Vs. 7, “All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner’.” What a wonderful reminder that Jesus is concerned about individuals just as much as crowds. Many people have heard about Jesus but not many truly understand why He came. Jesus came to save the lost…with no prejudice or favoritism…God shows us that even a supervisor of tax collectors such as Zaccheus would be offered time with Jesus. Seek & you shall find…and Zaccheus did just that, in fact…it was truly odd behavior for such a man in his position to run and climb a tree. The next section of this chapter is very similar to the parable of the talents, but don’t mistake the two being the same. Scholars contrast the talents to abilities…while minas are compared to sharing the Gospel. We then move forward to the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the second cleansing of the temple.
Regarding application…Child-Like Curiosity. Vs. 4, “So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.” As bad of a reputation that Zaccheus would have in society that day…it’s truly amazing to see his behavior when he saw Jesus coming. As we get older…it’s no longer cool to want to hang out with your parents, it’s no longer cool to get super-excited about something. We get cynical, jaded and bored these days. Now that I live in So. Cal…one of the positive things from Hyojin’s perspective is that we live 30 min. from Disneyland. Although I’m not a Disney fanatic, I have to admit witnessing Hyojin’s child-like awe in the magical world of Disney makes it a far more enjoyable experience. I think we’ll be going again soon Let’s find a new child-like curiousity to know God and a joy to fellowship with Him and others!
Vs. 1, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” What a wonderful reminder of persistent prayer! Jesus didn’t pull any punches and go soft when it came to sacrifice. Some very well known parables/stories are shared in this passage…the persistent widow, the pharisee and the tax collector, and the event of the rich young ruler. If a selfish worldly judge can give mercy…how much more can our Heavenly Father? We see the contrast between the church goer (Pharisee) and the sinner (tax collecter). And the rich young ruler’s weakness was money…but don’t forget that money isn’t the only thing that can keep us from following Jesus.
Regarding application…Impossible? Vs. 27, “Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” How can a camel go through the eye of a needle? How can a sinner who is headed to Hell end up in Heaven? It’s impossible…but, Jesus is in the business of doing the impossible. As much as I would like to think I am a man of incredible faith, I am convicted as I ponder about all the possible things God desires to bless us with. When I look at the youth group at CTC, I thought it was impossible for such growth when I first started last summer. But, God is humbling me and reminding me that it is the LORD that can change the lives and events around us. All we have to do is put our faith in Him. It’s not what we do…because of it was…it would be impossible!
Vs. 26, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.” We are living in the End Times…how much more should we be careful how we live. Jesus reminds us how important it is to have faith when we live this life. Faith to forgive (vs. 1-4), Faith to serve the Lord (vs. 5-10), Faith to pray (v. 11-19), and Faith to be ready when Jesus comes again (vs 20-37). This past Thanksgiving, I gave a message on the passage about the Ten Lepers (vs. 11-19)….only 10% (1 out of 10) would respond with gratefulness. I think it is a stark reminder of how unappreciative we often are when it comes to the blessings of the Lord in our lives.
Regarding application…Losing Our Lives. Vs. 33, “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” Remembering the Missions Revival…Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” When we choose to disobey…when we choose not to sacrifice…we unknowingly (or perhaps knowingly) choose to pick our life over the Lord’s. But losing our life is not just a one time event of salvation…it is a daily choosing to think just like John the Baptist to become less so He may become greater. Of course, I made a huge mistake from age 16 – 20 by deliberately choosing not to lose my life. It is truly by Grace (Eunhye) that God had allowed me to live a bit longer and have the chance to make right what I had done wrong.
Vs. 13, “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” What a great statement and a interesting parable that Jesus opens up with. Did you know?…19 out of the 38 parables that Jesus shares pertains to how we handle possessions. The shrewd manager was lazy, but when he found out that he must take account for his work, he went at once to settle debts for the owner. We are reminded we must be shrewd in how we handle what God has given to us. Regarding Vs. 16, people are responding to the Good News as if they all were going to receive a million dollars, but the Good News still requires us to obey His laws, not just take His grace for granted. And lastly, we close with the Rich man and Lazarus. It’s important to note that Jesus did not preface this story as a parable.
Regarding application…What is Valuable? Vs.15, “He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” There are so many things we put value on in this world we live in. While the Lord instructed us to be finanically responsible, there is a slippery slope when it comes to loving the posessions we can attain. My youth group in Corona did a revival this past weekend and we focused on “Missions”. That brings me to thinking how so many Missionaries and Pastors have given up the posessions of this world for the Lord. I wonder if I could do the same? Especially those who reach out to foreign missions…they leave the luxuries of this world. I guess we have to ask ourselves if we could live without such things. Everything we have doesn’t belong to us anyway.
Vs. 1-2, “Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Jesus goes on to explain to us why He would choose the tax collectors and “sinners” in this well known chapter. Remember that the Pharisee’s and teachers of the law were responding in jealousy and a hardened heart. The sheep needed a shepherd, the lost coins were truly of value, and the lost son needed a father. We see a picture of God’s joy with us when the sheep is found, the coin is found and the lost son is found. Don’t forget that it was us (Sheep, coin & son) that went astray and left the fellowship of our Lord.
Regarding application…Reaching Our Potential. So often we struggle with self-esteem far more than we would like to admit. In some ways we can get overconfident in certain areas in life…however, I would contend that very few of us truly reach our potential. Case in point, the prodigal son thought his potential would be to be a servant in his father’s household, but the father had different plans. Brothers & sisters…don’t sell yourself short. I’m not just talking about the potential of your future careers…I’m talking spiritual potential! We are all on our journey home, but getting there involves traversing through deserts, valleys, forests, swamps, oceans, mountains, etc. And truly…it will be incredibly wonderful to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant!”
Vs. 1, “One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.” Eating was a huge part of the Jewish culture and it would also later become a part of the early church life in Acts. I love the Korean tradition of eating lunch @ church together. Anyways…eating was a sign of friendship and comittment…yet Jesus was grieved as He witnessed a man with dropsy (swollen limbs) and many of the guests not caring about it. Jesus would use this as a springboard to rebuke those who tried to trap Him on the Sabbath and to exhort all of us about the true feast that is awaiting us. This feast/Wedding banquet is one that God has written and sent to everyone of those He has created in His image. One of the great things about Heaven is how great the food will be!
Regarding application…Paying The Price. Vs. 27, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Salvation is a debt already paid…but to bear the Jesus’ name in this life (disciple), we too must be willing to carry the cross. To live this life for the Lord is being willing to be persecuted, to give up our own desires, to serve Him and others…not ourselves. Jesus is building His church and we are the material. When I went to Korean in the summer of 2008, I was reminded of the requirement for all males to serve in the army for two years. This is not a knock on the Korean army system…but the reality is…many of these young soldiers never aspired to be in the army. Compare that to the voluntary army we have in America…where we choose to pay the price. God does not force us to be in His army, but when we bear His name…we must be willing to pay the price just like any soldier…and we must do it willingly. Question: Are you willing to pay the price?
Vs. 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.“ Jesus was filled with grief as He knew so many would reject the love of the Father. Jesus would deal with the question about where was God in the midst of tragedy (vs. 1-9)…He would give us a parable of the fruitless fig tree to show us that we must bear fruit. We also see the short-sightedness of the Jews as they were more concerned with following the Law rather than reaching out to heal someone (vs. 10-17). And lastly, we are reminded that we all have the opportunity to accept Jesus…sadly, not all of us do.
Regarding application…Salvation Reality. Vs. 23, “Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” It’s a very valid question…and one that should not be taken lightly. The Good News is available for everyone…but not everyone will respond. No wonder Jesus wept thinking of all those who would harden their hearts. It’s very confusing when you think about why so many people choose to reject the Gospel. It reminds me of Cain & Abel…they had the same upbringing…same parents, but one would choose to be evil. But we know that God is “just” and He has given all of us the same opportunity to know Him. Let’s not give up doing our part in furthering His kingdom!
Vs. 15, “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Jesus continues to admonish us on how we are to take careful stock of how we choose to live our lives. People are fearful about a great many things…fearful of finances, fearful of people who can hurt others, fearful of the future, but Jesus reminds us there is only one person we need to fear (vs. 5). The treasures and possessions of this life are nothing compared to having our hope in the Lord (vs. 34). Jesus is coming back and has given us plenty of warning signs (vs. 54-59).
Regarding application…Division? Vs. 51, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” Jesus is not contradicting himself…He is the Prince of Peace, and He brings that to all who call upon His name. However, when we choose to live fully for the Lord…we will have division in our lives. People will persecute you for following Christ, family members may not understand why you want to put so much of an emphasis on the Lord & church, friends may leave you if you don’t do what they all do (Gossip, drink, relationships, etc.). People have chosen to go against the Lord and that will inevitabley divide His creation here and also in eternity. Question: Are you willing to stand up and perhaps not live such a comfortable life? If you follow Jesus, you will have division. Let’s soberly think of this as we take steps to continue to further His kingdom!
Vs. 1, “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” What a fitting reminder as we are on the eve of our Missions Revival! I find great comfort in remembering Jesus’ promise about answered prayer (vs. 9-10). Jesus draws the line in the sand when it comes to our full obedience unto Him (vs. 23). Our task is to fight aginst the enemy and not allow him to dictate our lives (vs. 26). So many of those who claimed to be Godly were empty inside and lived a wicked life (vs. 29) that Jesus would expose in the six woes.
Regarding application…Being a Light. Vs. 35, “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” Another timely reminder for the CTC Youth as we turn to the Missions Revial and ask that the Lord would help us to shine His light into this darkened world. There is a time for everything…the retreat was a time for introspection and growth. The revival is a time to take that fire and let it shine so others would see the Light of the World (Jesus). Pray that God would speak directly to our hearts and convict us to remember that we have a mission!
Vs. 39, “She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” There is a time for everything…and our QT’s that we are encouraged to do daily is to do what Mary did…to sit at the feet of Jesus and allow His living Word to speak to us (Vs. 38-42)! As much as God loves us to do His will…I think it absolutely delights Him when we choose to spend time with Him. We go on to see how Jesus was not just limited to the twelve apostles…other disciples would be called to go and minister as well (vs. 1-16)! We are also reminded of the childhood parable that most of us grew up with…”The Good Samaritan”. It doesn’t matter how much we know or how much we do for God if we don’t pause to reach out to the hurt and lost (Vs. 25-37).
Regarding application…Godly Perspective. Vs. 20, “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Think about it…put yourself in the position of one of the seventy appointed by Jesus. Jesus would equip them and teach them how…and they would be amazed that “even the demons submit to us in your name.” and that Jesus would give them literally superpowers (Vs. 19)! Yet…in their amazement…Jesus would remind them the Godly perspective…It is even more amazing that your name is written in the lamb’s book of life (Rev. 21:27)! We are a people who love to be entertained and awed. I think that’s why people like David Blaine (The famous Magician) is so popular…magic reminds us of when we were children and thought so many things were possible. I have even been amazed by what I have seen David Blaine do! Yet, no matter how amazing this world can be…the simplicity of our names written in Heaven is astounding beyond words! Dearest brothers & sisters…we have much to be amazed & joyful for! Can’t wait until the Missions Revival!