… they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. vs 11
Not much has changed. Two thousand years later and many people are still waiting for the Kingdom of God to appear. There are some who think it is imminent. Especially in recent days because we are “hearing of wars and rumors of wars” (Matt 24:6). Yet, this is not all that different from 2001 or 1941 or any other time in history for that matter. From the dawn of time, peace has not been sustainable. Satan has thrived in conflict and chaos, and he continues to tempt mankind with greed and gluttony of power.
Is it possible that we are in the “great tribulation?” Yes, but the eschatological implications of todays events are irrelevant. Our theological obsessions with timelines often leaves us more like the slave who hid his mina in a handkerchief instead of investing his endowment. It is not spiritually profitable to worry ourselves over when the Kingdom is coming. The Kingdom is coming. Our job is to grow the Kingdom on Earth as much as possible, so that when Christ returns His new Kingdom will be full with those whom we invested in.
Eschatological implications aside, there is a spiritual war that is happening in the world that is surpassing the physical combat. We pray for leaders around the world to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We pray for peace. We pray for Ukraine.
27 “‘And as for these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to be their king—bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.’” Luke 19:27
It is hard to imagine Jesus wrapping up this parable with words so violent and final. Isn’t he all grace and mercy? Did he not say, “I did not come into the world to judge the world, but to save it?” John 3:17
God’s kindness (withholding judgment for a season) is intended to lead everyone to repentance. Jesus’ ministry on earth is the epitome of God’s kindness; his grace and mercy on full display, like a billboard with an open invitation to freely follow him and escape everlasting judgement.
What Jesus says in John 3:17 refers to his first coming, but when he comes again he will come with sword and fire.
It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of a living God. Hebrews 10:31
This is precisely why we must be good stewards of what Christ has given us, his church. His future and final judgement is no joke.
“So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’”If this parable is about the Kingdom of God (I believe it is), then what is Jesus teaching?Timing (Kingdom of God is both now and in the future), Stewardship (we are accountable for stewarding what The Lord has entrusted to us). Maybe there’s another truth that we can discover. Equality in God’s generosity. I am also studying Ephesians. In chapter one, Paul makes a wonderful declaration, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”Every believer has the same amount of blessing from God. There are not more given to others. Everyone is given an equal amount- every. Same in this parable, equal amounts given to the ten. Think about what we all have been given as believers: same Gospel, same Holy Spirit, same Scripture, etc. Entrusted to us.
“And we need never feel less blessed or more blessed than another believer.”- Richard Coekin
It’s time to “put these precious gifts to work” until Jesus returns.
Maybe this is where the saying…”to whom much is given, much will be required”… came from. Or maybe it was Luke 12:41-48…or maybe Matthew 25. Get the point? This is a message that Jesus taught all through the Gospels. God expects His children to be fruitful with all they have. According to our abilities, God expects and requires us to produce fruit…profit, reward, gain. For those who fail in this assignment, Jesus calls them a worthless, lazy slave.
God’s expectation is not just limited to money. He has given His children talents, truths, and wisdom. We are not to hoard His gifts and blessings to ourselves, but rather invest them into the lives of others. Wealth and riches…whatever they look like in your life…are meant to grow.
How is your investment portfolio? Not financial…your gifts, talents, truths, and wisdom invested into the lives of others. Will you receive the commendation, “well done, thou good and faithful servant”?
Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief;21 for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’ vs. 20-21
At the end of the day the question we must all answer is; what did you do with the resources your were given? It isn’t too difficult to get into the weeds with this parable. Was the master just and fair? Why did the citizens not like him? Did he take what was not his? There is much to plumb in these questions, but what strikes me is that we may each be called to live and work in a place where there is injustice and inequity. This, however, does not absolve us from doing our best with what we have. What good are we to our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and co-laborers if we refuse to engage with the world simply because it’s not fair? We have each been given an assignment to love, share, and care for each other. What are we waiting for?
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty, and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Luke 19:11-27 in our Winter Re:Verse Series: “LUKE – Learning from the parables of Jesus.”
Last night was a first for me in ministry. In our final large group session of the night for Freedom Weekend (our youth discipleship retreat), we had a Vespers service. Every year we designate this service as a time for prayer and reflection. This one was was beautiful. There was movement. There was emotion. Students were praying over one another. Students were praying over adults. The Spirit of God was stirring the hearts of our youth.
This was not all that different from previous Vespers. What made this one different, was after 45 minutes of prayer I got up, dismissed the group, but something strange happened: no one moved a muscle. No one wanted to leave. They were content to sit in the presence and power of the Spirit. It was a taste of heaven, and they were not about to let it slip away.
I share this story for two reasons:
One, God is at work in the lives of our young people. Pray for them as they continue to reflect on what God taught them this weekend. Pray for them as they come down off this mountain and enter back into school routines. Pray that they don’t fall back into old habits. Pray for sustained change.
Two, the same presence and power our students felt this weekend is at work in us and with us at all times. It sometimes takes sweet moments like this for us to truly recognize it, but what if we came into church this morning with the same expectation of awe and wonder? What could happen if we expected to taste heaven?
…the tax collector stood at a distance. Luke 18:13
Pride does one thing extremely well, it creates distance. This distance was at the heart of this parable. The Pharisees’ self-righteousness had reduced most people to “them” and “those people,” resulting in an unholy separation.
Unholy, in that we weren’t designed for distance, we were made for connection, with God and with others.
In what ways has pride kept you for making connections with God and with others? Where has pride created an unholy distance in your life?
“The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’”
Did you notice all the personal pronouns? What we have here is a declaration not a conversation. The Pharisee seemingly addresses God, but in actuality he is talking about himself to himself. The KJV actually translates the preposition in verse 11 as “with” (himself). Isn’t that a sad description of the state of affairs in his head and heart. Empty and void of a relationship with the Lord.
Made me examine my own prayers and petitions. Are they more about me or more about God?Sometimes,I write out my prayers. A good indicator of who is the focus. Is there evidence of the Lord’s presence (confession and repentance)? See Isaiah 6.
Finally,is there listening (at all)?Whose words would I rather hear?My own? Or, the Lord’s?
I am grateful for scriptures and parables that challenge, encourage, and direct me to have a vibrant relationship with the Living God.
Verse 14 – “…for everyone who exalts himself will humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
If you were to do a Word Search in Scripture of the word ‘humble’, you would find it all through Scripture. Several characteristics are evident through the search. Lesson 1 – Humility is a necessary factor in our relationship with God. Lesson 2 – There is a difference between being humble and being humbled.
Humility is a choice we make before God that recognizes who God is and who we are in relation to Him. To be humbled before God is a position we are forced into in order to help us understand who God is. One state is rewarding, one is…well…humbling! We can choose our state of heart and mind before God. If we choose to be humble, Isaiah 66:2 says God will look upon us. If we choose pride, we can expect to be humbled before God. Which will you choose?