· Jesus asked whether the murdered Galileans were worse sinners than other Galileans, which is absurd. Sin is sin, and it will condemn us if we refuse to repent of it.
· He asked the same question regarding those slain by the falling of the Siloam Tower vs. the rest of those guilty of sin in Jerusalem. Again sin is sin, and it will condemn us if we refuse to repent of it.
· Jesus tells a parable about an unproductive fig tree that He wants to cut down due to its lack of production. On the outside it appears like it should have figs on it. How disappointing to anticipate figs and then discover that it has none. It is worthless.
· The vineyard owner pleads on behalf of the fig tree for one more year, during which he will attempt to nurture and encourage it to produce figs. If not, then he will feel that cutting it down is undoubtedly justified.
· A crippled woman, physically inflicted for 18 years by an evil spirit, was healed by Jesus. Her immediate response was to give God praise.
· The synagogue leader was actually angry at Jesus for healing her on the Sabbath. His incredibly stupid suggestion (of course this is after that fact) was the He should heal her on another day. After all, there is plenty of time to heal people other than the Sabbath. WOW!!!
· Jesus slammed the guy, showing him how the religious leaders treat animals better than their own people. So pitiful!!!
· The leaders felt humiliated, which of course is going to lead to Christ’ execution. HOWEVER the people were delighted. Jesus was helping the people by providing for their needs. He loved them.
· Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to a mustard see that grew into a full grown tree. This is certain in opposition to a fully grown fig tree that is unproductive.
· He also compares the Kingdom to yeast that does its job properly – helps the dough to become bread.
· On His way to Jerusalem, He shared with people His teachings. During this trek, someone asked if only few people were going to be saved.
· He begins answering with a parable of entering a narrow door. A lot of folks will try to enter, and they will not be able to.
· The house owner will eventually close the door. And no amount of begging or name dropping will convince him to let you in. He will only allow people into the house then he knows (has a friendship/relationship with). He actually calls them “evildoers” and insists that they go away from him.
· Great grief and sorrow will happen when they discover that they will not be in God’s Kingdom, the same one that their forefathers are a part of. This will be horrible and unbelievably sad.
· Others will be in the house that came from all over the world. They will participate in the great feast of God’s Kingdom. Apparently ones status or birthright is no guarantee that God will know them. It is only through relationship that He knows us. And the Kingdom is available to anyone in the world. Pretty awesome!
· Some Pharisees thoughts that the threat of death might convince Jesus to leave. NOT! As a matter of fact, He tells them to relay a message to Herod that He hadn’t seen anything yet!
· He mentions that He will achieve His goal on the third day. I bet He is referring to His resurrection on the third day from the dead, which is indeed His goal. The Pharisees would not have understood that … but WE DO J
· He told them that a true prophet will remain steadfast to their mission and calling, i.e. to preach and teach and heal the people.
· Jerusalem is a place known for killing their prophets. How unfortunate for them, because THE prophet wants to love them like they have never experienced before.
· They will miss out on this blessing. He even says that they will not see Him again until they recognize Him as the One …”who comes in the name of the Lord.”
This is a great reminder that my relationship with God is much more important than my worship leading, my pastoring, my team building, my training others to do ministry, or fill in the blank. The fact that I have been a Christian since age 7 doesn’t win me any points whatsoever. My Biblical knowledge doesn’t gain me any access to God’s Kingdom at all. Knowing Him and Christ knowing me is the beginning, middle, and end of what it means to be a child of God. This text also reminded me how easy it is to look like a good Christian yet be completely unproductive for the Kingdom. I suspect He is talking about those things that really matter: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the poor and widows, loving your wife as Christ loves the Church, taking care of your kids, treating others the way you want to be treated, etc. I say this because there are plenty of people in the world doing great works. Millions of people all over the world are “… prophesying in your name, casting out demons, and performing many wonderful works.” But Jesus again was clear in the Matthew account that He will tell them that He doesn’t know them (Matthew 7:21-23).
This is a reminder that I must spend more time developing my daily relationship with God. From that base, I can then serve, pastor, lead worship, etc. But without the former being solid, the latter will gain me nothing. As a matter of fact, there are people who are deep in their spiritual walk with Christ who are off of everybody’s radar in terms of their skill, talent, gifting, etc. We may not know them … but God does. And that’s the point!
Father, I want to know you more. We have talked about this many times before. And I am committed to my daily leaning on You for everything. I want to trust You more, and I praise You for forward movement in my life. But I am so far off the mark still. Help me value my time with You more so than time I spend using my gifts and talents. Help me to see how my marriage, my family, my friendships, my ministry are so much more fulfilling and effective when I keep You first and foremost in my life. And thank You for Your eternal patience during those times that I stumble. I am growing in my adoration for You. You are SO VERY GOOD! Thank You for reminding me of these powerful lessons.
In Jesus’ name, AMEN!
Posted on Mon, January 19, 2015
by Avery Stafford