Vs. 13, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Jesus continues the theme of reminding us how we should always be ready (vs. 1-13). As you know, it’s been nearly two thousand years since Jesus would tell us to be ready. Everday that goes by is reaching us closer to Jesus’ return. The parable of the talents (vs. 14-30) is a exhortation to us to use wisely the talents (abilities) that God has given to us. Each of us us have been richly blessed by God, so let’s not selfishly sit and do nothing. And lastly, we come across the sheep and goats (vs. 31-46). This is judgement day as Jesus gathers all nations to Him after the Tribulation and the 1000 year reign. Of course, the sheep are the good and goats are the bad.
Regarding application…Reaching Out Your Hand. Vs. 44, “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” Scholars believe that Jesus is referring to the Tribulation when those believing in Christ will need extra help because their faith is being persecuted. Jesus is teaching us something beyond just this event though. Jesus is reminding us we must be a Rahab to the spies and a Good Samaritan. When we reacy out our hands to our neighbors we are powerfully showing our love to Jesus. Especially to those Christians who are in dire need of help and compassion. Question: Who can you extend God’s gracious love and help to today?
Vs. 3, “Ishmael son of Nethaniah and the ten men who were with him got up and struck down Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, with the sword, killing the one whom the king of Babylon had appointed as governor over the land.” What a suspenseful chapter of deceit, betrayal, battles and fleeing! Who ever said the Bible is boring, didn’t read this! Ishmael who was a descandant by blood of king David followed through on his plot to assasinate Gedeliah. What a hardened heart he had for he did this very cowardly and deceitfully by faking alliance through dinner and traping them in. And to make matters worse, Ishmael went out weeping to the eighty traveling worshippers and convinced them to come follow him. But this too was a trap! They would slaughter seventy of these men and thrown them into a cistern (pit) after they were dead. Wow, such evil! Now, the plot thickens again! Ishmael proceeded to kidnap the remaining Jews from the city and take them over the Ammonites his ally. Sidenote: Jeremiah was also one of the captives in this group. But remember our friend Johanan who had tried to warn Gedeliah in yesterday’s chapter? Johanan mustered his men and went forth to rescue the captives! Ishmael escaped, but rather than return to Israel….Johanan began a journey towards Egypt, because he feared a response from the Babylonians.
Regarding application…Evil Acted Out. This is a disturbing reminder of the extent of what we as a sinful people can do to God and to each other. So many senseless killings…and we have seen this only increase as we live in the End Times. Don’t give up brothers and sisters in being a light into a every increasing wicked world. We put our faith in God that He is in control and ultimately…He will avenge His people. When you look at Ishmael’s heart, it was one of pride and self-entitlement. He felt he was betrayed and deserved to be the ruler by birthright. But really…none of us have any rights. We lay down our rights for the sake of the cross. We complain that we have the right to be free. Do we? We compmlain that we have the right for justice? Do we? Let us be humble in all that we do. It starts with our own selfiish desires that can make our actions evil. Look into the mirror of your heart and check yourself today!