kjv@Luke:1:1@ Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
kjv@Luke:1:2@ Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word;
kjv@Luke:1:3@ It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
kjv@Luke:1:4@ That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
kjv@Luke:1:5@ There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
kjv@Luke:1:6@ And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
kjv@Luke:1:7@ And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
kjv@Luke:1:8@ And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,
kjv@Luke:1:9@ According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
kjv@Luke:1:10@ And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
kjv@Luke:1:11@ And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
kjv@Luke:1:12@ And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
kjv@Luke:1:13@ But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
kjv@Luke:1:14@ And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
kjv@Luke:1:15@ For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
kjv@Luke:1:16@ And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
kjv@Luke:1:17@ And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
kjv@Luke:1:18@ And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
kjv@Luke:1:19@ And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
kjv@Luke:1:20@ And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
kjv@Luke:1:21@ And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
kjv@Luke:1:22@ And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.
kjv@Luke:1:23@ And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
kjv@Luke:1:24@ And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
kjv@Luke:1:25@ Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
kjv@Luke:1:26@ And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
kjv@Luke:1:27@ To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
kjv@Luke:1:28@ And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
kjv@Luke:1:29@ And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
kjv@Luke:1:30@ And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
kjv@Luke:1:31@ And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
kjv@Luke:1:32@ He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
kjv@Luke:1:33@ And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
kjv@Luke:1:34@ Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
kjv@Luke:1:35@ And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
kjv@Luke:1:36@ And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
Contrasted today are two individuals, a young man attempting to justify himself by debating the good teacher Jesus on a point of Law, a woman graciously but busily hosting a gathering Jesus and His disciples justifying herself by shaming her spiritually inquisitive sister. How easy it is for us to be both of these persons unintentionally. To tell Jesus on the one hand how things must be intellectually and to tell others how things must be practically/domestically/culturally.
The idea that the author here put these two teachings so closely together brings up some interesting thoughts. The first teaching is not to shut out a needing neighbor no matter how inopportune the moment. The second to ask and knock no matter how inopportune the need. We assume that this asking is just of God given the concluding verses, but it is also true asking of man. How many of us will ask of God, knowing that God will provide, but, not ask of man through God may well intend to do His providing, and then reason that God doesn't want to answer because He hasn't provided. It is an odd logic on our part when considered this way. God does implore the first neighbor to give; right?
This statement from Jesus may well be just as much about Satan's tight control over his host and methods and means and pressures he must use as it is about the goodly kingdom we casually assume He is talking about by hurriedly reading through. How hard it must be to keep the loyalty of his scandalous permissive and yet ultimately defeated troops.
Interesting that religious hypocrisy is addressed so closely to the fear of others, the covetousness of brothers and dispute over inheritance, mis-appropriation of riches and insecurity over God's provisions. We could take the course of interpretation that these are separate unrelated items or we could consider more deeply the possible connections. I find the fear and insecurity angles possible indications that all items might be connected.
The later part of this verse was recently used by an American President to argue raising taxes on the rich. What riches have to do with being watchful and prepared for the second Lords coming knowing the marital will of the Lord, I am not sure.
That this teaching about settling up with ones adversaries before going to the judge is so close to the earlier talk of being watchful and prepared for the Lord's return indicates the urgency and type of preparations to be made.
I take this to mean not that bad things won't happen to repentant believers, clearly we see that they do, but, that they will not be without salvation and God's hand. For Jesus suggests that it is not because of their sin that these two calamities happened, yet, repentance would have still been in order; it is always in order.
Because of proximity, does this relate to the previous discussion about calamity and repentance? How does our spiritual caregiver dig around the tree and feed it? Are there not the fruits of repentance?
This peculiar passage does not quote Jesus as saying "your sins are forgiven" as He does so many times. In fact it says that she is loosened from the bounds of Satan. Not all illnesses nor healings are presented this way. We should not assume, we should approach from a preparatory base of prayer and fasting. Many say "why pray" or "why fast". It is precisely because we don't know what is ahead of us and we just can't simply assume that we know.
If connected in context to the rest of the remainder of the chapter we'd see that this astounding kingdom growth is a result of a caregivers' nurturing care towards repentance (even by calamity), the bounds of Satan being identified and loosed, legalism and tradition and religious expectation being loosed, certain adversaries being shamed in their confrontation, and praise of the multitude for what He has done. Not a bad summation of the Gospel...eh?
Instead of just being critical of the concept of "How could a loving God judge" one should at least consider the mechanisms of His judgment to perhaps see why that He might. In this account kjv@Luke:13:25 the master of the house simply shuts the door; the window of opportunity is closed. For how long a time must the master be expected to leave His door open? Is it not His to open and close as He sees fit? Has he not said to strive to enter the straight gate? And yet many have not made the effort, have rather chosen to enter however they wished whenever they wish just expecting to enter His house to do whatever they wish? What kind of master would he be towards His other more considerate guests? Are the outsiders right then to criticize His judgment and not there own judgment instead?
Surely this parable has larger application than just weddings or feasts. How about ministry? Where it is often our intention to serve the Lord by becoming a pastor, worship leader, elder, licensed counselor; it may be God's will for us do something less attention and honor grabbing as investing ourselves and our free time in the lives of others.
The term social networking comes to mind here as we've all been to gatherings where we are there basically to derive some benefit for ourselves. Contacts are made, business cards shared, you can help me and I can help you, possible resources and referrals are gathered.
The two teachings here really should be taken together. The feast that God has invited us to we surely cannot recompense back to Him. The feast that we invite others to should be similar. In a greater context the feast that we are inviting others to as Christians is the Lord's feast, it should not our inspiration to host such an effort in order to derive personal benefit.
Three seemingly unrelated stories that may have a common thread: presumed positions at a feast. There is the man that presumes that he is a much honored guest. There is the man that presumes that he'll receive recompense from his own guests. There are many men that do not accept the lord's invitation presuming that there are more urgent priorities yet awaiting. I doubt if the Lord is just discussing diner etiquette. The feast in this case is His triumphant wedding feast. The thread of teaching is the presumption of who is there, why they are there, the presumptions they make going into it, who is willing to accept their truthful position.
Others often portray Jesus as divine Prophet in the line of a few others that come and go every several hundred years or so. Jesus never once hinted toward any before Him nor after other than Moses. In fact as written here, He insisted on complete and sole devotion to Himself and Himself only. Anyone who attempts to include Him in the succession of messianic figures has much re-explaining of His words to do.
Again, there seems to be contradiction here between loving all and hating father and mother. As we've seen before, there is something more that the Spirit wants us to search out. The truth of His teaching here must first come in the form of a kjv@Proverbs:1:7kjv@Proverbs:1:22-23 approach. Clear the heart, clear the mind, honestly seek the Lord, you'll be shown the answer. How different might it be from we first considered?
Notice that in both examples the treasure is lost and the shepherd/woman put aside all else to find it. In order to bring the treasure back though the treasure must repent. There is a rejoicing for each finding/repentance. The intellectual process of somehow figuring God out and finding our way back to Him is not at all discussed.
This is a very well known scripture. Many a sermon has been delivered on the prodigal son, the prodigal son's forgiving father, only brief mention of the son's brother. Who is being portrayed here as the son's brother however? One that did not leave, one who did what was expected, who had a poor reaction to the father's jubilant behavior, that receives a full inheritance in the end. I have thought perhaps the Angels, the Jews, those Christians raised un-rebelliously in religious homes. Who do you think?
If I understand the illustration enough, debts are being settled with God which is good. Debts up till now have not been settled because of the mis-deeds of the steward. Now that the matter has been called out by the master, the steward feels more urgently that it is in his best future interest with others to settle all the accounts given him. The accounts were of course valued much higher, higher than anyone could pay, but, they were settled none the less. When concerning mens debts to God that is a very good thing even if done for the stewards selfish reasons. Who then have you been set to steward over? Have those peoples account with God been settled? What would be wise for you to do right away?
Let's take this unjust steward up a level further. What makes the unjust steward unjust? I would suggest un-forgiveness. The Lord has forgiven him his debt and yet he holds others accountable for what they owe him in full. Why does the Lord's cutting him off make him feel that he must suddenly settle with the others? He is put back down on their level to fend for himself. Therefore he is shrewd in meeting the others halfway or more (all the way if need be). Why doesn't the Lord take offense to this exchange? Because it is closer to what He has called for all along. Does the Lord actually cut off the suddenly not so unjust steward off? You be the judge.
What on earth would properly persuade men of Heaven? Isn't their mind already made up? The question then is: what is it that has made their mind up? We would like to think that we have with reason and deduction concluded the answer from the facts. While they blame believers of being lead by our hearts, the critic's case is no different than ours. Intellect follows the heart. Reasoning and deduction are being employed by both of us to substantiate and justify it's desire. Not even the dead returned to warn us could sway either of us, for there is always enough other evidence to keep us where we are most comfortable desirously/logically.
There is always the question asked whether it is appropriate to forgive a person if they just keep going back doing the sinful things against you making their repentance almost as usury. I think of the troubles I've seen with addicts and compulsive liars/thieves. Jesus says yes. That doesn't mean that you have to hand them the knife with which they'll stab you in the back. By all means protect yourself and your possessions. Limit their opportunity. The forgiveness is as much for your sake as it is for theirs. A great many are suddenly controlled by both their lack of unforgiveness and feelings of violation.
The child abuser or molester certainly knows his fate. Why is it then that they continue? One could ask that of the whole host of sins. Escaping our sinful destructive natures is never so much a rational deductive decision. We like to see the nature separate from the person, a steal trap tight into the bone of the rabbit's hind leg; if he pulled hard enough or if we opened the claws he could pull his leg out. It may well be instead that the nature is the rabbit's and the trap was set by the good master to protect his crops.
God gives us our faith and He increases it. By this faith we could move a tree far from it's nest but, in the end we had only done as He commanded. Where of then can we boast or take leave of duty. We are yet unprofitable servants. "Prosperity" and "God Within" teachers should be ware. Paul later combines this type teaching, faith as to move mountains but having not love for one another as being futile.
There are two things the Lord is revealing here to keep separated I believe, the Kingdom of God and the Day of the Lord. The kingdom is within us. It is unseen by eye. It is not a place as we would know the word place. It is at hand. The Day is coming, only the Father knows when, as a thief in the night, the five bridesmaid lamps run out of oil, Daniel Ezekiel and Revelations end of the world kind of stuff. The Pharisees were so wrapped up in the notion that the Kingdom was earthly, that the Messiah was going to establish the earthly Kingdom first and upon doing that His Day would come. How then could two people be working in the field together and one be snatched away to the Kingdom? No the Kingdom is spiritual, the Day is day of final judgment, then there will be a millennium of earthly rule, then there will be an eternity in the new earth/heaven/Jerusalem.
In the past two readings we have found out that the Kingdom is not seen but within us and now that the Kingdom is entered in a fashion similar to a child. It can be there within us but still we have to enter it. How many is it within that don't enter it?
The judge avenges speedily but does he find faith? The Pharisee prayed considering himself righteous but is not justified and becomes abased. What is the context between the two parables? Faith. Not in who you are, but, in who Jesus is. He avenges many. He justifies only the faithful in Him. Add the third parable and we have like the faith of a child.
There is a point in each of us where what we think that we are able to do for the Lord is tested. Jesus knows this point well. For some it may be riches, for others it may be personally objectionable deeds like helping a stranded Samaritan, for others it is just letting go and trusting the Lord in the most desperate of situations. Much of the difficulty is in our conception of "doing for th Lord". What can we actually do that He has not done rather for us? We each have this point I believe; it is all in how we look at things, who is doing what for whom.
Makes you wonder what the multitude of disciples thought they were being part of. Surely many thought along the lines of an earthly ruler come to make His earthly kingdom. Few if any would have thought that in the next four days He would be dead.
The priests and scribes now have a big problem on their hands. Where to go from here? They have been called out, flushed out of their religious holes and now must commit themselves one way or another. Watch how quick once they do commit it takes to turn the crowd back on their side. The right pressure exerted in the right fashion, the right encitement and the mob's true nature will be flushed out as well.