Re: Verse reading – Luke 20:1-8, 20-26 (day four)
It would almost be funny if it were not so sad…the chief priests, scribes, and elders were trying to outsmart the Creator of the Universe. They were looking for words to trap Jesus with. Maybe they never even considered that Jesus was who He said He was. Their first attempt went rather badly…they could not find any solution that did not corner them with their own words. On their second attempt, they tried to corner Jesus just as He had done to them. His was a very simple answer…but had far reaching ramifications. “Render to God the things that are God’s.” Even these leaders knew they had not done that. Jesus’ answer penetrated to the heart of the issue…simple , yet profound. God’s truths are often like that. We go through verbal and mental gyrations trying to justify our disobedience or lack of faith. Truth is simple, when viewed through eyes of faith. Simple, yet true…”render to God the things that are God’s.”
Re: Verse reading – Luke 20:1-8, 20-26 (day three)
“Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” Jesus refused to answer the question, but not because he was attempting to avoid a trap. He refused to answer the question because it was not his question to answer. It was the interrogator’s question to answer. It’s your question to answer. It’s my question to answer. And therein lies the reason for astonishment at the statement Jesus made: God allows you to have say over resources. Therefore, he will not answer your question, but there’s coming a day when you will answer his.
Re: Verse reading – Luke 20:1-8, 20-26 (day two)
If you have ever discipled a young believer about evangelism it is likely they asked a question like “what if someone asks me a question and I don’t know the answer?” This is a very earnest question that most of us have faced when sharing our faith at some point even to a contentious audience. As always we take our cue from Jesus. He knew what was happening and how almost any answer would trap him, but rather than play to their scheme he listened. He listened to the heart of those who questioned him. They were not seeking truth, they were seeking justification for their plot. Thanks be to God for the gift of discernment in these situations. We should continue to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the heart of the matter. Logic, doctrine, dogma, mean nothing if he who asks doesn’t have ears to hear. As we continue to share our faith pray that the Lord will reveal the words that will truly penetrate, and then listen.
Re: Verse reading – Luke 20:1-8, 20-26 (day one)
Stressful day. The last week of Jesus’ life. His enemies challenged Him. Public. Dangerous. They questioned His authority. So He questioned back! “John’s baptism,” he said pointing back to that moment years before when the call had come for the nation to “repent and be baptized.” Was it (John’s message) from God? Dilemma. Say “yes” and Jesus would counter, “then why did you not obey?” Say “no” and they would lose favor with the crowd. “We don’t know” they finally said. “Then I will not answer your request for more information about God until you have demonstrated your willingness to respond to the information you already have.” (v 8 – Guthrie translation) The way to more is to use what you already have. “Be careful how you listen; for whoever has, to him shall more be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.” (Luke 8:18)
Re: Verse reading – Luke 19:1-10 (day seven)
Do we seek the lost? It is easy (even logical) to sacrifice the lost sheep in order to keep the 99 safe. Makes sense to us. Not to Jesus. (Luke 15) Jesus said the he came to “seek and to save that which was lost.” ( v 10) Lost people were His priority. To prove it He risked the approval of the majority in order to rescue one isolated sinner (Zaccheus) It required courage. Attention to opportunity. A steady denial of personal safety or popularity as God’s goal. Seekers of the lost go into crowds looking for that “one” whose heart has been prepared for salvation. The woman at the well. . . Zaccheus. . .the woman with the issue of blood. Jesus didn’t see crowds. He saw individuals. Do we? Every SS class, every choral group, every circle of 6? “Sick people are the ones who need Doctors” (Mark 2:17 – Guthrie translation) Same idea. Lost people are the priority. God help us.
Re: Verse reading – Luke 19:1-10 (day six)
When the Bible says that a person is lost, it primarily means “lost to God”. Lost from the purposes and fellowship of God. No longer His. Owned and influenced now by someone else. Most of us when we use this term (some regard it as archaic and judgmental) think more of the experience than the objective/spiritual reality. We see it from our side, not Heaven’s. Lost children or hikers. Only Luke tells the story of Zaccheus. In fact, only Luke tells the story of the lost coin, the lost sheep and the lost (prodigal) son. (Luke 15) There must have been something about the word/concept that intrigued him. What a tragedy it is to be lost to God! Away from His fellowship and wisdom and protection. To have an opportunity that is wasted/ignored. It puts salvation in the correct perspective. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was LOST.” v 10.
Re: Verse reading – Luke 19:1-10 (day four)
I’m sure Zaccheus had no clue what the day held for him. He was curious. He had heard about this man Jesus and he wanted to see what all the stir was about. Zaccheus had a problem…he was short and he could not see over the crowd. There was certainly no one who was going to yield a vantage point to him, a tax gatherer. A solution…he would climb a tree to see Jesus. Zaccheus discovered that climbing was unnecessary though…Jesus was looking for him. When Jesus called to Zaccheus, the response was much different than for the rich young ruler. Both men were very rich. The ruler left Jesus holding to his wealth, Zaccheus offered to give up his money. There was a change in his life that was immediately evident! Zaccheus was born again. In verse 9, Jesus said “Today salvation has come to this house,” When Jesus comes into a heart, things are never the same! The evidence is unmistakable.
Re: Verse reading – Luke 19:1-10 (Day Three)
“Look, Lord! Here and now I give….” The road not taken by the rich young ruler is the road we find Zacchaeus beginning to travel. The former wandered down his road sad and still lost; the latter traveled the road to eternal life. Which road have you refused to walk?
Re: Verse reading – Luke 19:1-10 (day two)
When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” So what do you think they were expecting Jesus to do? How long do you think the crowd had been following him? Apparently not long enough to realize the house of a sinner is exactly where he would want to go. Zacchaeus was the object of most people’s derision due to his occupation and his business practices. That, however, was not what Jesus was interested in. Thanks be to God. How often do we look upon a person based on a preconception of their status or even an assessment of what we actually know of them? Moreover it also stands to reason that there are those among us that would look upon us with the same misguided criteria of worthy or unworthy. I’m so grateful that Jesus can look up in a tree and see none of that. My prayer today is that I look more with His eyes and far less with mine.
Re: Verse reading – Luke 19:1-10 (day one)
“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” (v 5) It is a term we use often. A personal relationship with Jesus. An attempt to define/describe salvation and the friendship we discover in Christ. Not legal. Not mechanical or organizational. Personal. Intimate. One-on-one. It starts with Jesus. The Zach story reminds me. Jesus looked up and noticed. Called him by name. Noted the real (pride- shattering) spiritual interest. Wanted to have lunch and a visit. Individual attention. Personal relationship. No crowds for Jesus. Individuals. The reason we can have an personal relationship with Christ is that He is willing to have a personal relationship with us. ” ‘Come, let us reason together’, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 1:18) Let us talk and listen to each other. Let us be real friends, honest. I want to know you personally. It is the way people get saved.