Posts Tagged ‘Luke’
During the time I am away, I will reposting older entries from the icrucified blog. The following post was an entry from July 8, 2008
Reading from Luke this morning, chapters 19 through 21, today and I find reaffirmation to what I have found in earlier reading from this gospel. From chapter 19 I found passages that support several of my earlier posts excerpted from my journal notes. Specifically, I think the first three posts (You are Permitted, One Thing, and Fully Committed) are all tied together with some of the words spoken by Jesus from Luke 19. See if you agree…
First up is the Parable of the Ten Servants (Luke 19:11-27). Most often, this parable is explained or shared in the context of “using what you have for, or unto, the Lord” most often with the focus directed toward money and sometimes individual gifts, talents, and skills. While I’m sure that can be a valid teaching, I don’t think it is the broader message Jesus shares. For the whole of this gospel account, Jesus has been sharing about the Kingdom of God. He has been sharing about how His Kingdom is different than the kingdoms of man. In this account, the parable is preceded by a qualifier; “The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told them a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away.” (Luke 19:11 NLT)
The thrust of the parable features a nobleman who becomes King (Jesus). The opening narrative of the parable shares in parallel the rejection of Jesus by the Jews as well as explaining the gifts and resources imparted by the “nobleman” to his subjects for equipping them to further his kingdom (Luke 19:12-14). The next passages of this parable (Luke 19:15-23) recount the return of the King and the accounting of the resources and gifts he imparted to his subjects. I believe this portion is self-explanatory when read in this light. So, moving on, we come to the final paragraph of this parable which reads as follows:
Luke 19:26-27 “‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 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.’”
This is extremely hard teaching; and I think it affirms the earlier points I have made. Consider again Luke 8:18. To my ears, this sounds remarkably similar…I am also convinced in my own heart that the expectation is full-on commitment (also shared in a previous post). We can choose a “sideline” participation in building God’s Kingdom, but that does not seem to be an option having an enjoyable outcome…no matter what we attempt to make ourselves believe.
One final scene caught my eye this morning as I was reading these gospel accounts. Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44), an account which shares the heart of Jesus for the people that reject him. Again, I’ll make the point that I do not believe this is restricted to the Jewish people of 2000 years ago. It is my firm belief this passage is as applicable to this unbelieving generation as it was to Jerusalem 30-something AD. Consider the post-modern, cynical, and skeptical world we live today as we read these words; “Luke 19:42 How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes.” I also cannot help but ask if we will be found staring blankly at the shambles of our own lives…the “rubble” of what could have been glorious testimony to the wonder of our God because we too reject Him in His fullness. Hear Jesus’ words as he closes his reflective thoughts on Jerusalem; “Luke 19:43-44 “Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.”
During the time I am away, I will reposting older entries from the icrucified blog. The following post was an entry from July 2, 2008
Continuing my journey through the gospel of Luke this morning and I was captured by the way the New Living Translation phrases a passage. The verse in question is Luke 10:42. Most versions translate the sentence to read this way; “but one thing is needful…” or “one thing is necessary…” The NLT chooses to translate this verse as such:
“There is only one thing worth being concerned about.”
I must admit that the NLT choice of words for this passage sparked my thinking much more than did “one thing is needful.” I don’t think that either interpretation is any more or any less accurate than the other. I think both of them are faithful to the original text, although I haven’t attempted to verify that in the Greek. I simply feel that according to my use and familiarity with our language (in other words, what I’m comfortable with), the New Living Translation conveys a much greater sense of urgency in what is being spoken by Jesus.
Here are some of my thoughts spawned by, “There is only one thing worth being concerned about…”
- This translation seems to reflect Jesus’ teachings concerning discipleship that are recorded elsewhere in the gospel accounts.
- This translation causes me to think more intentionally about what it really means to be a disciple of Jesus; taking to heart his call to “count the cost.”
- I am urged to look up supporting teaching from Jesus and to ensure that what I find as support is contextually accurate.
What I found (I included the verse references in context, but excerpted the portion that caught my attention) -
Matthew 6:25-34 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life– whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?”
Matthew 10:32-39 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”
Luke 9:23-25 “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?”
Luke 9:57-62 “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Luke 14:25-33 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison– your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters– yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.”
I happened to run across some thoughts that are similar to my takeaway from this passage of scripture while reading a devotional piece from Oswald Chambers, who writes as follows:
If the closest relationships of life clash with the claims of Jesus Christ, He says it must be instant obedience to Himself. Discipleship means personal, passionate devotion to a Person, Our Lord Jesus Christ. There is a difference between devotion to a Person and devotion to principles or to a cause. Our Lord never proclaimed a cause; He proclaimed personal devotion to Himself. To be a disciple is to be a devoted love-slave of the Lord Jesus. Many of us who call ourselves Christians are not devoted to Jesus Christ. No man on earth has this passionate love to the Lord Jesus unless the Holy Ghost has imparted it to him. We may admire Him, we may respect Him and reverence Him, but we cannot love Him. The only Lover of the Lord Jesus is the Holy Ghost, and He sheds abroad the very love of God in our hearts. Whenever the Holy Ghost sees a chance of glorifying Jesus, He will take your heart, your nerves, your whole personality, and simply make you blaze and glow with devotion to Jesus Christ.
What then is my takeaway? Being a disciple, a true follower of Jesus, is serious business. I don’t think a casual approach is acceptable. I’m not judging or condemning anyone else; they will have to make their own decisions and come to their own conclusions about what Jesus meant when he spoke these words. I do think; however, that if these words were set aside for a moment and we looked at another set of words:
“You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5 NLT)
I am prompted to ask another question; “God, how much is all ?”
“You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. So pay attention to how you hear.” –Jesus (Luke 8:10, 18)
What we listen to and where/who we turn to for our information would also come under the heading “Pay attention to how you hear.” Additionally, how we respond would ultimately reveal how well we pay attention. This is especially true with how obedient we are to Christ’s teaching. The downside of neglecting our hearing? See here: (Luke 8:18 NLT)
Lord God, Almighty and Everlasting Father, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn in this fellowship of Christ’s Body may show faith in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. (John 12:24)
The Kingdom of God is like…
- King James Bible
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
- New International Version (©1984)
nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
- New American Standard Bible (©1995)
nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
- New Living Translation (©2007)
You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.”
- English Standard Version (©2001)
nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches (Matt. 13:31-32).
The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough (Matt. 13:33).
Also in my consideration is The Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13:1-23) with particular focus on this statement of Jesus; “The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
The first thing that struck me when reading “the kingdom is like…” passages was the drastic and transformative imagery that Jesus presents. I don’t think exact comparisons of these illustrations are necessary and they are not the real point of Jesus’ examples. For instance, he could have said an acorn turns into a mighty oak or the seed from a pine cone turns into a cedar that reaches the heavens. Likewise, the point can be made for the yeast in the flour dough… something “small” had great influence and had amazing transformative power or was amazingly transformed.
As I was thinking about these passages, especially in context with the parable of the sower (Matt. 13:1-23), I started considering how my previous thinking about these Kingdom of Heaven word pictures might not have been perceived correctly. I have, or had, generally considered these statements as something outside of me and not necessarily within me. I don’t know why that is, but it is. Suddenly, something clicked though, and I began to consider this from a different vantage point… and it seems to make much more sense to me now. Not that my previous thinking was inaccurate, but I was thinking in more of an ultimate and complete sense of understanding. Ultimately the Kingdom of God will be all encompassing and the ruling reign of Jesus will be over all things; the Bible speaks prophetically of this, so yes… those Kingdom of God is like metaphors make sense in those respects. Jesus, in his humble arrival, and with the help of his unassuming disciples ultimately reorder all things on the earth through his atoning sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. I get it; it makes sense… something small and it radically transforms into something much larger than itself. Or is there more?
I think there is more and maybe I’m just a little slow to arrive at this conclusion and everybody else has already seen this. If that is the case, welcome me to the party…sorry I have been late in arriving. So…considering the Kingdom of God, I remember on a couple of occasions in particular Jesus stating that the Kingdom of God is already among you (Matthew 12:28). Particularly in Luke 17:21 I was reminded of several translations (see above) that indicated the Kingdom is within you, among you, and in your midst. I’m very much an “if—then” thinker. I’m always postulating ideas into if/then statements and overlaying them on different scenarios. It was one of these moments that opened up some serious heart examination questions for me with this Kingdom of God is like… idea presented by Jesus in Matt. 13:31-33.
Ok… the Kingdom of God is like a tiny mustard seed that grows into a mighty garden plant or tree, and the Kingdom of God is like a tiny measure of yeast put into three full measures of flour that doesn’t stop working (activating) until it has worked itself through the whole dough. What does that mean to me? If the Kingdom of God is within me or among me like the “seed” or the “yeast,” how has it impacted me? Is the Kingdom growing within me and working itself through every molecule of my being (much like the yeast in the flour)? Has the tiny seed of God’s Kingdom taken root within me and begun its mighty transformative work in me so I no longer appear the same as I used to? Do other creatures of God want to take up residence in the haven of God’s Kingdom which has become my life?
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches…
I’m brought back to the beginning of this chapter thirteen in Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus is speaking to his disciples about the Parable of the Sower and I wonder; which seed am I? Certainly I am not seed one (Matt. 13:18-19) and I don’t consider myself seed two (Matt. 13:20-21). If this Good News of Jesus Christ, the seed of God’s Kingdom has truly been planted within and among me, and Jesus’ words are true about what the Kingdom of God is like… then I will not fall victim of seed three (Matt. 13:22) either. However, I’m not fully convinced when I look honestly in the mirror of my life, that I am seed four (Matt. 13:23)… Radical transformation on the level of Jesus’ descriptions will indeed produce a harvest of 30, 60, 100 fold. I believe my tendency is to be satisfied and give myself applause if I am able to successfully replicate myself; what is that one-fold??? Two-fold??? In either event it doesn’t sound radically transformative as is depicted in Jesus’ illustration.
I suppose the bottom line question in my ongoing meditation is this; “Is the kingdom of God like Jeff?” The truth of the matter is if Jesus’ words are true and the Kingdom has been planted in me, I will be radically transformed into something that no longer resembles my old self. Sadly, we have a tendency to start out down the road of transformation (seed two or seed three) and then fail to allow the yeast of Christ any more leeway in our lives. I desire whole life transformation and I believe the key is whole death. I think I read this one time…
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. John 12:24
Transform me, O My God, through the yeast of your word. May it consume and devour all that am so I might be a deeply rooted tree in your kingdom, a safe haven for others to call home. Amen.
“Cleans us, O Lord, from our secret faults and mercifully absolve us from our presumptuous sins, that we may receive thy holy things with a pure mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” –The Leonine Sacramentary
“It is while waiting for the coming of the reign of God, Advent after Advent, that we come to realize that its coming depends on us. What we do will either hasten or slow, sharpen or dim our own commitment to do our part to bring it.” Joan Chittister; The Liturgical Year.
- Prepare the way…
- He comes to purify and refine
- …so they (we) may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.
I consider how faithful I am to prepare the way for my Lord Jesus. I think, too often, we (generally) are lax, complacent, and downright lazy in our preparations. Where do we prepare…at some distant location in the future? When do we prepare; hastily, at the last minute…out of desperation? Israel had (at the time of the prophet Malachi) 400 plus years to prepare…and they still weren’t ready. Israel (at the time of John the Baptist) had several years…maybe even a decade or so; and they still weren’t ready. Our nature indicates that our own preparation leaves much to be desired.
I think “prepare the way” is repentance and with repentance we are open to receive the Spirit of the Lord to purify and cleanse us so we might receive His holy things. He is the giver of Light and our Guide in the dark. It is our responsibility to hasten His coming in our own lives through preparation… How do I prepare? I prepare with and through an attitude of repentance with desire to walk upright in purity and righteousness. I want the sacrifice of my life to be a pleasing aroma in the nostrils of my God.
“Prepare;” this word implies it is my responsibility to make the way ready for my King…He will cleanse, He will guide, He will purify… I am given the task to prepare.
- Prepare the way for the Lord…
- He comes to give light…
- He comes to guide us…
Maranatha – “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.”
40 Days Living the Jesus Creed [Days 31-33]
LtJC – Day 31:
“Love does not insist on its own way…” (1 Corinthians 13:5-6)
Jesus Creed Thoughts for the day…
- “Jesus Creed love is AGAPE Love…”
- “Agape Love denies self…”
My takeaway/parting thoughts: icrucified = crucify self = deny self
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ…”
“To choose to live a life of loving others is to choose against a life of loving only ourselves.” (Scot McKnight) Read the rest of this entry »
Weekly Meds – Week of Feb 16th, 2009
Prayer for the week:
O Lord our God, teach us, we ask you, to ask you aright for the right blessings. Steer the vessel of our life toward Yourself, You tranquil haven of all storm-tossed souls. Show us the course wherein we should go. Renew a willing spirit within us. Let Your spirit curb our wayward senses, and guide and enable us unto that which is our true good, to keep Your laws, and in all our works evermore to rejoice in Your glorious and gladdening presence. For Your is the glory and praise from all Your saints for ever and ever. Amen. (Basil the Great)
From Deep-Rooted in Christ, the theme for this week’s meditation is “Minding the Inner Life.”
Pastor Kang writes; “The powerful presence of the Holy Spirit should bring dramatic changes to our inner world. Spiritual formation isn’t a matter of outward change; it originates in our inner world. To grasp this we must understand the essence of learning. The word educate has a root meaning: ‘to lead out from within.’ Spiritual education isn’t about packing knowledge or information into our hearts. It’s about letting God transform us from the inside out. What a precious treasure we Christians have received! The Holy Spirit dwells in us so that our inner worlds may be transformed…”
“God looks beyond our human appearances; he sees through the disguises we put on. The Lord searches deep within our hearts and sees us as we really are… Jesus condemned the Pharisees as white-washed tombs; they seemed godly on the outside, but they lacked authentic righteousness on the inside. We too may walk around with a big Bible in each hand, but that doesn’t prove we are godly. Pay attention to what is really welling up in your inner world.”
I agree with Pastor Kang when he says, Read the rest of this entry »