Manna for Today

 

Suffering for the Gospel (Luke 21:5-38)

 10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

12 “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 All men will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By standing firm you will gain life.  (Luke 21:10-19)

34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”  (Luke 21:34-36)

Learn it:

            This section is packed full of a lot of things and we could talk a lot about end times prophecy in it.  But I’m not going to.  Jesus is warning those living in Jerusalem that there is a time of judgment coming soon.  This warning also doubles as a warning to us as believers about the second coming of Jesus Christ.  He gives big warnings about wars and earthquakes but before all of that, we will face persecution.  This is a promise Jesus is giving his followers that apply to us.  People will not like the message we are sharing and even our closest friends and relatives will be against us.  Even though all of that is happening we should not be afraid.  We should stand firm knowing that true life awaits us. 

            In light the impending persecution we should not be stressed out or turn to other things for comfort (verse 34).  We should not be consumed with a life of fear.  We must live a life of confidence, hope, and strength knowing that we are overcomers.  We do that by watching and praying that we may be able to escape what is ahead of us. 

Live it:

            Persecution of believers is something that is promised to believers.  What is persecution?  It is experiencing some form of hostility for holding a certain belief.  It can come in many different forms as mild as being ignored to more extreme as imprisonment.  In our minds, these can cause us great stress because we do not want to experience pain or suffering.  Jesus is telling us when we experience suffering, we should not be afraid of what we will say because the Holy Spirit will be with us and will give us the words to say.  The apostle Paul goes a step further saying we should rejoice that we are counted worthy of suffering for the gospel.  We are called to live a life in the manner of Christ.  Christ suffered so we should suffer for his glory.  We should be excited to share the gospel with people and it may go well, or it may lead to some awkwardness.  Either way, God will be glorified, and He will be with us.  How can you suffer for the glory of God today? 


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Pride and Giving (Luke 20:45-21:4)

While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.”

21            As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” 
Learn it:

            Jesus takes the opportunity after talking with the Jewish leaders to teach his disciples about pride.  He uses the Jewish leaders as an example of what not to do.  The Jewish leaders wore these expensive, beautiful robes and loved the attention and respect they were given.  They also would take money that was supposed to be given to the widows to help them afford housing and use it for themselves!  They would also say long-winded prayers to show how holy they were.  Jesus warns the disciples that leaders that act this way will be punished severely.  Humility is something that should be sought after. 

            He then goes on to teach about giving and how we should do that in our lives.  The amount each person gives is going to be different.  What is important is that when we give it should be a sacrifice.  For some people that are giving to God, it might be very easy to give the 10% that the law requires.  The question is, was that a sacrifice for them?  For other people it might be impossible to give the 10%, like the widow in the story.  Yet she gave what she could out of her poverty.  She truly sacrificed and Jesus saw that she gave a greater sacrifice even though her offering was so meek. 

Live it:

            Pride is a strong temptation to ignore.  It’s easy to see how the Pharisee’s got used to all the praise and then expected to get it all the time.  It probably started out small with recognition in public and slowly began to grow and grow.  We all like being recognized and being treated special!  We have to be careful not to come to expect it.  It is important to do heart checks from time to time and remember that God should be given the glory.  We are to take a servant leader position and know there is no task that is beneath us to do.

            We learn in the second part of the passage the importance of giving.  No matter how small our offerings may be, we all need to play a part.  Do you think the church back then could have lived without the widows two small copper coins?  Yes, of course.  What’s important is the participation in contributing financially to the mission of the church.  We should be giving sacrificially and wanting to see the mission of God growing and doing great things.  


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Who is the Messiah? (Luke 20:41-44)

Then Jesus said to them, “How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David? 42 David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:
“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand 43
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.” ’
44 David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”  (Luke 20:41-44)
Learn it:

            Jesus is still having a conversation with Pharisees and Sadducees.  The religious leaders are out of questions, so Jesus asks them one.  It is a real doozey of a question.  Jesus asks them, “How is it that some say the messiah will be a descendent of King David?”  The Jewish leaders were expecting the Messiah to come as a fully human person, with no deity in him at all.  That was the type of Messiah the Jewish people were expecting.  s Jesus wanted to make his point even clearer by using Psalm 110:1. This Psalm is a popular one in Judaism and the New Testament that is referring to the coming Messiah.  In that passage David writes, “The LORD said to my Lord.”  This is significant because God the Father is talking to the Messiah, but David calls him “my Lord”.  If the Messiah is to be the Son of David it would be odd for David to be so submissive to his own great-great-grandchild (or however many greats it would be to Jesus).  Jesus is alluding to the fact that the Messiah is God.  This is why the last question Jesus asks in verse 44, “How then can he be his son?”  He can’t sully be his son because he is from God. The Jewish leaders did not want to make the argument that the Messiah was God because then they would have to prove that Jesus was not God.  With so many already people claiming that he was the Messiah, performing miracles and doing so many other wonderful things.  If they concluded that Jesus was God, then they would have to submit to him.  That is why in this passage there is no response from the Jewish leaders.

Live it:

            This is a theological heavy passage!  It shows us that the Messiah will be both divine and human.  Something that is difficult to understand but it is something we read in Scripture.  We see it clearly in Romans 1:3-4, “regarding his Son [Jesus Christ], who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Jesus was fully God and man.  He is now seated at the right hand of the Father and reigning with him on high.  This should give us great comfort and hope as we live our lives.  We do not serve and fully a person but the Son of God!  Who has power and authority over all things!


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Concerns about the afterlife (Luke 20:27-40)

Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

39 Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40 And no one dared to ask him any more questions.  (Luke 20:27-40)

Learn it:

            It may seem that this section is about marriage and the afterlife it is really about the resurrection and what the afterlife will be like.  The Sadducees, while Jewish, did not believe in an afterlife or resurrection.  So, their question about this widow who had been married seven times, according to the law, and who she would be married to in the afterlife was a rhetorical question.  They thought that there is no way she could be married to seven people in the afterlife.  So, to their point, the resurrection of people did not make sense. 

            Jesus goes on to explain that the afterlife is going to be totally different than what we experience in our lives now.  Marriage will no longer be needed in heaven.  Our relationships in heaven will be so pure and perfect that in the presence of God, marriage is not necessary.  It’s hard to believe that or comprehend but life will be SO different there.  Jesus goes on to counter the Sadducees of the resurrection by pointing out the in the Old Testament that Moses considered the patriarchs of the Jewish faith to still be alive in some way.  Or at least they were with God.  This is what Jesus meant when he said in verse 38, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”  There is an afterlife and we will be resurrected someday to be with the Lord for eternity. 

Live it:

            Jesus is teaching here that there is an afterlife and he says in verse 36 that only those who are worthy will take part in it.  That means that there are some who will not be found worthy and not get to experience that resurrection.  There is a choice that has to be made and we will have to sacrifice things in our life in order to bring glory to God.  We know that the sacrifices are worth because what is waiting for us on the other side will infinitely be better.  When we are in the presence of Jesus Christ, our Savior, we will want for nothing.  We will be with the people we loved but the titles of those relationships won’t matter as much because we are with the creator of the universe.  This is something we cannot fully understand but it is something we long for. 


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Pastor’s Corner