  Zacchaeus, so moved by the presence of the Lord,  volunteers to give up his wealth to make his life right with God.

What is the difference?  Zacchaeus knew he  was a sinner, yet when the Lord came to him, he repented and desired to make things right.   How do we handle it when God comes to us through His Word, or by someone’s counsel or instructions, to point out sin in our lives?  Do we turn and walk away, or repent and seek forgiveness?

Luke 18: 10-14, 22-24

verses 10-14

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 woul 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.

verses 22-24

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. ‘ ‘When he heard this, he  became very sad,  because he was a man of great wealth.  Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingom of God  !

In a way, each set of  verses are telling the same story.  The tax collector gave up his right to  brag about who he was and what he had done.  He chose instead to acnowledge, simply, that before God, he was an unworthy sinner, and he received the praise and acknowledgment of God. l The rich young man was offered the opportunity to trade the riches of this world for the wealth of a life lived for God.  Sadly, he chose not to.

The same opportunity is offered to each of us – trade the empty riches of this world, for the incredible wealth  found in living for Christ and serving others.  The worst poverty of all is not knowing Jesus and His love.

Luke 17: 20 and 21

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is”, or “there it is,” because the kingdom of God is within you.”

Here is that recurring theme: when is the kingdom coming?  When will our servitude end, and our Messiah overthrow this governent and establish a kingdom where at last we have honor and authorit?  It is not to be.  Jesus say it plainly – the kingdom of God is within you.

It is a changed heart, a servant attitude, humility not arrogance, faith not sight, peace, not power.

Luke 16:14, 15

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.  He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts.  What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”

What is highly valued among men?  Success, money, fame, financial security, power.  In the U.S.: cars, clothes, houses, youth and beauty. These things are detestable in Gpd’s sight.  What is highly valued by God?  A humble heart that loves him completely.