Don’t miss the point! Luke- Week 14- Day 5

(36)  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  (37)  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Luke 10:36-37

Explanation:

Here comes the question for which the whole story was told.  Which now of these three…was the neighbor to the man?  The three here was the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan.  This what Jesus called them in the story.  Notice then how the lawyer, from the same class as the priest and Levite, answered the question.  He does not call him the Samaritan.  He calls him “he that shewed mercy on him.”  It may be reading between the lines, but it is almost as if he does not want to say the word “Samaritan”.  Yet, he cannot deny the facts of the story.  The one who was the neighbor to him was the Samaritan.  This is his answer and then Jesus tells him to go and do likewise.

The truth is that the lawyer has not loved like that.  He has not loved God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.  He has not loved His neighbors as he loves himself.  He cannot go and do likewise in such a way that he could earn eternal life. 

“Go and do thou likewise” hangs out there like an unresolved chord needing resolution.  The man must plead “I can’t!  I have not!  Help me!  Forgive me!  I need mercy.  I need eternal life.  I need God’s help to love like that.”  If the lawyer’s attitude did not change from seeking to justify himself (vs. 29), he walked away rejecting Jesus and thinking that he was ok. 

Application:

Certainly, there is an application to us regarding who our neighbor is.  Our neighbor is everyone that we can help.  We are responsible for the wellbeing of those around us at some level.  There is no person which we should not love when we have the chance.

But to say that this is the main point is to miss the point.  The main point is that we cannot do this on our own.  We cannot love God and love others more than ourselves on our own.  We have broken God’s law, and we need God’s mercy to forgive us, as well as God’s power to help us to do this.

This is why Jesus came.  He loved God perfectly and loved others perfectly.  He kept the law we could not keep, and then paid the price we could not pay so that we can be forgiven, and then indwelt by the Holy Spirit who then empowers us to love God and others from the heart.

Response:

  • Confess, repent and trust in Christ.
  • Ask God to help you love like He loves!

Luke- Week 12- Day 1

(36)  And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. (37)  And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, (38)  And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. (39)  Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. (40)  And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

Luke 7:36-50

Explanation:

(36)  And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.

The pharisees were dealt with quite a lot by Jesus, but often you will see them say “certain of the Pharisees”.  Not every pharisee had equal disdain for Jesus.  You see people like Nicodemus come to Jesus admitting that what they saw Him doing caused them to pause, and even to acknowledge that God was with Him.

Here Jesus comes to the house of a pharisee to eat with him.  Hospitality in the ancient near east was a big deal.  This would have been a significant thing to have Jesus over for a meal as a pharisee.

(37)  And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

What an incredible scene we see unfold!  Luke describes this woman as one “in the city, which was a sinner”.  Her sin was evident to many in the room by reputation.  She had heard that Jesus was in the house of this pharisee and came, not with a need for healing, but with a desire to be forgiven and to honor Jesus. This is evident by her bringing an alabaster box of ointment and by her behavior following.  This alabaster box of ointment would have been very costly.

Some have made the claim that this woman was a prostitute because of her being known as someone with a sinful reputation, by her subsequent actions, and the pharisee’s response to her as almost an infection to the dinner party. The word “pharisee” literally translated means “one who is separated’, or “a separatist”.  Their view of themselves was to be separated from sin and from sinners.  So, to have “a sinner” who up in his house would have been socially awkward.

(38)  And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

We would not see what this woman is doing as normal for sure, but we certainly would not have seen it as something sinfully sexual.  Yet, in that culture, for a woman to have her hair down was seen as improper.  To touch a man in public would have been highly inappropriate. To kiss a man, and to pour ointment on him would have been seen this way as well.

The contrast between the pharisee and the woman is stark.  He is ceremonially pure, and at least acknowledges Jesus as the same by asking Him into His house.  This woman is clearly seen as impure and would normally not been asked to dinner.  This would have been something that forwarded what many thoughts about Jesus that was expressed earlier in the chapter:

(34)  The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

Luke 7:34

She will be further contrasted by Jesus Himself.  For now, let us notice her actions contrasted with the response of this Pharisee.

(39)  Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

This Pharisee’s reaction is not surprising knowing the normal position of the Pharisees.  This woman was not seen as someone who could be redeemed or reformed.  She was seen as someone to be separated from and avoided.  She was seen as a problem, an infection, irredeemable and deplorable.

Jesus accepting adoration from this woman made the Pharisee doubt Jesus’ position as a prophet.  The Pharisee must have seen him as at least potentially being a prophet up until this point because he would have taken some grief from those who clearly denied Jesus claim to being the Messiah.  But at this point He doubts Jesus’ status because Jesus accepts this woman’s costly expression of worship.

Application:

Jesus saw the woman as someone who needed forgiveness and who was rightly offering Him worship.   The Pharisees view of the woman was of someone more sinful and unacceptable to God than himself.  His view of Jesus’ acceptance of this lady was that it made Jesus less than what He ought to be, maybe even a sinner Himself.

We must be careful in our evaluation of other people.  We may see some people as beyond the forgiveness and reach of God.  We may see ourselves as better than others. 

Jesus had clearly communicated His position to come to reach the lost, poor, broken, blind and captive. The truth is that this described everyone in the room but could only be received by those who acknowledged their own need, who acknowledged their own spiritual poverty.

We must view ourselves and others rightly, as those who need Jesus and His offer of forgiveness.

Response:

Do you understand your own need for Jesus?  Do you see others the way Jesus does?

Fully Healed and Fully Forgiven. Luke- Week 10- Day 5

(25)  And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. (26)  And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

Luke 5:26-27

Explanation:

When Jesus healed, He healed completely.  Think about all that had to happen for this man to be healed.  Muscle and bone had to regenerate.  Memories in the brain that helped the brain remember how to walk had to come to pass.  This man was completely and fully healed.  He did not get up walking slowly, limping or bent over.  He got up.  He picked up His bed.  He went home.  The whole time he went he was glorifying God.  Worship was happening.

Now remember, Jesus had tied the healing to His ability and authority to forgive sin.  Jesus forgives sin just like Jesus healed.  He healed completely, and He forgives completely.  By healing this man, He proved that He can forgive sin.  He proved that He was God.

Notice the reaction of the crowd.  They were amazed.  They glorified God. They were filled with fear. Jesus proved to these people that Jesus could forgive sin.  In fact, if you remember, the passage said in verse 17 that the power of God was present to heal them.  The forgiveness that was available to the man was available to them. 

Application:

God’s forgiveness is available to you, today.  He has the authority and the power to forgive.  He wants to forgive.  We must go to Him by faith and seek His forgiveness.  Have you accepted God’s free gift of salvation?  Ultimately Jesus made the forgiveness of our sin possible by taking the judgement and sin of the whole world on Him.  “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”   The scripture says in 1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Response:

Forgiveness is fully and finally available in the person and work of Jesus Christ.  Call in Him today for salvation.  Confess your sin today and be cleansed.  Believe on Him and be healed. 

The Son of Man- Luke- Week 10- Day 4

(22)  But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?(23)  Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? (24)  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.

Luke 5:22-24

Explanation:

Not only did Jesus see the heart of the paralytic man, He also saw the hearts of the pharisees.  They had the right idea that no one could forgive sins but God.  What they were wrong about is their assessment of Jesus.  They had heard about His miracles.  No doubt they had heard about rumors of Him being born of a virgin.  No doubt they had heard that John the Baptist declared Jesus to be the Messiah.  They had heard about and may had even seen some of His miracles.  The fact was that they did not want to believe.  They refused to identify Jesus as even someone sent by God, much less God in the flesh.

To challenge their wrong thinking Jesus asks a great question.  “(23)  Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?” 

What is the answer to that question?  Both are equally difficult to do for mere men.  We do not have the capacity to forgive sins or to command healing in sick people.  Yet, that was not the question.  The question was “which is easier to say?”.  Clearly, it is easier to say “your sins be forgiven you” because it is unproveable whether a person’s sins really are forgiven.  If I say to a handicapped person, “Get out of your wheelchair and walk”, either they do or they do not.  It is instantly provable.

For this man to be healed it had to effect brain, muscle, blood flow, muscle memory, bone and probably much more physiologically.  When we see people in rehab learn to walk again when the chances are severely slim, we see that as incredible.  For this paralytic to be fully, instantly healed would be a miracle.

Jesus tied His authority to forgive sins to His authority to heal.  There is a connection to those things.  The reason that there is sickness at all is because of the presence of sin.  For God to ultimately heal us he had to deal with our sin problem.  “The soul that sinneth it shall die.”  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Those who die in Christ will be ultimately healed and given a glorified body because their sins have been forgiven by God.  Those whose sins are not forgiven will go to the eternal death.

In this instance, Jesus is essentially making the claim that if he can do the harder thing to say, then He has the authority to do the easier thing.  If He can heal the man, He can forgive sins. 

Ultimately, that claim is tied to who He is.  Jesus is claiming to be God.  In verse 24 He calls Himself “the Son of man”.  This title is not only Messianic, but also a claim to deity.

(13)  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (14)  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:13-14

The “Son of Man” in Daniel’s vision is the one to whom dominion of an everlasting, eternal kingdom is given.  It is at once a reference to the person’s deity and their humanity.  The only one who can fulfill that title is Jesus Christ! This is who Jesus was claiming to be. This is who Jesus is!

Jesus Christ can forgive sins because He is both God and man.  He came to die and will reign forever.

It is with this authority that He looks at the paralytic and says, “So you know that I have the power on earth to forgive sins, Arise, take up your bed and walk.”

Application:

The forgiveness of sins is tied both to the authority of Jesus to forgive sins, and our response of faith to Jesus to believe.  If we do not think we need forgiveness, or if we do not believe that Jesus can forgive, we will not be forgiven. 

If you are going through something difficult physically today, know that ultimately those who trust in Christ as Savior will be healed.   If you are enduring pain in this life, there is a reason for it.  Do not waste this side of eternity.  Use your life, even through your pain, to make a difference for Christ now.

Response:

Have you gone to Christ for forgiveness?

Praise God for His incredible plan and provision in Jesus!