Manna for Today

 

The Cost of Being a Disciple of Christ (Luke 14:25-35)

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’

31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”  (Luke 14:25-35)
 Learn it:

            Jesus is now shifting gears and is beginning to prepare his disciples for his departure.  When Jesus leaves, he wants to make sure the disciples understand what it takes to follow after him.  He starts out by saying that Jesus must be the priority in their life.  Compared to how much they love Jesus, it should look as though they hate their family.  That is how much they are to love him.  That’s some intense love! 

            He goes on to tell two stories.  One is about a person planning to build a tower.  They need to have a plan a be sure they have all the supplies they need in order to build the tower.  They do not want to be close to finishing and then run out of supplies.  In the same way, when a person follows Christ, they need to understand what it is going to take.  It is always sad to see someone turn from their faith because they did not count the costs.              

            Next is a story about a king going to war.  If he sees he is not going to be able to win, he would be wise to make peace.  We too must make peace with God in our own lives.  He is the creator of the universe and no matter how smart we may think we are; we are not going to win eternity on our own strength.  We must surrender our lives to God.  He ends with what seems to be a confusing story about salt.  If salt has no usefulness, then it should be discarded.  If a disciple of Christ is not pursuing after things of God, they become useless to God.  This can raise serious implications like, was that person ever saved?  Or are they going to lose rewards or face judgment at the end times? 

 Live it:

            Deciding to become a follower of Christ should not be taken lightly.  To follow Christ means that you should give up your life, your desires, and your plans.  While we want people to know of the saving power of the cross, we want them to also understand what changes are going to occur in their life.  Have you thought about what you have sacrificed to follow Jesus?  Have you considered the cost?  We all should be pursuing things in our lives that glorify God.  How are you making him famous and humbling yourself to his ways?  I pray that God would reveal ways in your life and my life that we can lay our desires before him and he would guide us to where he wants us to go.   


Read more...

Give, Rather than Receive (Luke 14:1-24)

 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.

5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.

7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”  (Luke 14:1-14)
 Learn it:

            Jesus is again going after the Pharisees again.  We see that they have hard hearts because they are now at the point where they are not talking with Jesus when he asks questions.  So, Jesus takes the opportunity to tell them a story.  It was typical of the culture back them for the most honored guests would show up late.  The point of the story is that it is better to be humble so that you can be honored than be prideful and be shamed.  Humility is not an emotion we naturally go to.  We like to be recognized.  The big question is, do we want to be recognized here on earth or in heaven?  

            Next, Jesus gives some advice on who to invite to your party.  He says that if a person wants to show true hospitality then they would invite people who cannot pay them back.  That is authentic hospitality.  If you invite someone over with the expectation of them reciprocating in the future, then that’s not hospitality.  I want to say, that’s not a bad thing to do.  That’s a way to build fellowship!  We want to bring others into the family of Christ and a good way to do that is by showing hospitality.      
 Live it:

            Being a follower of Christ means we have to set aside our pride and love those that are on the fringes of society.  It is so easy to love those that are the same as you but Christ was always challenging social norms.  Who do you know at work or in your neighborhood that could use a hand?  You can do it simply by inviting them over for dinner and getting to know them.  That will be so much more meaningful to them than you dropping off a meal for them.  Showing them what a Christian community looks like could have a powerful impact in their life.  Who can you invite over to your house for a meal? 


Read more...

No One Can Stop God’s Plan (Luke 13:18-35)

31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”

32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”  (Luke 13:31-35)

Learn it:

            I am going to focus on Luke 13:31-35.  Versus 18-30 are about the kingdom of God and the need to respond to the Gospel.  Jesus is making his case that people need to decide and they need to make sure they are going to enter through the narrow door.  If someone wants to enter into heaven, they must have a personal relationship with God. 

After saying those things, we get to verse 31.  The Pharisee’s are just looking for an opportunity to stop Jesus’ ministry.  They hear King Herod wants him dead so they hope they can keep their hands clean by telling this news to Jesus (13:31).  Jesus is not phased by this.  He confidentially tells them that he is going to continue his work.  He is not going to slow down!  He then turns and has compassion for them.  Israel is God’s chosen people and they are rejecting the Messiah.  God has loved his people and taken great care of them.  The hour is approaching where they need to make a decision on who Jesus is.  That day is coming soon.

Live it:

            For believers, this is a good section to know about for people who believe there are many ways to get into heaven.  Here it is clear that you have to know Jesus Christ and have a relationship with him.  He is the only way.  For followers of Christ, it should encourage us to make sure that we do have a close, personal relationship with him.  It is also a warning that God’s plans cannot be stopped.  Jesus was not afraid of Herod because he has authority over all of creation.  Jesus is very compassionate and gives people a chance to know him but a judgment day is coming.


Read more...

Freedom in Compassion (Luke 13:10-17)

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.  (Luke 13:10-17)

 Learn it:

            This is now the third time Jesus has healed someone on the Sabbath in front of Pharisee’s.  This story is very similar to the other three.  In this story, there is a woman who has been physically disabled for 18 years.  It also points out that the problem she was experiencing was caused by an evil spirit.  Jesus sees her, has compassion, and then heals her.  At this healing the Pharisee’s are upset!  According to them, if this had happened on any other day it would have been a cause for celebration.  Since it was done on the Sabbath, it broke God’s commandment and therefore was a sin.

            Jesus is showing that the new law he is bringing is going to change things a bit.  There is going to be more emphasis on compassion, grace, and mercy.  It’s not to say the Law is unimportant.  It is just that part of obeying God is showing compassion to others.  That is the point he was making in showing how the Pharisee’s showed compassion to their animals by walking them to get water.  How much more should we show mercy to someone who is enslaved by an evil spirit?  By healing her it gave her the ability to rest on the Sabbath day as well.  What better day for someone to be healed by God than on the Lord’s day? 

 Live it:

            This is not the first-time compassion has come up in the book of Luke.  We see the Jewish leaders has a real problem with showing compassion to people.  They always wanted to follow the law.  Which is commendable but when it ignores hurting people then God has a problem.  This is what we call legalism.  It’s a thing we, myself included, get stuck on.  For example, say on a Sunday morning we get a call that someone is sick, hurting or has some other issue where they need help.  Should we tell them we will be there right after church, or skip church and help them immediately?  I think the most compassionate thing we can do would be to skip church and help them right away.  That would be showing the love of Christ to that person. 

            We must have our eyes open to see people in need.  There might be great church activities that we may have to miss if it means we can show God’s love to someone else.  Now, we shouldn’t make a habit of missing things because fellowship with believers is critical to a person’s spiritual walk.  But it should not be something so sacred we cannot ever miss it.  As with all things in life we have to find a balance and be obedient to what the Holy Spirit is calling us to do.


Read more...

Pastor’s Corner