Category Archives: Luke

Gospel

Reward that Lasts

Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward.13Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.14Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.(Lk.14:12-14 NLT)

We work for rewards or payments. It is normal. Bible says that the worker is worthy of his wages. However, there are rewards that are temporary and those that are eternal.

Giving to get back

People invest their money to get returns. This is true with material things. But as a Christian, our priority should be God’s kingdom and its values. We should work for eternal rewards rather than temporal accolades. In real life relationships we should not plan our moves with the best material benefits. We must invest our time, skills and money with utmost care so that we can reap the best returns in eternity. The lives that were blessed and transformed because of our investment, both material and spiritual, will be our greatest reward in heaven.

Rejecting God’s invitation

There are times when God offers His invitation to the most religious and pious people. But they are too busy in their religiosity and ritual piety that they refuse God’s invitation. This seems too insignificant for busy people like them. God’s offer is free and unconditional, equally open to both the pious and the rebel. It is open to the wise and the simple. But people stumble over its simplicity.

God, however, will have His party going and there will be unexpected guests at His table. It is against normal religion that God accepts all who come to Him through Jesus Christ, regardless of their backgrounds. The focus is on what they become through their surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The invitation is still open today.

Have you accepted the invitation yet?

Attitudes of a Christian

Jesus turned and asked the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Moses, “Is it right to heal on the Sabbath?”

…If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored. (Lk.14:3,11 CEV)

Religious people are often legalistic and judgmental in their attitudes towards others. They like to define rules and explain commandments to others than following it themselves. Pharisees of Jesus’ time did the same thing. Jesus rebuked them.

Don’t be Legalistic

Jesus being invited for dinner by the prominent Pharisee was under their keen observation. When the man with swollen limbs stood before Him He realized that and asked them whether it was permissible to heal on the Sabbath according to the Law. The Jewish Law forbid them from doing any work on the Sabbath day as it was a day set apart for their God. They could not answer Jesus and he went ahead and healed the man. Jesus nailed it on the legalistic Pharisee’s head when He asked whether they would try to save their child or animal that fell into a pit on the Sabbath day. Sabbath was in honor of the Lord and honor God through whatever you do on that day.

Don’t be Selfish

The guests at the dinner were vying for the best seating positions that would make them look prominent and important. Jesus tells them not to aim at high positions which are beyond themselves. They may be humiliated if they are asked to give room for someone else. But if the host feels that you deserve a better place and invites you to move up it will be an honor.

There are people who deliberately employ this principle with selfish motive. They act humble and polite with the intention that others will notice it. But their actual aim is to grab the position without being labeled cunning or crooked. This is worse than the former. Let God honor you and not people because people’s honor is temporary while God’s reward is eternal.

Kingdom of God

It is like what happens when someone plants a mustard seed in a garden. The seed grows as big as a tree, and birds nest in its branches.”

…It is like what happens when a woman mixes yeast into three batches of flour. Finally, all the dough rises.” (Lk.13:19-22 CEV)

Kingdom is where the King reigns. When God is reigning in peoples’ lives the qualities of His Kingdom are visible. By your life you reveal who your God is.

Jesus presented a view of God’s Kingdom which was very different from what the religious community of His time perceived. He was the King but the characteristics and the establishment of His Kingdom was so radically different.

Characteristics of God’s Kingdom

It is something that is dynamic, growing and reaching out far and wide. Others would find shelter and refuge in it. It is like a tiny mustard seed growing into a large plant that provides its fruit to people and rest to those who come to it.

It is also all pervasive in its nature like the yeast. Its quality penetrates into the whole community and affects it for good. It influences all those who come in contact with it.

Entering God’s Kingdom

The road that leads to God’s kingdom is narrow and difficult. Those who want to take it need determination and commitment to keep walking in it. It is so easy to fall of the narrow way. One cannot change his focus while treading this path.

It also shows clearly that there is one door which is going to be closed some time soon. This door is Jesus. He claimed that He is the only way to Heaven (John 14:6). He said He is the door. Those who wandered here and there, tried to enjoy the multi-lane express ways, and are late in making up their minds to get to ‘the narrow door’ will be shut out. Crying out after the door has been shut is worthless. Enter in while the door is still open.

The response to the cries of those who are left out says clearly that one needs to know the King in order to enter into the kingdom. In fact the King should know you. Those who turned to Jesus acknowledging Him as their only Savior has been given the privilege to know God as their heavenly Father (John 1:12). God knows them too (John 10:9,14). Only such will enter the kingdom.

Do you know the King? Does He know you?

 

 

 

Going to God in Need or Greed

Then he said to the crowd, “Don’t be greedy! Owning a lot of things won’t make your life safe.”

Your Father knows what you need. But put God’s work first, and these things will be yours as well.

Make sure your treasure is safe in heaven, where thieves cannot steal it and moths cannot destroy it. Your heart will always be where your treasure is.(Lk.12: 15, 30,31, 33,34 CEV)

Religiosity is often with selfish motives. People go to God in their greed, to get all they want. But, the Bible emphasizes the need to be free from greed. People came to Jesus with various motives. Here is a man asking Jesus to be the arbiter between him and his siblings in settling their property dispute

Seeking God for material benefits

Jesus questions the integrity of this man’s prayer. He sounds to him that He is not here as anyone’s arbitrator to justly distribute material wealth or earthly benefits. Rather, He is here with a different mission. His goal is eternal and other-worldly. He admonishes people to give away worldly possessions or to trade it for eternal riches. This world is temporal and what this world gives also is fragile. What is stored in heaven is eternal and indestructible.

The rich man’s story reveals the unreliable nature of wealth and the sorry state of those who labor day and night to amass worldly treasures. All these can vanish in a moment. We will have to leave this world we don’t know when. It would look foolish to have struggled for things that are of no value to you anymore. Even God will consider him a fool.

Seeking God for eternal benefits

God has promised those who seek Him sincerely that He will take care of them. After all, it is He who knows our future. To those who acknowledge His Lordship He has given assurance about their eternal destiny (1John 5:13). Jesus reiterates that God would care for His children much better than He cares for the rest of creation. He has put the priorities clearly in order. Put God and His kingdom first, then God will keep His promise to take care of your needs. He may not fulfill your greed but provide your every need (Phil.4:19).

By focusing on God’s kingdom we will be gathering riches and rewards in heaven. When our concern is about earthly things we worry about it in vain because worry is unproductive and often destructive. Our heart will always be where our possessions are. Our focus will be on things that we value the most. We will be disappointed if our eyes are set on the things of this world because they cannot accompany us in death. But all that we did for God’s kingdom will follow us into eternity and result in eternal rewards.

Christian Character

Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.  “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
(Luke 12:3-7 ESV)

Truthfulness
Jesus was tired of the insincerity of the religious folks and rebuked them. He warned His disciples not to follow their hypocrisy. A follower of the Lord Jesus Christ should be truthful and sincere both inside and outside. He should mean what he says and say what he means. God will expose people’s insincerity on the judgment day. What they have said and done in secret will be brought to light on that day.

Fearlessness
A Christian should not be afraid of people but fear only God. People can only kill your physical body once and not your eternal soul. But God can throw you into the eternal hell where you will suffer for ever. Those who fear and honor God can live without the fear of people.

Jesus gave two analogies. God cares about the tiny sparrows which are sold at an insignificant price. He also has the hairs on our head numbered, so He knows which one fell. We are much more precious to Him than many sparrows.

Allegiance
A Christian should witness for Christ no matter what. He should unashamedly acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ over his life at all times. He should never deny the One who gave His very life to redeem you from eternal condemnation. The Holy Spirit has been given to you as the down payment of the covenant God has made with you through the blood of His Son. Testifying against it is a sin that God will never forgive.

In the life of every sinner the Spirit of God is bringing conviction about sin at different times and if they keep rejecting His offer of salvation they will have no chance to repent later.

Apostles, Messengers and Workers

Now go, but remember, I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. Don’t take along a moneybag or a traveling bag or sandals. And don’t waste time greeting people on the road. As soon as you enter a home, say, “God bless this home with peace.” If the people living there are peace-loving, your prayer for peace will bless them. But if they are not peace-loving, your prayer will return to you. (Luke 10:3-6 CEV)

These days, Christian ministers and workers are competing to establish their influence and popularity among the masses. The Largest church in town, the fastest growing church, and what not. They enrich their people so much that they are spiritually obese and become so cult-like, almost worshiping their leader. They become so closed to the people of the world. There are some who take up on themselves big titles, like Apostle, Patriarch, Bishop, and so on, to show their superiority. But Jesus tells us to forget about ourselves and labor for His kingdom.

Pray for Workers, but you too go

Jesus before commissioning His disciples told them to pray for more laborers to do the harvesting. There is always a scarcity of laborers in His field. The Lord of the harvest has to commission more laborers into His field before the crops are lost. Then He sends us to do our part. Because the harvest is too large for a few churches or denominations or organizations can handle.

Don’t worry about your needs or future

He tells specifically not to carry any money, personal goods or items of comfort when you are out in the field. This is a little difficult for us to digest, but the principle is that God will take care of you and your needs. ‘Seek first His kingdom…and all these things will be given’ is the promise of the Master. But how often we try to secure our own position and our future forgetting the fact that it is He who holds our lives and our future?

He has made it pretty clear that He is sending us like sheep into a pack of wolves. And yet tells us we need not be concerned about our maintenance or safety, because He will take care of that.

Announce God’s peace, proclaim God’s kingdom

Don’t waste time on they way greeting and entertaining others but go straight into your business. Announce God’s peace up on the family and people you meet and tell them about the kingdom that is so near so that they can enter in. As you give the message, heal their sick and exhibit the love, compassion and the power of the King who sent you. You are the messengers of God’s peace. God’s peace will rest on those who welcome it and will leave those who reject it.

Accept hospitality

Wherever you are welcomed, minister to the people there, accept their hospitality. The worker deserves his wages. God provides through His people who are willing to share.

In doing the ministry we are workers and servants of the King, carrying the message of the kingdom and sent out with the King’s authority. The least among us will be the greatest in the kingdom.

Height of Humiliation

The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him. At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. “If you are the Christ,” they said, “tell us.” (Lk.22:63-67)

Jesus gave Himself into the hands of the religionists and allowed Himself to be ill treated by His own creation.

God Emptying Himself of His Glory

Jesus was the very God who stepped out of eternity to enter time. The ‘infinite one’ willingly limited Himself by time and space. His own creation insulted Him. The one who opened the eyes of others was blind folded and beaten up. The ‘omniscient one’ was asked to name the soldier who slapped Him. When they arrested Him in the garden, at the mention of His name they fell backwards. But, He gave Himself into their hands to be offered as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world”.

Men Blinded by their Religious Fervor

Though they had the prophecies about the Savior, the religious authorities could not see beyond His humanity. They took His words as blasphemy, His miracles as works of demonic spirits. Still they are asking Him whether He is the ‘Son of God’, not for their own confirmation, but to use as evidence against Him. Jesus gave indirect answers because He knew they would not believe.

However, to those who believe, He is the glorious king and the ultimate judge, seated prominently with God the Father.

Disowning the Master

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” (Lk.22:54-56)

There are times in the life of every Christian when he/she is tempted, tried and pulled apart by circumstances. During these dark hours, our closeness to the Savior alone can keep us from disowning Him.

Following at a distance

Peter was grieved and terrified at the arrest of Jesus. Those were moments of confusion. Everyone ran to safety. Peter followed at a distance.

Following Jesus at a ‘safe’ distance will be more disastrous than following Him closely. When we try to protect ourselves, we land in danger. If we lose our lives for His sake we will save it, said Jesus.

Warmth of the World

The fire place was an ideal one to keep himself warm while watching the events. But the company among which you seek this warmth can be the wrong one. There is the challenge of being identified and picked out as a follower of the Lord Jesus. That could be the worse place for being a witness for the Master.