Luke was a physician from the city of Antioch, where the Apostle Paul was converted. He was not one of Jesus' twelve, but many believe he was among the original seventy. Unmarried and without children, he was a disciple of Paul who accompanied him until the latter's martyrdom. He authored the books of Luke and Acts - the early Church's greatest historian.
Luke 1:3-4 -"It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee... That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed."
Theophilus - Friend Of God
Luke addressed both books of Luke and Acts to someone named Theophilus, identity unknown. The Coptic Church teaches that he was a Jew with an official Roman title ("most excellent"). Others point to Theophilus ben Ananus, brother-in-law of Caiaphas, who condemned Jesus. In Greek, "Theophilos" means "friend of God." Luke certainly wrote to every friend of God.
Luke 1:1,3 - "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, ...It seemed good to me also, ...to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus."
Zacharias And Elisabeth
Zacharias was a righteous man who served as a Priest before the Altar of Incense in the Holy Temple. He descended from Abijah, eighth of twenty-four ruling priests under King David. Elisabeth was also descended from Aaron the High Priest. John might have qualified as a High Priest unto Israel. Instead, God ordained him to be the forerunner and herald of Messiah. Smitten dumb until John was born, Zacharias was then filled with the Holy Ghost and prophesied of Christ.
Luke 1:6 - "They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."
Praying At The Time Of Incense
The Altar of Incense stood before the Veil into the Holy of Holies; the last place before approaching the Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant. The priests offered incense perpetually, morning and evening, symbolizing the prayers of the saints. While Zacharias was offering incense, the multitudes outside were in prayer. That is when the angel of the Lord appeared, prophesying the birth of John the Baptist. Our prayers are a sweet odor to the Lord, and they elicit His best responses.
Luke 1:10 - "The whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense."
Sometimes, A Delayed Answer Is Better
Zacharias and Elisabeth prayed for a child for many years, but finally grew old and childless. One day, as Zacharias burned incense in the Temple of the Lord, an angel of the Lord stood by him and said, "Fear not, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son." God always sees the long-term, but we cannot. We think He failed to answer, but divine delay brings a more wonderful fulfillment.
Luke 1:13 - "Thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth."
Highly Favored With God
There are common denominators in the stories of Zacharias and Elisabeth, Mary and Joseph; miraculous conceptions, angelic visitations, and prophetic utterances. But the most impressive must surely be their high favor with God. You may not know when God will suddenly visit you with unspeakable blessings, but that is a promise of faithful service. Your reward is certain, even if it is in the world to come.
Luke 1:14,28 - "[Zacharias], thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. ...[Mary], thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."
The Spirit And Power Of Elijah
The Spirit and power of Elijah was the word of the Lord that worked mightily through him (I Kings 17:16,24; 18:1; 19:9, 21:17,28). John the Baptist was not a reincarnation of Elijah, but was another vessel through which the word of the Lord flowed as He did through Elijah.
Luke 1:15-17 - "For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, ...and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, ...And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, ...to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Great Promises Engender Great Questions, Great Answers
When the angel told Zacharias that John would be born, he asked, "Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years." When the angel told Mary that she would bear the Son of God, she asked, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" We cannot understand how God will do the great miracles in our lives, but rest assured that He has a careful plan, and He will answer your prayer.
Luke 1:19,35 - "The angel answering said unto him, ...the angel answered and said unto her..."
Of His Kingdom There Shall Be No End
Gabriel appeared in Nazareth to the young virgin Mary, of the house of David, informing her that God would bear His Son by her. The saying troubled her, but she did not doubt it. She would give birth to the eternal King of Israel.
Luke 1:30-31,33 - "The angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. ...And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
Jesus And The Throne Of David
Jesus will come back to Jerusalem and inherit the throne of David. At this writing, that throne doesn't even exist, but Jesus will revive David's throne when He returns. The entire history of Israel was meant to establish a nation and a throne for Messiah. Jesus will sit as the King of Kings, and David will sit on a throne as a Prince under Christ (Ezekiel 34:24; 37:24-25).
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."
Prayer For The Impossible
As a young pastor, I was called to the local hospital's Intensive Care Unit. A young teen-ager lay brain-dead. He was involved in a head-on collision, and was thrown through the windshield into the oncoming car. For thirty days, I visited him daily, praying for a miracle. One day, he was gone. "Where is Ricky?" "You haven't heard?" "No." "He woke up
this morning and sat up and asked for something to eat!" Shortly thereafter, he went home well.
Luke 1:37 - "For with God nothing shall be impossible."
Be It Unto Me According To Thy Word
The works of God are beyond our comprehension. The angel told Mary, "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." He then informed her that her aged and barren cousin, Elisabeth was also going to have a baby boy. How should we respond to God's grandiose intentions for our lives? As humble servants.
Luke 1:38 - "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."
A Special Dispensation Of The Holy Ghost
It was an entirely unique dispensation of the Holy Ghost in which Mary conceived Jesus, John was filled in Elisabeth's womb, and Elisabeth and Zacharias were filled. Even in Jesus' adult ministry, "the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified," John 7:39. These predated the first general outpouring on Pentecost in Acts 2, where everyone spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.
Luke 1:41 - "It came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost."
Bless God In The Midst Of Your Miracle
By the will of God, both Mary and Elisabeth carried sons in their wombs who would change the world. Mary told the angelic visitor, "Be it unto me according to thy word." Always say "Amen" (So be it!) to the will of God. When Mary visited Elisabeth, the baby leaped in her womb for joy, and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. She loudly blessed Mary.
Luke 1:42,45 - "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. ...for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord."
Mary's Song And Worship - "The Magnificat"
After Elisabeth blessed Mary, Mary began prophesying. "My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: ...from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name."
Luke 1:46-53 - "His mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. ...He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away."
Zacharias Prophesied Revival By John And Jesus
When John the Baptist was born, his old father prophesied that salvation and deliverance from their enemies had come to Israel. "[God] hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David." Zacharias knew that John and Mary's baby, Jesus, were going to provoke a mighty revival in Israel.
Luke 1:72-75 - "To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That we ...might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life."
Prophet Of The Dayspring - The First Light Of Day
Zacharias prophesied over his own son, John. "Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us." John - prophet of the Highest - auspiciously heralded Jesus, the dayspring (the first light of day) to Israel and to the world.
Luke 1:79 - "To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death."
God Is Working Out His Plan, Even At Tax Time
Nobody loves to be taxed. Jesus paid taxes, not because He believed He owed them (He owns the earth) but to avoid trouble with the authorities. God used the unsavory task of reporting to the tax authorities to move Joseph and Mary into Bethlehem, where they would fulfill 750-year-old prophecies.
Luke 2:4-5 - "Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child."
Ancient Prophecy Sent Joseph And Mary To Bethlehem
Almost 750 years earlier, the Prophet Micah declared, "Bethlehem Ephratah, ...out of thee shall he come ...that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." "While [Joseph and Mary] were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered," Luke 2:6. The angel notified the shepherds.
Luke 2:11,15 - "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. ...the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass.
Mary "brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger." Swaddling is the method by which infants are bound in wraps that confine their movements. In the late middle ages, the practice was abandoned, but modern studies show that swaddling a child improves its sleep habits, and drastically reduces the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Mary, the young mother, practiced the best of care with her baby Jesus.
Luke 2:12 - "This shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
God Deserves Praise And Glory For The Birth Of Jesus
After the shepherds saw the baby Jesus in the manger, they told people far and wide about their encounter with the angels, and the message about the swaddling clothes and the manger. Everybody who heard the story wondered at what they heard. Privately, Mary pondered the things she had seen and heard. It is the greatest story ever told. Heaven kissed earth when God came down. We should celebrate His birth year-round.
Luke 2:20 - "And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."
The Infant Jesus Was Circumcised On The Eighth Day
God told Abraham, "Every man child among you shall be circumcised, ...a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised," (Genesis 17:10-12). Moses' law therefore stipulated that every newborn male infant must be circumcised on the eighth day (Leviticus 12:3). Since Jesus' natural parents descended from Abraham, they brought Him to the Temple to be circumcised.
Luke 2:21 - "When eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb."
The Salvation That God Prepared
The Holy Ghost revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Christ. As Joseph and Mary brought Jesus for circumcision, the Holy Ghost led Simeon to the Temple. They all had an appointment with destiny. God prepares our way. At the right time, God leads us where we need to be.
Luke 2:28-31 - "Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared..."
The Blessing Of A Man Of God
When baby Jesus was eight days old, His parents brought Him into the Temple for dedication. Simeon came by the Spirit to perform the rite. Simeon took the child up in his arms, and blessed God, saying, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people." If an humble man of God can bless the Son of God and His parents, you should esteem the blessing of a man of God.
Luke 2:34 - "And Simeon blessed them."
God Honored The Blessings Of Simeon And Anna
God certainly arranged for Simeon and Anna to be present when Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus into the Temple. Anna, 84-year-old prophetess, was known for her daily prayers and fasting in the Temple. She found Simeon blessing the child, and gave thanks. Oh, that every child had such a blessing!
Luke 2:38,40 - "She coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. ...And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him."
I Must Be About My Father's Business
Passover festivities ended in Jerusalem, so Joseph and Mary headed back to Nazareth, presuming that Jesus was among the children. But at the end of the day, He was missing, so they rushed back to Jerusalem. On the third day, they found Him in the Temple, reasoning with the doctors. Mary begged to know why. He said, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" If a 12-year-old boy can be so arrested by the will of God, we who are mature have no excuse.
Luke 2:50-51 - "They understood not the saying."
A Voice Saying, "Behold, Your God!"
Isaiah prophesied (in chapter 40) of a voice crying in the wilderness. He decreed, "Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!" (verse 9). John the Baptist came "to bear witness of the Light," (John 1:7). When he pointed to Jesus and cried, "Behold the Lamb of God," he unwittingly played a role from an ancient, divine script. Everyone who obeys God's Word plays a divinely-appointed role.
Luke 3:4-7 - "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. ...And all flesh shall see the salvation of God."
John The Baptist Laid The Axe To The Root
John the Baptist flattered no one. He called the Pharisees a "generation of vipers" (poisonous snakes). Cynically, he asked, "who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" John knew that nobody was warning anybody to "flee the wrath to come," because nobody was thinking about the wrath to come. Their religion had degenerated into a pathetic show of pride, self-exaltation and impertinent traditions. John laid the axe to the root of their hypocrisy and pride. Real men of God must not hesitate to tackle sin head-on.
Luke 3:8 - "Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance."
Trees Without Good Fruit Will Be Cast Into The Fire
The Pharisees were smug and self-righteous because they thought they were the models of religious excellence. But John the Baptist hewed them down several notches. "Begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." God is looking for fruits of righteousness from a pure heart. Big, showy, hypocritical religious performances only repulse God and rouse His righteous indignation.
Luke 3:9 - "Every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."
Fruits Meet For Repentance
Fear gripped the crowds when John preached. They asked how they could "bring forth fruits meet for repentance" to avoid being cast into hell fire. John listed several random things to illustrate that the best way to quit your sinful ways is to engage in godly, righteous living.
Luke 3:11 - "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. ...Exact no more than that which is appointed you. ...Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages."
Jesus Will Gather The Wheat, Burn The Chaff
"There is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist," Jesus said (Luke 7:28). John's prophecies introduced Jesus' ministry. "One mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." John depicted Christ as the baptizer in the Holy Ghost, and as the final judge of all men.
Luke 3:17 - "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable."
Men Mused Whether John Was Christ
Throughout Israel, people were expecting Messiah to appear. John came preaching baptism and repentance, and they wondered if he was Christ. But John's task was to turn them to Jesus, and to the baptism of the Holy Ghost. "I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, ...he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire."
Luke 3:21 - "Jesus also being baptized, ...the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."
Namesake For The Prophet Nathan
Matthew Henry suggested that David's son, Nathan, was probably a namesake for the great prophet who chastised David during his malfeasance with Bathsheba. Not only is it likely that David honored the prophet who set him in order by naming a son after him, but it appears that God honored the prophet by producing Jesus Christ, the Messiah, from the lineage that bore his name. David's son, Nathan, was the ancestor of Joseph, husband of Mary, mother of Christ.
Luke 3:31 - "...which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David"
Genesis Genealogy Prophesies The Gospel Story
Study the name meanings from Adam to Noah. That genealogy prophetically contains the Gospel. Adam=man; Seth=appointed; Enosh=mortal; Kenan=sorrow; Mahalel=Blessed God; Jared=shall come down; Enoch=teaching; Methusaleh=His death shall bring; Lamech=despairing; Noah=rest, comfort. The complete sentence says: Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest, comfort.
Luke 3:36-38 - "...son of Noe, ...son of Lamech, ...son of Mathusala, ...son of Enoch, ...son of Jared, ...son of Maleleel, ...son of Cainan, ...son of Enos, ...son of Seth, ...son of Adam."
Satan Tempted Jesus
Satan tempted Jesus to sin. The wilderness may have added to His difficulty, but He could have been equally tempted in a comfortable home, among friends, or even in the Temple. Every mortal will be tempted, because the carnal mind is enmity against God. Satan will expend enormous efforts to persuade you to follow your carnal desires instead of the will of God. Jesus overcame by prayer, fasting, and standing rigidly on the Word. That formula will give us the victory, too.
Luke 4:2 - "In those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
There Is No IF About The Deity Of Christ
Satan desperately wanted to foil Christ, to force Jesus into betraying Himself, to trick Him into doing ANYTHING to disprove His infallibility. "IF thou be the Son of God..." What do you mean, "IF"? There is no IF about the deity of Christ. Jesus was completely human, but God was in Christ. The divine inside ruled the human outside. "The Son of Man can do nothing of himself," John 5:19. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," John 5:17. Foolish Satan!
Luke 4:3 - "If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread."
Jesus Refused To Turn Stone To Bread
Satan wanted Jesus to turn a stone into bread. Why? Satan needed no proof that it could be done. The Bible records many miracles of transformation. God turned a dirt sculpture into the man Adam, Lot's wife to salt, Moses' rod to a serpent, water into wine, and five loaves and two fishes into a feast for tens of thousands. Satan was tempting Christ to commit folly. Both rock and bread are timeless symbols of Christ, not toys for a sacrilegious magic trick.
Luke 4:4 - "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."
Satan's Kingdoms Will Soon Be Christ's Forever
The devil showed Jesus "all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time." (Satan is "the god of this world," 2 Corinthians 4:4.) "If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine." God worship Satan? The Creator worship a fallen creature? Insanity! Every kingdom will soon belong to Jesus forever. "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, ...and he shall reign for ever," Revelation 11:15.
Luke 4:8 - "Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
Who Will You Worship? Satan, Or God?
In the second temptation, the devil took Jesus into a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world. "All this power will I give thee, ...if thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine." What? God worship Satan? That must be the most outrageous proposition in the history of the world! Yet ordinary men daily give Satan more glory than God. Now, that's outrageous!
Luke 4:8 - "Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
Misinterpreting Scriptures Can Be Hazardous
Once again, Satan said, "If thou be the Son of God..." and tried to get Jesus to jump off the pinnacle of the Temple, saying that the angels would "bear thee up." Who, in their right mind, would jump off the Empire State Building expecting the angels to catch him? Nothing in the Bible supports that kind of behavior. Satan is the model fool, ALWAYS attempting to subvert, misinterpret or misapply the word of God. Tell HIM to jump off a cliff.
Luke 4:12 - "Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
Pray When Facing Temptation
Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted of the devil (Matthew 4:1), but He admonished us to pray "lead us not into temptation." He knew how great a trial it is to be tempted. Satan tried to persuade Jesus to leap off the pinnacle of the Temple, "for it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee." Satan twists the word to mislead or confuse our decision-making ability. Nevertheless, the Spirit of the Lord can empower us to overcome temptation.
Luke 4:14 - "Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee."
He Hath Anointed Me To Preach The Gospel
On Sabbath in the Nazareth synagogue, Jesus called for the Book of Isaiah. He opened it, and read, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Jesus Himself was clearly the anointed one that ancient prophecy had foretold.
Luke 4:21 - "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."
Is Not This Joseph's Son?
The congregation in the synagogue "wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of [Jesus'] mouth." But Jesus plainly said that He was Isaiah's anointed one who would save, heal and deliver the people, and they rejected that. "Is not this Joseph's son?" Jesus knew they were thinking cynical thoughts ("Physician, heal thyself"). They knew of the miracles He had performed in Capernaum, but denied that their own native son had God-given powers. Doubt always blinds you to the whole truth.
Luke 4:24 - "He said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country."
Believe Jesus Is Your Answer, Or Someone Else Will
Jesus read from Isaiah 61 about the anointing that would be on Messiah. Everyone in the Nazareth synagogue was impressed with Jesus' remarks, but they knew Jesus was Joseph's son, so rejected the idea that HE was Messiah. He indicted them, saying that many Israelite widows needed miracles in Elijah's day, but he ministered to a Sidonian widow; and there were many lepers in Israel, but Elisha healed Naaman, a Syrian. If Nazareth would not have Jesus, someone else would.
Luke 4:28 - "When they heard these things, were filled with wrath, ...and thrust him out of the city."
If You Reject Jesus, He Will Go Where He Is Wanted
The people of Nazareth were unbelievably - shockingly - hostile to Jesus - their own native son! They tried to kill Him! They "were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong." But Jesus escaped, and went straight to Capernaum, where they enthusiastically believed in Him, and taught them on several Sabbath days. If you don't want Jesus, somebody else does.
Luke 4:32 - "And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power."
Satan Can Pray, But God Will Do The Opposite
In the synagogue, a man had an unclean spirit, which cried with a loud voice to Jesus, "Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth?" Unclean spirits would have destroyed the man, and did not want to be stopped. Fortunately for all of us, Jesus wants to do exactly the OPPOSITE of what Satan prays for.
Luke 4:35-36 - "Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, ...And they were all amazed."
The Amazing Power Of The Word
In most cases, Jesus healed and delivered the people with nothing more than the spoken word. When Jesus spoke, sicknesses and maladies and devils all vanished. The spoken word of God miraculously penetrates atoms, molecules, living cells, and more. It restructures broken things and purifies evil things, and leaves them well, and whole and free. You can have similar results by speaking the word of God in faith.
Luke 4:36 - "And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out."
Each Miracle Inspires People To Ask Him For Another
Jesus became instantly famous for casting the devils out of the man in the Capernaum synagogue. Immediately, they besought Him to come heal Peter's mother-in-law, who lived next-door to the synagogue. By nightfall, "all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them."
Luke 4:40 - "Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them."
I Am Sent And I Must Preach To Other Cities
Our destiny is foreordained. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD," Psalm 37:23. Jesus might have been more comfortable if He had taken up permanent residence in one of the cities where they gladly received Him. But He was sent to preach to all Israel. Likewise, we are commissioned to take the Gospel everywhere.
Luke 4:42 - "The people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent."
Do It God's Way To Succeed Where You Have Failed
Jesus sat in Peter's ship "and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land," so He could teach the people. Afterward, He said, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." They had fished all night without catching anything, but at Jesus' word, Peter obeyed. Immediately, "they inclosed a great multitude of fishes." Their net broke, so they called for help, and filled two ships until they almost sunk. Everyone was astonished. Peter fell on his knees, repenting.
Luke 5:10 - "Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men."
Fishers Of Men
The crowds pressed upon Jesus, so He preached to them as He stood in a boat by Galilee. When He concluded, He instructed the disciples to launch out and let down their nets. Simon Peter complained that they had fished all night and caught nothing. "Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net." They caught so many fish that their net broke - a miraculous sign to the disciples.
Luke 5:10-11 - "Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him."
Lord, If You Will, You Can!
Take note of the fact that Jesus had never healed a leper, nor had He invited lepers to be healed, when "a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Maybe you have never seen God do the kind of miracle that you need. But that is no problem. Jesus can do unimaginable miracles. Just believe, and ask.
Luke 5:13 - "And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him."
Jesus Can Perceive And Reply To Our Thoughts
As He taught that day, Jesus was keenly aware that Pharisees and doctors of Moses' law from many cities were scrutinizing Him. He told the palsied man, "Man, thy sins are forgiven thee." Jesus perceived that they were thinking, "Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" He boldly confronted their judgmental unbelief.
Luke 5:24 - "That ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house."
We Have Seen Strange Things Today
Never before had any man taken it upon himself to forgive sins, nor had anyone seen a man with power to heal a palsied cripple. So Jesus' demonstration that day, of both forgiving and healing the palsied man, left the people dumbfounded. Nevertheless, "they glorified God, and were filled with fear." You may not know exactly what to say or think about what God is doing in your life, but glorify and fear Him anyway.
Luke 5:26 - "And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day."
Jesus Came To Call Sinners To Repentance
Jesus saw Levi (Matthew) at his tax-collecting post. "Follow me," He told him. Levi left everything and went with Jesus. He called a great feast in his home for Jesus and His disciples, and invited a crowd of other tax-collectors and their friends. The scribes and Pharisees immediately launched a police investigation on the disciples. "Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?"
Luke 5:31-32 - "Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
His Presence Relieves The Urgency To Pray
The scribes and Pharisees, as always, pestered Jesus about His disciples. "Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?" When you are in His company, "in His presence is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures forever more."
Luke 5:34-35 - "He said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days."
New Wine Needs New Bottles
After answering several antagonistic enquiries from the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus was ready to write them off. They were "old garments" that should not be patched with new cloth. They were "old wineskins" that would burst if new wine was put into them. Besides, they wanted old wine. They did not want any new wine. Jesus had no use for them. He would recruit all new leadership for His kingdom - a Church of newly converted Jews and Gentiles. New bottles for new wine - His Holy Spirit!
Luke 5:38 - "New wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved."
The Lord Of The Sabbath Is Greater Than The Sabbath
If I was the king of a nation, I could institute a law that no man could eat cheese on Wednesdays, on penalty of death. But if I personally ate cheese on Wednesdays, would I be put to death? No, because a king is a sovereign power, not subject to any other person. That is why Jesus "broke" the Sabbath. He was trying to force them to recognize His eternal deity. The King is the author of the Law, thus greater.
Luke 6:5 - "And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath."
An All-Night Prayer Meeting
The Pharisees "were filled with madness" when Jesus healed the man's withered hand on the Sabbath. They schemed "what they might do to Jesus." Jesus "went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." Intense opposition often drives us to intense prayer. Jesus' all-night prayer was followed by the choosing of His twelve apostles. Maybe an all-night prayer meeting would help you make some life-changing choices.
Luke 6:13 - "And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles."
The First Twelve Apostles (Sent Ones)
Jesus chose twelve Apostles (Delegates, Ambassadors, Commissioned Ones, Sent Ones). In alphabetical order: 1. Andrew, 2. Bartholomew, 3. James, son of Alphaeus, 4. James, son of Zebedee, 5. John, 6. Judas, brother of James, 7. Judas Iscariot (the traitor), 8. Matthew (Levi), 9. Philip, 10. Simon Peter, 11. Simon Zelotes, 12. Thomas. "He gave some, apostles; ...prophets; ...evangelists; ...pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," Ephesians 4:11-12. (The "Five-Fold" Ministry.)
Luke 6:13 - "He chose twelve, whom also he named apostles."
The Whole Multitude Sought To Touch Him
I never cease to be amazed at the powerful magnetism of Jesus Christ. After choosing twelve Apostles, Jesus came down from the mountain with them and stood in the plain. A great multitude of people from all over Judea and Jerusalem, and as far as the Mediterranean cities of Tyre and Sidon, came to hear Him, and to be healed and delivered. Something is desperately wrong when modern men are not attracted to Jesus. Wise men still seek Him.
Luke 6:19 - "And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all."
Jesus Will Reward His Saints For All Their Sufferings
Jesus told His disciples, "Blessed be ye poor: ...yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: ...ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: ...ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, ...separate you from their company, ...reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake." Jesus will reward His servants for every hardship they suffered.
Luke 6:23 - "Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: ...your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets."
Woes To Those Who Are Satisfied With This World
The "Beatitudes," (Matthew 5, Luke 6) are Jesus' eternal blessings on those who suffer for Him, and eternal woes upon those who choose the world instead of Christ. Both blessings and woes are prophecies. They WILL come to pass in some future time.
Luke 6:24 - "Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets."
Pray For Them Which Despitefully Use You
If you really believe that all things work together for the good to them who love God, and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), then you have to come to terms with the reality that even your enemies are doing you good. If that is the case, then you have every reason to pray for your enemies. They are blessing you!
Luke 6:27-28 - "But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you."
Be Merciful As Your Heavenly Father Is Merciful
Brute beasts retaliate those who wrong them, blow for blow, pain for pain. But Jesus prescribed a higher way. If one smites you, turn the other cheek. If one takes your cloak, forego the loss. Give to those who ask. Forgive those who have taken what is yours. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Luke 6:35 - "Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil."
Saying "Lord, Lord!" Does Not Make Him Your Lord
Just saying, "Lord, Lord!" does not establish a relationship with Jesus Christ. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, ...Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?" Matthew 7:21-22. "Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us," Matthew 25:11. "[Ye say] Lord, Lord, open unto us; ...[and He shall say] I know you not whence ye are," Luke 13:25.
Luke 6:46 - "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
A Rock Foundation - Hearing And Doing His Word
There are many contrary voices in the world. You can subscribe to any one of a thousand different points of view. But nobody's word will stand the storms of life like the Word of God. Reject the world's voices. Hear the Word of the Lord.
Luke 6:47-48 - "Whosoever ...heareth my sayings, and doeth them, ...is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock."
The Centurion Sent The Elders Of The Jews To Jesus
Not every esteemed Jew opposed Jesus. At Capernaum, a Roman Centurion sent "the elders of the Jews" to Jesus, asking Him to come and heal his servant. Those elders took the time to persuade Jesus to come, saying, "he [is] worthy for whom [You] should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue." Never pre-judge people. Those Jewish elders had great faith in Jesus.
Luke 7:6,10 - "Then Jesus went with them. ...And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick."
A Great Prophet Has Risen, God Has Visited His People
At the city of Nain, a crowd was following Jesus and His disciples when a funeral procession came through the gate. The dead man was his mother's only child. Jesus had compassion, and stopped the procession. "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise." He immediately sat up and began to speak. Great fear fell on everyone. The world will never know another hope as great as the hope that is in Jesus Christ. Magnify Him.
Luke 7:16 - "They glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people."
When You Need Assurances, Ask Him
The disciples of John the Baptist told him about Jesus' miracles. John sent them to Him with questions. "Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?" Despite all that God had revealed, that great man of God nevertheless struggled with uncertainty. If you need assurances about what you believe, why not ask God to show you more clearly?
Luke 7:22 - "Tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached."
Seekers Of Truth Find More Than They Imagined
After John's messengers departed, Jesus asked the crowd, "What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? ...A man clothed in soft raiment? ...A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. ...Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist." People seek truth, not realizing that it will be far greater than they could ever possibly imagine.
Luke 7:29 - "And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John."
Wisdom Is Justified Of Her Children
The Pharisees and lawyers rejected the heaven-sent ministry of John. Jesus compared them to children who would not dance while other children danced, nor mourn when others mourned. "John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!" Their hypocritical objections exposed their evil hearts. But the lives of those who follow wisdom justify wisdom.
Luke 7:35 - "Wisdom is justified of all her children."
Tears Are A Language God Understands
In an uncommon scenario, Jesus was invited to have dinner in the home of a Pharisee named Simon. A sinner woman from the city came unexpectedly, with an alabaster box of ointment. She stood behind Jesus, weeping, then began to wash His feet with her tears, wipe them with her hair, kiss them profusely, and anoint them with the ointment. We do not know if she said a word, but her tears said it all. Tears are a language God understands.
Luke 7:47 - "Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much."
Who Is This That Forgiveth Sins?
The Pharisee found fault with Jesus, because He did not shun the woman with the alabaster box, although she was a sinner. Jesus told about a creditor who had two debtors. One owed him five hundred pence, the other fifty. When neither could pay, he forgave them both. "Which of them will love him most?" Simon answered, "He to whom he forgave most." Jesus said to the woman, "Thy sins are forgiven." He is God, so He can forgive sinners.
Luke 7:49 - "They that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?"
Unto You Is Given To Know The Mysteries
Jesus taught the parable about the sower sowing seeds along the wayside, then upon a rock, then among thorns, and finally on good ground. His disciples asked, "What might this parable be?" Before answering, Jesus revealed, "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables." Before the foundation of the world, Almighty God chose to reveal Himself to some, but to hide Himself from others. If you see, you should thank and praise Him profusely.
Luke 8:10 - "...that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand."
The Seed is the Word
A seed is normally produced by a successful fertilization process. A seed is the earliest stage of a plant. Both male and female contribute to the offspring. Among animals and humans, the seed is a recombined gene derived from both male and female - an embryo. Two parents provide the DNA. Therefore, evolutionists cannot imagine or explain how the first seeds occurred. "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" There is only one answer. God's word came first. "Let there be..."
Luke 8:11 - "The seed is the word of God."
Four Kinds Of People Receive The Word Of God
Those who receive the word (1) BY THE WAYSIDE lose the word because Satan distracts them. Those who receive the word (2) ON A ROCK have no root, and temptations make them fall. Those who receive the word (3) AMONG THORNS choke the word out by their cares, riches and pleasures. Those who receive the word (4) INTO GOOD GROUND keep the word in honest and good hearts, and patiently bear righteous fruit.
Luke 8:18 - "Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken."
Jesus Did Not Focus On The Family
As Jesus taught, huge crowds pressed so near that His mother and brethren could not come near Him. Somebody said, "Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee." But Jesus ignored His family that day. Matthew Henry said, "Jesus Christ would rather be busy at His work than conversing with His friends. He would not leave His preaching, to speak with His mother and His brethren, for it was His meat and drink to be so employed."
Luke 8:21 - "My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it."
Prayer And Panic Are Incompatible
"Let us go over unto the other side of the lake," Jesus told the disciples. They launched their boat, and Jesus lay down to sleep. He was obviously not worried that they would sink. If God says, "Let us go somewhere..." then He is the guarantor for the journey. If a storm fills our boat with water, we should remember, "He said, 'Let us go..." The disciples cried, "Master, master, we perish." He calmed the storm, but scolded their panic. Next time, remember that nothing can prevent divine destiny.
Luke 8:25 - "He said unto them, Where is your faith?"
The Devil Hates Water
God destroyed a sinful world, and saved Noah's family. "Eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us," 1 Peter 3:20-21. The Red Sea saved Israel and destroyed the Egyptian army. "And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea," 1 Corinthians 10:1-2. The devils in the man at Gadara begged Jesus not to send them into the deep. The devil hates water.
Luke 8:31 - "And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep."
Would You Have Asked Jesus To Leave?
The swine ran into the sea and drowned after Jesus sent the demons into them. The locals panicked. The loss of their hogs was catastrophic. They totally failed to see the miracle for a while. Most people are spiritually imperceptive. Losing their hogs is everything. Losing their soul is nothing. If you reject Jesus because of what you have to give up, you are the eternal loser. Take your losses. Keep Jesus.
Luke 8:37 - "The whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear."
You Can Connect With Him, Even When Others Fail
En route to Jairus' house, the people thronged Jesus, clamoring for attention; but He just kept moving. Suddenly, He stopped. "Who touched me?" Peter was incredulous. "Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee." Jesus insisted, "Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me." A thousand hands touched Him, but one with a profound need, a profound desire, and profound faith CONNECTED.
Luke 8:47 - "She came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately."
Two People - Similar Prayers - Different Answers
The Gadarene man set free from his demons "besought" Jesus "that he might be with Him." But Jesus insisted that he return home to tell his friends. Shortly, Jairus also "besought" Jesus to come and heal his dying twelve-year-old daughter. Two men "besought" Jesus. Jesus sent one away, and went home with the other. You may pray the same prayer as someone else, but get a different answer. God has reasons we cannot know. Just be thankful.
Luke 8:51,54 - "He came into the house, ...and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise."
Preachers - Their Job Description
He gave His newly-called preachers power and authority over all devils, to cure diseases, and heal the sick. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God. He told them not to take anything for their journey - no staff, purse, bread, money, or extra clothes - and lodge with anyone who offers lodging. If any city rejected them, they were to shake the dust of the city off their feet for a testimony against them. Are you a preacher? Here are your guidelines.
Luke 9:6 - "They departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where."
Only God's Chosen Can Truly Know Who Christ Is
Jesus asked His disciples, "Whom say the people that I am?" They said, "John ...Elijah ...one of the old prophets." Herod the tetrarch feared Him, because men said that John (whom he had beheaded) was risen from the dead. "...he desired to see him." Months later, Herod was "exceedingly glad" to see Jesus, but nevertheless mocked Him and sent Him to Pilate for execution. Jesus' true identity is divinely hidden from unbelievers.
Luke 9:20 - "Whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man."
Jesus And His Followers Will Be Hated By The World
Jesus "straitly charged" (commanded) His disciples to tell nobody that He was the Christ. "The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected ...and be slain." Jesus knew He would be hated and killed. But He also knew that many of His followers would also suffer for their belief in Him. To this day, the world hates Jesus and His followers.
Luke 9:23-24 - "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. ...whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
Your Earthly Choices Will Have Eternal Consequences
Jesus prophesied, "There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God." That kingdom came on the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Ghost is the "earnest" of our eternal heavenly inheritance (Ephesians 1:14). We must choose between the Holy Ghost and the world. "What is a man advantaged if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?"
Luke 9:26 - "Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory."
Prayer Changes the Supplicant
It is easy enough to understand that prayer is a powerful agent for change, but there is a perspective you may not have considered. Prayer changes YOU. It is a side-effect of prayer. The more time you spend in communion with God through prayer, the more you consider His will, His ways and your relationship with Him. Prayer causes you to be
introspective, heart-searching and responsive. Surely, prayer changes things. But prayer also changes people who pray.
Luke 9:29 - "And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered."
A Good Time To See God's Glory Is While In Prayer
Jesus frequently went into a mountain to pray. Mountains are remote, removed from the crowds, and no one is likely to intrude. Jesus took Peter, James and John. "As he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering." The glory of God enshrouded Jesus as He prayed. Moses and Elijah appeared, shining similarly, and conversed about Jesus' upcoming death at Jerusalem. The perfect time to see God's glory is while in prayer.
Luke 9:32 - "Peter and they that were with him ...saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him."
Praying For Unrealistic Things
It is easy to fall in love with a favorable situation, and want to stay there long beyond its expiration date. When Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, the glory of God shone brightly on them all. Peter was amazed. He wanted to build three tabernacles and stay on the mountain. But praying for utopia is a misguided effort. Heaven must wait.
Luke 9:33 - "Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said."
This Is My Beloved Son
The Spirit of God is omnipresent, infinite, eternal and invisible. In heaven, the only body of God we will ever see is Jesus, sitting on one throne. He is both God and man. On earth, He was mortal, but since His resurrection, He is glorified and immortal.
Luke 9:34-36 - "While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone."
Master, I Beseech Thee, Look Upon My Son
Although a crowd pressed around Jesus, a man cried out, "Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child. And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him. And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not." If your prayers fail the first time, do not be discouraged. One more prayer may change everything.
Luke 9:42 - "And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father."
Afraid To Ask For The Truth? Ignorance Is More Fearful.
The day after Jesus' transfiguration, crowds gathered again. He healed a boy of seizures, rebuking the unclean spirit in him. Everyone was amazed at the mighty power of God. But amidst the clamor, Jesus suddenly delivered a very sober message for His disciples. "Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men." They did not understand, but were afraid to ask. Most people fear hard sayings. But ignorance can be perilous. Ask!
Luke 9:45 - "They perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying."
If Your Spirit Is Not Right, Your Prayers Are Misguided
The disciples saw someone casting out devils in Jesus' name. John told Jesus, "We forbad him, because he followeth not with us." Jesus replied, "Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us." Next, the people of Samaria "did not receive" Jesus. James and John asked if they should call down fire from heaven, like Elijah did. Jesus rebuked them. Wrong thinking produces wrong praying.
Luke 9:55 - "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."
Saying "I Will Go" Is Inadequate. You Can't Look Back.
Someone said, "Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest." But Jesus knew His way was too rugged for him. To another, Jesus said, "Follow me." But he wanted first to bury his father. Jesus said, "Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God."
Luke 9:61-62 - "Another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Pray The Lord Will Send Laborers Into His Harvest
Jesus personally tutored twelve. Then He chose seventy more, and sent them two by two into every city of Israel. He told them, "The harvest truly is great." Many great prophets revealed that in the end of the age, there will be two great harvests - the wheat, and the tares. The wheat harvest will include every person who obeyed the word of God unto salvation. That is why we must preach the word throughout the world.
Luke 10:2 - "...but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest."
Minimize Ministry Expenses And Travel Requirements
When the disciples went out to preach, Jesus commanded them to travel light - without a wallet or travel bag, even without extra shoes or clothes. They were not to stop to talk along the way. When they arrived in a house, they were to say, "Peace be to this house." If they received a welcome, they should accept whatever room and board they might receive. We must practice Spirit-led ministry without unnecessary expenses or travel requirements.
Luke 10:9 - "And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."
When A City Rejects The Gospel, Say, "I Wipe Off Your Dust"
"I send you forth as lambs among wolves." Jesus sent His disciples into the cities to heal the sick and preach the kingdom of God. If a city "receive you not, go your ways out into the streets... and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you." He concluded, "it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city." Shake their dust off, and say in effect, "I am finished here."
Luke 10:16 - "He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me."
The Best Reason To Rejoice
The seventy disciples came back from their travels, rejoicing because devils were subject to them in the name of Jesus. Jesus affirmed that He had given them power "over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." But the ability to cast out devils is virtually insignificant when compared to the thrill of knowing that your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life (Revelation 21:27).
Luke 10:20 - "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven."
Jesus Rejoiced Over Things Hidden And Revealed
Jesus admonished the disciples to rejoice, not because they could cast out devils, but because their names were written in heaven. He rejoiced because such things are hidden "from the wise and prudent," and "revealed ...unto babes." He said that no man knows who the Son is, but the Father, and who the Father is, but the Son (and he to whom the Son will reveal Him). Old Testament believers worshipped the Father. Now, only the Son can reveal God. You cannot know God apart from Christ.
Luke 10:23 - "Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see."
What Shall I Do To Inherit Eternal Life?
The legalist Pharisees constantly tried to trap Jesus in some contradiction of their doctrines. One asked, "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus made him answer his own question. "What is written in the law? ...And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." Prior to the New Birth of Acts 2:38, that was the best answer.
Luke 10:28 - "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live."
The Good Samaritan - About Loving Your Neighbor
A lawyer tempted Jesus to contradict his religion. Jesus had him quote, "...love thy neighbor as thyself." The man retorted, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus told about a man who, falling among thieves, was stripped, wounded, and left for dead. A priest passed by, ignoring him. A Levite passed by, also ignoring him. A Samaritan compassionately dressed his wounds, carried him to an inn, and paid for his lodging.
Luke 10:36-37 - "Which now of these three, ...was neighbour unto him? ...he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise."
Sometimes His Answer Is Not What You Want To Hear
Jesus was a guest in the house of Mary and Martha. Martha was working hard to serve everyone, while Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to Him teach. Martha complained, asking Jesus to compel Mary to help her. His answer probably stunned her. "Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things." Sometimes, we think we are so right, but we are so wrong. Martha, busy with her kitchen work, missed a historic opportunity to sit and learn from the Savior of the world.
Luke 10:42 - "Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Lord, Teach Us To Pray
How would you like to have stood by and listened as Jesus prayed? The disciples did. When He finished, one said, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." That is an interesting side-note. John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray. The sad fact is that most people do not know how to pray, not because it is difficult to pray, but because they have no idea what to say. Jesus patiently taught them
how to pray. If you need help, just ask.
Luke 11:2 - "And he said unto them, When ye pray, say..."
All Prayer Should Be To The One True God Of The Bible
Many people practice prayer in a manner that is detached from God, as if prayer itself is a miracle-working force, not God. That smacks of spiritualism, mind-over-matter, mental telepathy, or other godless paranormal exercises. Such prayers are open invitations for demon spirits to work and deceive, and are abominable and offensive to God. You should pray to the only true, living God and Creator. He answers to the name of Jesus.
Luke 11:2 - "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth."
Our Daily Bread
That Jesus admonished us to ask God to provide our daily bread is an intriguing thought. The sublime assumption is that the godless heathen do not have the hopeful expectation of divine providence that Christians have. We who believe in the God of the Bible and seek His blessings, have His promises and every reason to expect that God will provide our daily needs. Of the world's forty hungriest nations, 25 have less than 6% Protestant Christian populations. Only 4 of the hungriest nations have Protestant populations over 25%.
Luke 11:3 - "Give us day by day our daily bread."
Ask God To Help You Forgive Everyone
In the epic story, Joseph was often betrayed and sinned against, and suffered the most severe consequences in Egypt because of it. But Joseph determined to live a godly life despite all his betrayals. He told his evil brothers, "Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them." Ask God for a forgiving heart, then forgive everyone.
Luke 11:4 - "Forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us."
Pray To Be Tempted Less
An animal trainer can teach a dog to sit still even when sorely compelled to move. God can teach a believer how to refrain from sin even when sorely tempted. Temptation is not sin. Temptation is the force that compels you to sin. Jesus told His disciples, "Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations," Luke 22:28. Jesus was often tempted, but NEVER yielded. We should follow His example. "As He is, so are we in this world," I John 4:17.
Luke 11:4 - "...lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil."
The unwilling judge finally granted the request of the petitioning widow because her persistence wearied him. A householder grudgingly rose at midnight to give to his neighbor despite his unwillingness, because the neighbor was so bold. Importunity has less to do with nagging, pesty repetition than it does with shameless, bold requests. Don't worry how many times you pray. God invites us to pray boldly and shamelessly with expectation as often as necessary.
Luke 11:9 - "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
You Can Ask For Help At Midnight
What would you do if your neighbor knocked on your door at midnight and asked to borrow a loaf of bread so he could make sandwiches for unexpected visitors? If he was a long-time friend and neighbor, you would not be angry or unwilling. You would go to your kitchen and give him the best you had. Jesus declared that God will be no less kind when you ask Him for help.
Luke 11:9 - "I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
Ask For And Receive The Holy Spirit
If your son asks for shoes, will you give him a roll of wire? If your daughter asks for a dress, will you give her a cardboard box? If you ask God to baptize you in His Holy Spirit, will He give you a poem? No. He will give you the Holy Spirit. Not a stone for bread, a serpent for fish, or a scorpion for an egg.
Luke 11:13 - "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
The Finger Of God
Jesus is variously referred to in prophecy as the strong arm of God, the strong hand of God, the right arm of God, the right hand of God, and the finger of God. Anytime we witness the mighty works of God, the hand of God is at work and His kingdom has come.
Luke 11:19-20 - "If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you."
A Strong Man's House - Undivided
They accused Jesus of casting out devils by Beelzebub, but He pulverized their insane accusations. If Satan is casting out devils, his house is divided, and a divided house is doomed to fall. A strong man keeps his house in peace unless a stronger man comes and divides the house. Jesus is the stronger man who has come to totally disarm Beelzebub (Satan), take his house, and divide the spoils with His friends. So, now, whose side are you on?
Luke 11:23 - "He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth."
Unclean Spirits Walk Through Dry Places Seeking Rest
Noah's flood dealt the devil a dreadful blow. So did the Red Sea. John the Baptist routed the devil at the Jordan River, as did the Apostles, every time they baptized another convert in Jesus' name. So the devil hates water. He seeks dry places. Terrorize him. Get baptized. Water and Spirit.
Luke 11:24 - "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. ...Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself."
Evil Hearts Hypocritically Seek A Sign
After Jesus cast the devil out, the dumb spoke. The people wondered how Jesus did it. Some said, "He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils." Others, tempting Him, wanted Him to show a sign from heaven. How absurd! They just saw an amazing miracle! Their evil hearts were resisting the power of God. Jesus would give them only one sign - His resurrection - after being dead three days.
Luke 11:29 - "He began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet."
Learn From The Queen Of Sheba - Seek Jesus' Wisdom
The Queen of Sheba came from afar to discover the wisdom of Solomon. Yet Jesus is infinitely wiser. We should crave His teachings. The men of Nineveh repented when Jonah preached. Yet the preaching of Christ is far more wonderful. We should earnestly take heed to His Gospel.
Luke 11:31-32 - "The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: ...a greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: ...a greater than Jonas is here."
The Bright Shining Of A Candle
The men of Nineveh will judge all men who rejected Christ. They repented when Jonah preached, but Jesus is greater than Jonah. Jesus is the light of the world. Men would put that light in a secret place, or hide it under a bushel, but God will have Him on a candlestick for all to see.
Luke 11:35-36 - "Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, ...the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light."
Say Nothing Against God
The Pharisees confronted anyone they judged to be in a fault. They verbally assailed Jesus because He did not wash His hands before dinner. It is wickedly presumptuous of men to accuse God. Jesus retorted that they were only dirty cups that looked clean from the outside; and like unmarked graves deceitfully masquerading death. Say nothing against God.
Luke 11:53-54 - "The scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things: Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him."
Fear God, Not Men - Never Blaspheme The Holy Spirit
I have heard men say that they are not afraid of God. That is reckless. Jesus said, "Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. ...Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell." Blasphemy - cursing or vilifying God, railing on Him, defaming or speaking evil against Him - cannot be forgiven. That is terrifying!
Luke 12:10 - "Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven."
Hypocritical Speech Judged, Godly Speech Rewarded
Hypocrisy poisoned the Pharisees. Their insincere and deceptive words condemned them. Jesus warned that they would be exposed. Things spoken in darkness or whispered in closets will be heard in broad daylight, and proclaimed on the housetops. If you speak up for Christ, you will be spoken for before the angels of God; but if your speech denies Christ, you will be denied before the angels. If you are forced to give testimony before men, God promises to help you.
Luke 12:12 - "For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say."
Do Not Covet Things On Earth - Covet Eternal Life
A man came to Jesus asking Him to persuade his brother to share their inheritance. Jesus showed no sympathy, but instead lectured the man to beware of covetousness. He told him about a rich man who was obsessed with building bigger storage buildings for his wealth, and securing his future. God terminated him. It is great folly to covet the things of this world. You CANNOT keep them. Instead, you should prepare your soul for eternity.
Luke 12:20 - "God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be?"
Seek The Kingdom First - God Will Provide The Rest
Your understanding of divine providence will affect your prayers. If you truly understand that God is completely committed to your long-term welfare, your worrying should be dramatically diminished, and the urgency of many of your prayers will be soothed. "Take no thought for your life... Consider the ravens... God feedeth them... Consider the lilies... if God so clothe the grass,... how much more will He clothe you?"
Luke 12:31-32 - "But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. ...it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
Earthly Treasures Perish - Invest In Heaven Instead
Jesus said to sell what you have and give alms. In doing so, you "provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth." This is a very hard saying for those of us who live in an extremely materialistic society. We cannot imagine giving up our "stuff." We think that having much "stuff" is what life is about. But your "stuff" is going to perish. Give it away. Then you will have "stuff" in heaven.
Luke 12:34 - "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
That Faithful And Wise Steward
The Lord instructs us to be like men who wait for their lord to return from a wedding. We should be ready to open the door as soon as He arrives. He will bless us if He finds us watching and waiting, ready to come out and serve Him quickly, no matter what time He appears, because no one knows exactly when He will return.
Luke 12:43-44 - "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath."
To Whom Much Is Given, Much Will Be Required
Everything about our eternal destiny is determined here and now. The Bible is full of prophecies about how it will all turn out, based on the choices and actions we take in this present world. If you are a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, He will make you a ruler in His eternal kingdom. If you procrastinate to do His will, and abuse your opportunities and those who are around you, He will come when you least expect, and punish you for having been unprofitable."
Luke 12:48 - "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required."
Fire On Earth - A Baptism To Be Baptized With
John the Baptist said of Jesus, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire," (Matthew 3:11). Jesus came to baptize all believers (Acts 2:39) in His Spirit. It began when tongues of fire came upon 120 on the Day of Pentecost, and continues worldwide to this day. The "Pentecostal Experience" (speaking in other tongues) is at the heart of the fastest-growing religion on earth.
Luke 12:49-50 - "I am come to send fire on the earth; ...I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!"
Division Must Come To Earth Before Peace
Until Satan is defeated at Armageddon, lies will enslave the earth. Evil men and devils resist truth, and steal, kill and destroy to protect lies. So every time truth is revealed, trouble follows. That is why Jesus warned that He came to bring division on earth. Truth exposes lies, and provokes hostilities among fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, even in-laws.
Luke 12:51-53 - "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three."
Predicting The Weather, Or The End Of The World?
Which is more important to you? Predicting tomorrow's weather, or understanding the prophetic timetable for the end of the world? Most people choose the weather.
Luke 12:54-56 - "He said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?"
Be Diligent To Stay Out Of Trouble
We have been instructed to be pro-active about staying out of trouble. Some trouble cannot be avoided, but Jesus said, "When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison." Jesus frequently escaped those who meant to harm Him. Try to stay out of trouble.
Luke 12:59 - "I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite."
Except Ye Repent, Ye Shall All Likewise Perish
Luke 13 reveals a rarely discussed and despicable fact about Pontius Pilate. He ordered that the blood of certain Galileans be mingled with pagan sacrifices. Historical writers as Josephus, Eusebius and Philo revealed additional facts, depicting Pilate as a cruel, violent, much-dreaded man. However, Jesus warned that the horrifying fate of those Galileans was only an example of the fate of every man who fails to repent of his sins before facing God in death. Now is the time to deliver yourself from a cruel judgment.
Luke 13:3 - "I tell you, ...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
Make Intercession, Or The Tree Will Be Cut Down
Twice, Jesus warned that ALL men must repent or perish. Then He taught a lesson about a fig tree that bore no fruit for three years. The owner ordered the tree cut down. (Ironically, Jesus looked for fruit in Israel for three years.) But the dresser asked for one more year. Was the Son of Man the intercessor, hoping to prevent the destruction of Israel?
Luke 13:8 - "Let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down."
The Woman Who Was Bowed Down
You would be delighted if Jesus miraculously healed your friend, so that she could stand straight after being bowed down for eighteen years. The ruler of the synagogue indignantly complained that Jesus should not heal on the Sabbath day. But God's work should be done every day of the week.
Luke 13:15-16 - "The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, ...be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?"
The Ever-Expanding Kingdom Of God
Will the Kingdom of God finally be extinguished by unbelieving, God-hating men? Not a chance! The Kingdom of God is like a tiny grain of mustard seed, which when planted, grows into a great tree, large enough for the fowls to make their nests in. Secondly, the Kingdom of God is like leaven, which, when placed into dough, causes the entire lump to rise. The Kingdom will never stop expanding until it has filled all the earth.
Luke 13:18-19,21 - "What is the kingdom of God like? ...It is like a grain of mustard seed, ...It is like leaven."
Many Will Seek To Enter In And Will Not Be Able
Timing is everything. Today, you have an opportunity to be saved. Tomorrow, you may not. One disciple asked, "Lord, are there few that be saved?" Jesus answered, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." Seek Him now, while you can. Once the master of the house shuts the door, it is over.
Luke 13:27 - "He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Jerusalem Left Desolate For Resisting The Prophets
Jesus slammed His generation for resisting the prophets. "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth," when the saints and prophets enter the Kingdom of God, "and you yourselves thrust out." Some warned, "Herod will kill thee," but He said, "Tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. ...it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem."
Luke 13:34-35 - "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee;...Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
An Ox In A Pit And A Man In An Affliction
If an ox fell into a pit on the Sabbath, the Pharisees (lawyers) taught that it was not sinful to rescue it. But they accused Jesus of sin when He healed the man with dropsy (edema - swelling due to heart failure or other disease) on the Sabbath. Jesus confronted their outrageous hypocrisy, and forced them to consider that a man's great need is far more deserving of help than that of a beast. Fortunately, Jesus is not fettered by our stupidity.
Luke 14:2,4 - "A certain man before him ...had the dropsy. ...And he took him, and healed him."
Exalt Yourself, Be Abased - Humble Yourself, Be Exalted
When Jesus saw that some people pushed their way into positions of status, he reproved them. "When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room." Someone else may deserve more honor than you, and you will be ashamed when you have to step down. Instead, sit in the lowest room, and you will be honored when you are invited higher. Self-promotion is a dead-end street. Promotion comes from the Lord. Practice humility.
Luke 14:11 - "Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Divine Principles Have Eternal Rewards
Divine principles are self-fulfilling prophecies. When you live by a divine principle, it produces a divinely-ordained, pre-determined result. But that is not all. God has promised eternal rewards as well. Jesus gave an example. If you make a feast, do not call the same friends and family, who will eventually return the favor. Call someone who is poor, or sick, or in need. You will be rewarded both now, and in the hereafter.
Luke 14:14 - "And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just."
When God Calls You, Do Not Make Excuses
A certain man made a great supper and invited many, but they all made excuses. One said he needed to go see a piece of ground he had purchased. Another said he needed to prove five yoke of oxen. The third said he just got married, and needed to be with his wife. The master was furious, and commanded his servants, "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." Excuses condemned them all.
Luke 14:24 - "None of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper."
God Before Family
If you will live for Jesus, you must give His will absolute first priority. Nobody favors marriage and family more than God, but the first focus is not on family. It is on Jesus. Many of the greatest Bible characters served God with virtually no mention of their wives and children. If you cannot do God's will because of your family, something is wrong.
Luke 14:26 - "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
The Inescapable Cross Of Discipleship
No disciple of Jesus Christ can escape his cross. Every true believer must be crucified. Self-will must die. Carnality must die. Worldliness must die. That is the cost of discipleship, just like there is a cost for everything else. There is a cost for building a building that must be paid, or it will be unfinished. There is a cost for going to war that must be paid to win. The cost of Christ-likeness is everything you have.
Luke 14:33 - "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."
Rejoice With Me, For I Have Found My Lost Sheep
Ordinary people cannot comprehend the mind of Christ. The self-serving masses cannot internalize His Fatherly obsession for redeeming sinners. Jesus likened His passion to that of a shepherd who left ninety-nine sheep to go and search for one lost sheep. If you are of kindred spirit, you will share His joy each time one is found.
Luke 15:5-7 - "When he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost."
Joy In The Presence Of The Angels
People rejoice when a baby is born. They rejoice over a pay raise, or a new job, a new car, or a new home. People rejoice when a favorite team wins a sporting contest. None of those reasons can compare to the joy of a condemned sinner being reconciled to God following repentance. Train yourself to recognize - and REJOICE about - the most joyous of all things - the things that GOD and the angels rejoice about!
Luke 15:10 - "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."
The foolish son pressed his Father, "Give me the portion of goods that falleth to me." Anybody in their right mind could have seen that his request was out of order. It was not the proper time for him to be receiving his inheritance. He immediately "wasted his substance with riotous living." Somebody called it, "Getting what you want, but losing what you've got." When you pray, say, "Thy will be done!" Sanctify your requests. Pray for things that magnify God and edify His kingdom.
Luke 15:14 - "And when he had spent all, ...he began to be in want."
Restoration Begins With Contrition And Repentance
The prodigal son found himself tending pigs; so hungry that he almost ate the hog swill. Suddenly, he remembered that his father's servants fared better than this. He realized he had made a terrible mistake. He decided to go back home and repent. "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants."
Luke 15:20 - "But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."
When You Get Ready To Repent, He Is Ready To Forgive
We sorely underestimate God's willingness to forgive. While the prodigal son was still afar off, his father ran to meet him. When you get ready to repent, you will find God even more ready to forgive. "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry."
Luke 15:24 - "For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."
A Loving Father Mends Sibling Rivalry
From the start, God ordained that the oldest son should be the principal heir of each household. But exceptions were frequently made when, for various reasons, a younger son found favor with the father. Too often, however, the elder brother became jealous. When the prodigal son returned home, the elder brother became angry and would not celebrate with his father. But a loving Father loves all His children.
Luke 15:32 - "It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found."
The Dishonest Manager Who Repaired His Reputation
A rich man's steward (manager) was accused of wrongdoing, and held accountable. The shrewd bookkeeper contacted his customers and offered discounts for quickly paying his master. One who owed 100 measures of oil only paid 50. Another who owed 100 measures of wheat only paid 80. The manager made new friends, knowing he would soon need another job. The rich man commended him for doing wisely. Jesus commented that worldly men sometimes act smarter than godly men.
Luke 16:8 - "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations."
Be Equally Faithful In Handling Small And Large Matters
Most human behaviors are systemic. A person who is faithful in small things is predictably faithful in just about everything. By the same logic, a person who is unjust in small things is generally unjust in many things. If a person is not faithful in handling "the unrighteous mammon" (money), it is doubtful that anyone else will trust them with true wealth. Handle the small things and the big things with equal diligence.
Luke 16:12 - "And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"
No Man Can Serve Two Masters
As obvious as it may seem, the fact that "no man can serve two masters" is exceedingly profound. The dictionary says that a "master" is a "supreme authority, or controller." Will God share supreme authority over your life? Will He compete with the ungodly forces of money, fame, habits, or anything else? No. "One is your Master, even Christ," Matthew 23:10.
Luke 16:13 - "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
The Kingdom Of God
Do you realize that the phrase "Kingdom of God" is not used even one time in the Old Testament? Why did Moses and all the prophets virtually ignore this massive subject? "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope [Jesus] did; by the which we draw nigh unto God," Hebrews 7:19. Men only discussed earthly kingdoms until Jesus came. Jesus revealed the Eternal Kingdom to us.
Luke 16:16 - "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it."
Divine Precepts Cannot Fail, Even When Refuted
Jesus had just declared that one cannot love both God and money, as no man can serve two masters. But the covetous, self-justified Pharisees derided Him. Jesus indicted them, saying, "God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." It does not matter how well men justify their non-compliance with God's word before other men. His word will have the final say. His judgment will stand.
Luke 16:17 - "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle [letter] of the law to fail."
Two Rules About Divorce And Adultery
Between His comments about the coming Kingdom of God, and His lesson about the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus paused briefly to address the topics of divorce and adultery. He named two specific cases in which adultery is committed. First, a man should not put away his wife and marry another. "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery." Secondly, a man must not marry a woman who has been put away by her husband. That too would be considered an adulterous act.
Luke 16:18 - "Whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery."
Prayers Will Never Relieve The Torments Of Hell
The rich man in hell cried out for Abraham to send Lazarus, "that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." Abraham reminded him how many good things he enjoyed, while Lazarus suffered evil things. At last, justice was served. Lazarus was in paradise, and the rich man in hell. In hell, it will be forever too late to pray.
Luke 16:25-26 - "Beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot."
All Men Should Listen To Moses And The Prophets
The rich man in hell begged that Abraham would send someone from paradise to visit his five brethren in his father's house, and warn them about hell - the place of torment. Abraham responded, "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." The rich man argued that if someone returned from the dead, they would listen to them. But we now have one risen from the dead - Jesus Christ - yet, men ignore Him, too.
Luke 16:30 - "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
Avoid Offending Others, And Forgive Their Trespasses
Here is an extraordinary premise. We should do everything possible to keep from hindering our brethren. We should strive never to offend others, because woes will come to us if we do. It is better to have a millstone hung around the neck and be thrown into the sea than to offend someone. Furthermore, if someone offends us, we should forgive them as often as necessary to prevent further offenses.
Luke 17:4 - "If he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him."
Speak The Word Of Faith
The apostles said to Jesus, "Increase our faith." They did not need more faith. They only needed to use the faith they already had. If you have even a tiny amount of faith, speak to your problem. Your words of faith have more potential than any remedy known to man. Virtually every miracle is the result of a word of faith.
Luke 17:6 - "If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you."
Speak Like You Are His Servant, You Are Not Your Own
Almost every ancient culture made use of servants. A true servant had no rights of his own, but was owned by and duty-bound to his or her master. Whether working in the fields by day, or in the household at evening time, a servant's duties never end. Jesus taught that we are not our own, but are servants of God, created for His glory and His pleasure. Confess it.
Luke 17:10 - "When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do."
Glorify God With A Loud Voice, And Give Him Thanks
Ten lepers called Jesus from a distance, "Master, have mercy on us." "Go show yourselves unto the priests," He replied. Their leprosy disappeared as they went. One, when he realized that he was healed, rushed back, fell down on his face at Jesus' feet, and loudly gave Him thanks. Jesus said, "Where are the [other] nine?" They could not be found. Is Jesus still waiting for you to thank Him for all He has done for you? Lift your voice and thank Him.
Luke 17:19 - "He said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole."
The Kingdom Cometh Not With Observation
The Pharisees demanded that Jesus tell them when the kingdom of God would come. He said that they could not see it with their eyes. His kingdom is spiritual. At the end of the age, Jesus will come and establish an earthly kingdom for 1000 years, and after that, an eternal kingdom in heaven. But for now, the kingdom of God is inside everyone who is filled with His Spirit.
Luke 17:20-21 - "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
The Days Of The Son Of Man Like Lightning
We often fail to appreciate God's presence in our lives until a spiritual drought occurs. Jesus said, "The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it." He warned against the temptation to follow imposters. They did not realize how briefly He would be with them, then suddenly be gone.
Luke 17:24 - "For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day."
Jesus Foretold His Sufferings And Rejection By Men
Nobody in the history of mankind possessed the power and ability that Jesus possessed to see and know the future. That was especially true about His own purpose and destiny. Jesus often forewarned His disciples of particular coming events that came to pass in their lifetimes. His foreknowledge was not psychic or mystical. It was divinely supernatural. He was the omniscient, omnipotent incarnation of God, and the Savior of the world. He knew exactly what He would suffer to redeem us from our sins.
Luke 17:25 - "But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation."
As The Days Of Noah
Jesus warned that the end of this age will come as it did in Noah's day. The SAME DAY Noah entered the ark, the flood came and destroyed them. God's mercy and God's wrath come together.
Luke 17:26-27 - "And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all."
As The Days Of Lot
Everyone who is born again will escape the wrath of God when it comes to earth. But the same day, the judgment begins on those who remain. Justice will conclude at Armageddon.
Luke 17:28-30 - "Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed."
Remember Lot's Wife
The angel told her to flee Sodom and not look back. But she looked back, and perished. Jesus said, "Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back." Quit the world, and don't look back.
Luke 17:33 - "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it."
One Will Be Taken, One Will Be Left
When Jesus returns, He will deliver His saints from the sinners around them. Two will be sleeping; one will be taken, the other left. Two will be grinding; one will be taken, the other left. Two will be in the field; one will be taken, one will be left. Some asked Jesus, "At what location will this happen?" He answered, in effect, "where vultures devour carcases." Where people are feeding on dead religion. See "The Carcase and the Eagles" at kenraggio.com.
Luke 17:37 - ""Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together."
We Ought Always To Pray And Not To Faint
The story of the widow who wearied the unjust judge was Jesus' illustration of His admonition that men "ought always to pray and not faint." The judge had a reputation that he neither feared God nor regarded man. But the widow was "troublesome" to him, so he said, "I will avenge her, lest continually coming she weary me." Jesus effectively urged us to "trouble" God with our needs. Importunity means "persistence in making request." Be persistent!
Luke 18:6-7 - "Hear what the unjust judge saith. And will not God revenge his elect who cry to him day and night?"
The Pharisee And The Publican
The Pharisee should have been the model of righteousness, but instead was the model of hypocrisy. He prayed, "God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican. I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess." The publican stood afar off, with his head bowed, smiting his breast, saying, "O God, be merciful to me a sinner." The publican was justified, not the Pharisee.
Luke 18:14 - "Every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Infants And Little Children And The Kingdom Of God
God loves babies and children. The disciples presumed that Jesus would not want to be bothered by those who brought their little ones for Him to touch. But Jesus called them to bring the children. "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." He yearns for everyone to be as eager and as innocent as children. That kind of purity of heart is the heart of His kingdom.
Luke 18:17 - "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein."
Attachment To Riches Prevents Attachment To Jesus
A ruler asked, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus instructed him to keep the Commandments. He claimed that he did. Jesus replied, "Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me." "When he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich." Anyone who forfeits Christ for money knows nothing about wealth.
Luke 18:24 - "When Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!"
The Eye Of A Needle
Jesus lamented, "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Some people say that the eye of a needle was a small gate in a city wall through which a camel could barely pass. But Jesus said it was "impossible." It is impossible for a camel to pass through a sewing needle.
Luke 18:27 - "He said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."
He Will Greatly Reward Those Who Give Up All For Him
When the disciples heard Jesus say how unlikely it would be for a rich man to enter heaven, they wondered how they would fare on judgment day, since they had given up everything for Him.
Luke 18:28-30 - "Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting."
The Disciples Could Not Understand His Prophecies
I will be arrested by foreign agents, put through a merciless, mocking courtroom trial, condemned, tortured and put to death. Three days later, I will come back to life. Jesus made those very claims. None of His disciples could comprehend them, but they all came to pass. Your prophetic destiny makes no sense to the carnal mind. God's ways are higher than man's ways. You may not understand prophecy, but believe it anyway.
Luke 18:34 - "They understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken."
Son Of David, Have Mercy On Me!
Near Jericho, a blind man sat begging. Being told that Jesus was passing by, He cried out, "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me." They rebuked him, but he cried much more, "Son of David, have mercy on me." Jesus called for him saying, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" "Lord, that I may receive my sight." Jesus said, "Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee." The whole process of a miracle is so simple. Call out earnestly until Jesus answers.
Luke 18:43 - "Immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God."
Zacchaeus was a rich man, a chief among tax-collectors, and a sinner. Jesus picked him out of the crowd, and desired fellowship with him in his home. Their conversation is not recorded, but Jesus obviously affected Zacchaeus profoundly, because he immediately renounced his sins and pledged to do right. A few minutes in Jesus' presence can change your life forever.
Luke 19:8 - "Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold."
Seek Him, Even If You Have To Climb A Tree
We could all learn a lesson from Zacchaeus. He was saved by climbing a tree. When Jesus passed through Jericho, the crowds prevented Zacchaeus from seeing Him, because he was little of stature. So he climbed a tree. That impressed Jesus. Jesus noticed Zacchaeus' special effort, and invited Himself to Zacchaeus' home. Why not make a special effort to see Jesus? Climb a tree if you have to.
Luke 19:9-10 - "Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house. ...For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Profitable Servants Become Rulers In His Kingdom
Jesus' parable of the nobleman illustrated how He would build His kingdom. The nobleman went far away to inherit His kingdom, prefiguring Jesus, who would ascend into heaven to receive His kingdom. Before leaving, He invested in His servants, expecting them to be profitable until He returned. Those who were profitable were rewarded with many cities in His kingdom. The unprofitable servants were destroyed. We MUST be profitable to Jesus or lose all.
Luke 19:17 - "And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities."
Jesus Depicted Himself As An Austere Nobleman
The nobleman gave one pound to each of ten servants to invest while he was away. One earned ten pounds, another five. One did nothing with his. The nobleman replied, "Thou knewest that I was an austere [strict, rigorous, serious] man, ...Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?" Jesus was depicting Himself as austere.
Luke 19:24 - "Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. ...from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him."
That He Hath Shall Be Taken Away From Him
Our eternal rewards will be based on our performance in the eyes of God. No performance, no reward. God gives every person talents to multiply. If you refuse to submit to His will - to spend your life for His profit - and live selfishly or frivolously, judgment day may be catastrophic. Jesus said it.
Luke 19:26-27 - "Unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."
Shiloh Would Bind His Foal To The Vine
The colt that Jesus rode into Jerusalem was mentioned in all four Gospels. It was prophesied of in Zechariah 9:9. But another obscure prophecy occurred in Genesis 49:11, pertaining to the tribe of Judah. The "lawgiver," "Shiloh," (Christ) would "[bind] his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes." Jesus' ride on the colt portended His impending death by the shedding of His blood.
Luke 19:35 - "They cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon."
Rejoice And Praise God With A Loud Voice
I would love to have been there on that occasion. They spread their clothes in Jesus' path. "The whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen. Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord." The cynical Pharisees said, "Master, rebuke thy disciples." God speed the day when we loudly rejoice in His presence.
Luke 19:40 - "And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."
Jesus Wept Over The City
Jesus wept as He rode the colt into the city of Jerusalem. He knew its people were blind to the future, and tragically unaware of how much their rejection would eventually cost them. He prophesied about the enemies who would take them. Then, He violently cast the moneychangers out of the Temple, saying, "My house is the house of prayer." I weep nowadays because my generation faces the same fate, for the same reasons. We need to sanctify the House of Prayer, and PRAY.
Luke 19:41 - "When he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it."
Those Who Spurn Prophecies Suffer Consequences
One of the most sobering things about the prophecies of the Bible is that God blinds disinterested men to their understanding. As Jesus wept over Jerusalem, He said, "If thou hadst known, ...but now they are hid from thine eyes." The enemies of Jerusalem would siege and destroy the city, but they would not be prepared for it. Most people have so little interest in the Divine Plan that when prophecies are fulfilled, they are caught completely unprepared.
Luke 19:44 - "They shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."
The Folly Of Questioning Divine Authority
When the Chief Priests saw Jesus preaching and teaching in the Temple, they asked, "By what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?" Their question reeked with cynicism. Jesus retorted, "I will also ask you one thing; and answer me: The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?" They were trapped, and refused to answer. If you refuse to acknowledge God's authority, you will be stuck with a lot of unanswerable questions.
Luke 20:8 - "Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things."
The Lord of a vineyard hired husbandmen to tend it for him. Jesus' parable typified the rulers of Israel whom God expected to tend His people (His vineyard). The husbandmen were selfish, hated the owner, mistreated His messengers and murdered His Son. They rejected Jesus like builders reject a stone they do not like. But Jesus is the chief cornerstone, and they will be ground to powder by Him. That parable sorely angered them, because they knew He was speaking directly against them.
Luke 20:16 - "He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others."
Men Rejected The Chosen Stone, But God Will Exalt It
In Jesus' parable, the husbandmen rejected the Lord of the vineyard and killed His son. That depicted Israel's rejection of God and His earthly Son, Jesus Christ. But eternity will show that Jesus Christ is the greatest stone of all, and will yet be the great head stone of the corner. When men reject you, remember that they also rejected Christ. Men's judgment is skewed. They call good evil, and evil good. If you live righteously, they will reject you, too.
Luke 20:17 - "The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner."
Truth Cannot Be Caught In A Trap
The chief priests and scribes (lawyers) watched Jesus, "and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor." They asked, "Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar?" But He knew their deception, and outwitted them. "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's."
Luke 20:26 - "They could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace."
The Woman Who Had Seven Husbands
The Sadducees wanted to make a complete mockery of the doctrine of the resurrection by arguing against it. They made an example of an alleged woman who married seven brothers in a row, as one by one they died. "Whose wife of them is she?" Jesus completely voided their objections with the truth that there are no marriages in heaven.
Luke 20:35-36 - "They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels."
Jesus Is David's Son AND David's LORD
It seemed a big enough concession for the scribes to admit that Jesus was the Son of David. That did not require for them to admit that He was divine. But Jesus forced them to consider the deeper truth. He said, "How say they that Christ is David's son?" In Psalms, David said, "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand..." Before Jesus was ever born, He was David's Lord. Jesus was MORE than just a man. He was God.
Luke 20:44 - "David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?"
God Hates Phony Religion
As He taught in the Temple, many worshippers gathered around Jesus, including several scribes and Pharisees, against whom Jesus had strong criticism. In the hearing of the whole crowd, Jesus said, "Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts." Obviously, Jesus wanted the people to know that their hypocrisy was completely unacceptable to God. God hates phony religion.
Luke 20:47 - "[They] devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation."
The Wealth Of The Earthly Temple Would Perish
Rich men were casting their gifts into the Temple treasury as Jesus stood watching. Then a certain poor widow cast in two tiny coins. Jesus pointed out that the poor widow had cast in more than any of the rich men, because she gave all that she had. Next, Jesus overheard some remarking about the beauty and wealth of the Temple itself. In both instances, Jesus discounted earthly wealth. True wealth is in your heart.
Luke 21:6 - "The days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
Many Deceivers Will Come In The Name Of Jesus
When Jesus began prophesying future calamities, the people asked, "What sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?" He listed many prophetic signs to come. At the TOP OF THE LIST, He said that many deceivers would come in the name of Jesus. Today, multitudes of voices claim to be speaking in the name of Jesus, but their message is false. That is His warning.
Luke 21:8 - "Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them."
Global Wars Of 20th Century Fulfilled Major Prophecies
It is no small matter that in one century we have seen two world wars, and a very long list of major regional wars. More people died from war in the 20th Century than lived in Jesus' time. These wars are signs from God. These are the last days, and Jesus will soon return.
Luke 21:9-10 - "But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom."
Great Earthquakes Fulfilled Jesus' Prophecies
Three of the five worst earthquakes ever known occurred in the first ten years of the 21st century. In 2004, a 9.3 earthquake (second worst ever recorded) shook the Indian Ocean, producing 100-foot-high tsunamis that killed 230,000 people in 14 countries (especially Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India). It shook the entire earth, triggering other earthquakes as far away as Alaska. An 8.7 earthquake hit Indonesia in 2005, and an 8.8 earthquake shook Chile in 2010. The 2004 and 2010 earthquakes moved the earth off its axis.
Luke 21:11 - "Great earthquakes shall be in divers places."
The Church Will Be Persecuted Severely In The Last Days
In the last days, the true Church will face increasing persecution. In the nation of Israel, the law forbids Christian proselytization. Christian broadcasters have been shut down, and Christian ministries are opposed and sometimes prosecuted. Around the world, the forces of Islam, Communism, Hinduism, Political Correctness, Hate Crime Legislation, Hollywood, the Media, the Internet, the entertainment industry, and others are increasingly hostile to all kinds of Christian activity.
Luke 21:12 - "They shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake."
You Must Be Patient If You Want To Survive Spiritually
As Jesus listed all the calamitous events that will take place near the end of this age, He admonished that our tribulations "shall turn to you for a testimony." He tells us not to premeditate our responses, because He will give us words and wisdom that will withstand our adversaries. He warned that family and friends will betray us, even killing some. We will be hated by all men for His name's sake. "But there shall not an hair of your head perish." And finally, be patient to the end.
Luke 21:19 - "In your patience possess ye your souls."
Jerusalem Will Be Compassed With Armies
Countless prophecy teachers say this prophecy refers to the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. That cannot possibly be correct, because these verses lead us directly to "THEN shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory," (verse 27). The correct time for its fulfillment is in the middle of Daniel's 70th week - when the Antichrist commits the Abomination in the Third Temple.
Luke 21:20-21 - "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains."
Jews Must Flee Judea, Or Be Captives in Other Nations
Three and a half years before Armageddon, the Antichrist will stand in the Third Temple and cause the sacrifices to cease. Jesus warns all Jews in Judea to flee immediately.
Luke 21:21,24 - "Let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; ...For these be the days of vengeance, ...for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
Jerusalem Trodden Down Until Time Of Gentiles Fulfilled
As I write this, Israel claims sovereignty over Jerusalem, but the entire world is attempting to take it away from them. It will happen, in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, when the Antichrist commits the Abomination in the Third Temple. International armies will desolate Jerusalem. Jews will flee or be captured. Gentiles will rule Israel 3 1/2 years until Jesus returns.
Luke 21:24,27 - "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. ...then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."
The Powers Of Heaven Shall Be Shaken
From the day Antichrist commits the Abomination in the Third Temple, the three and a half years until Armageddon will be hellacious. "There shall be signs in the sun, ...moon, ...stars; ...distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring." Great wars among heavenly demon principalities will wreak havoc on earthly events. Satan knows he has but a short time, and he will be in an earth-shattering rage.
Luke 21:25 - "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."
Signs Of Last Days All Fulfilled In One Generation
A generation is the typical lifespan of a man - 70-80 years. God began to fulfill great numbers of prophecies concerning the last days during World War II, and especially with the founding of the State of Israel in May, 1948. We must be very close to the end of that generation. Look up! We are about to be redeemed!
Luke 21:28,32 - "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. ...Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled."
Prophetic Signs Are Like New Shoots On A Tree Limb
"Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand." Jesus taught this parable to warn us that the amazing prophetic signs we are now seeing are like new branches on a tree. They will very soon bloom and bear fruit. This will be the last great harvest of the earth, the rapture and resurrection of all the sainted dead.
Luke 21:31 - "When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand."
His Prophecies Cannot Fail - Do Not Be Ensnared
The prophecies Jesus made concerning the end of the age were recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He emphasized to them that "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." He warned them not to be distracted by the cares of this life, so the Day of the Lord would not catch them by surprise, "for as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth."
Luke 21:36 - "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things."
The Blood Of Jesus, Our Passover Lamb
With divine foreknowledge, Jesus told His disciples to follow a man bearing a pitcher of water, go into his house, and inquire about his guestchamber, "where I shall eat the passover with my disciples." "He shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready." Everything happened exactly as told, so there Jesus ate the Passover with them. In Exodus, God passed over Israel when He saw the blood, sparing them from death. Now, death passes over saints washed in the blood of Jesus.
Luke 22:15-16 - "I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer."
Be Thankful, Even When You Know Trials Are Ahead
At the Last Supper, Jesus was perfectly aware of all the horrors He would soon suffer as He performed the eternal will of God. Nevertheless, as He lifted the cup and the bread before sharing them with the disciples, He gave thanks. No matter how horrible our circumstances seem to be, it is still in order to be thankful to God for all His blessings. Be thankful.
Luke 22:17 - "He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: ...And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them."
The Bread And The Wine Of Passover
Judaism cannot possibly understand the full significance of the Passover without believing in Jesus Christ. He explicitly defined the bread and the wine. The broken bread represents His body that was broken at Calvary. The wine represents the blood that He shed for our sins.
Luke 22:19-20 - "And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
This Cup Is The New Testament
The Old Testament was the original covenant God made with Israel, against which they defaulted. God had to create a New Testament, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins," Hebrews 10:4. "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us," Hebrews 9:12. The Passover Cup symbolized His blood in the new covenant.
Luke 22:20 - "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
An Appointed Kingdom For His Disciples
Jesus' announcement that a traitor was at the table precipitated a scurry among the twelve. First, they argued who the traitor might be, then, who would be accounted their greatest. Jesus lectured them on servanthood. Worldly men exercise lordship over others, but His disciples are called to serve, as Christ served them that night. But those who serve now will someday rule.
Luke 22:29-30 - "I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Prayers on Deposit
It is good to beat Satan to the draw. Get a jump on him by praying ahead of the problem. It doesn't take a lot of spiritual savvy to realize that trouble will certainly come in certain areas of our lives. If you see trouble coming, pray now. Head it off by making your case to God now. Jesus diverted a major catastrophe in Peter's life by praying in
Luke 22:32 - "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
Two Swords Are Enough
The night of His arrest, Jesus told His disciples, "he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." He prophesied, "the things concerning me have an end." They took swords into Gethsemane that night. Peter cut an ear off the High Priest's servant. Jesus rebuked Him. "They that take the sword shall perish with the sword." He did not approve of Peter using the sword. He must have only wanted them as a visual deterrent to trouble.
Luke 22:38 - "They said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough."
Pray Until You Die To Self
The Garden of Gethsemane on the western slope of the Mount of Olives is one of the most captivating places on earth. This ancient garden of olive trees is forever branded with Jesus' agony. In the dark of night, beneath those gnarly trees, God incarnate made the most important decision ever made by any man. He decided to die for our sins.
Luke 22:41-43 - "[He] kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him."
Pray That Ye Enter Not Into Temptation
His disciples followed Him that night to the mount of Olives. He paused and said, "Pray that ye enter not into temptation," then went a short distance from them, knelt down, and prayed - that HE might not enter into temptation. He asked, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." Whether or not God requires you to face a particular trial, He will still hear your prayer and enable you face whatever you have to face.
Luke 22:43 - "And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him."
In Agony, He Prayed More Earnestly
A lot of people think that emotionalism in religion is out of place. However, I cannot think of anything in the world that should stimulate our emotions more than God and His supernatural working in our lives. When Jesus faced His greatest hour of trial in Gethsemane, the emotional agony He felt caused Him to pray more earnestly. If you truly depend on God for survival, your prayers may become amazingly intense.
Luke 22:44 - "And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."
Why Sleep Ye? Rise And Pray
Jesus tried to get His three best friends to strengthen themselves in prayer, because He knew what tragic circumstances they would face in the next few hours. But they sensed the impending drama, and they were overwhelmed. After Jesus prayed alone for a while, He checked on them, and "he found them sleeping for sorrow." If the Lord prompts you to pray, there must be a worthwhile reason. Take care never to miss your cue when His Spirit prompts you to pray.
Luke 22:46 - "And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation."
Betrayal With A Kiss
Judas had already conspired with the officials to give them a sign. The man he kissed would be their man. They came with "a multitude." Judas had said to them, "Hold Him fast," (Matthew 26:48), and "lead Him away safely," (Mark 14:44). Rarely does an enemy stab you in the back. More people are destroyed by enemies feigning affection. They want to disguise their evil intentions. Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing, or adversaries who kiss you.
Luke 22:48 - "But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?"
Remember how God granted a license for Satan to tempt Job? Well, God granted another license, that the foolish devil might crucify Christ. God is big enough and sovereign enough to let Satan run out his leash, yet in the final analysis, no lasting harm is done. Jesus acknowledged that Satan's hour had come, and submitted to the demon-inspired mob. But Satan was humiliated. Christ arose, and hell's best efforts utterly failed. In your trial, remember: Satan has an hour. You have eternity.
Luke 22:53 - "This is your hour, and the power of darkness."
Jesus Turned, And Looked Upon Peter
Jesus prophesied that Peter would deny Him three times before morning. God knows our mettle better than we do. Peter was in the high priest's house while Jesus was being tried.The third time he denied, "the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter." That eye contact must have been painful.
Luke 22:60-62 - "While he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly."
Art Thou The Christ?
At the house of Caiphas, the High Priest, Jesus was blindfolded, beat, slapped, mocked and blasphemed. As morning broke, the whole crowd demanded, "Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: ...Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God." Hateful men still will not believe today. But soon, every tongue will confess that Jesus is the Lord.
Luke 22:70 - "Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am."
Evil Men ENJOY Persecuting The Cause Of Christ
The chief priests and captains were GLAD when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus to them. The next day, Pilate delivered Jesus to Herod. "And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding GLAD: for he was desirous to see him... And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him." Satan and his cohorts ENJOY dealing tough blows to the righteous. "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake," 2 Corinthians 12:10.
Luke 23:11 - "And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him."
Enemies Become Friends, With Common Enemy
Pontius Pilate and Herod had "bad blood" between them. But when the Jews brought Jesus into their jurisdictions, they were forced to have dealings with each other. Neither believed Jesus was worthy of death, but neither was willing to stop His execution. Enemies commonly become friends when they face a common enemy. People who cannot stand each other will yet join forces to persecute the righteous. We will see more evidence of this as we approach the end.
Luke 23:12 - "And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves."
I Find No Fault In This Man
Even under the impetuous, railing accusations of the chief priests and rulers of Israel, neither Herod nor Pilate found any fault in Jesus. Pilate declared, "I will therefore chastise him, and release him." But the crowd screamed, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" Jesus' death was cold-blooded murder.
Luke 23:14-15 - "Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man... No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him."
It was customary in Jerusalem to release a selected prisoner on the holiday of the Passover. Pilate knew that, and hoped that would be the loophole he needed to exonerate Jesus. But the people violently resisted. "They cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)" Murderers freed a murderer.
Luke 23:25 - "He released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will."
Weep For Yourselves, And For Your Children
"Peter went out, and wept bitterly," after the cock crew, and he realized that he had sinned against Jesus. Only a few hours later, Pilate sentenced Jesus to die, and Jesus began His march to Golgotha. "A great company of people ...bewailed and lamented Him." The crowds wept in pity for Jesus, not realizing their personal plight would be more tragic than His. Tears of contrition and repentance are much more appropriate than tears of pity.
Luke 23:28-29 - "But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children."
Father, Forgive Them; They Know Not What They Do
One of the most sobering truths about all of mankind is that we cannot possibly comprehend the really "big picture." God, in His infinite wisdom, knows the end from the beginning, and knows every nuance and detail of every thought and action we take. God knows the consequences of our evil deeds long before we ever do. Those who crucified Jesus had no idea what a horrific crime they were committing. Neither do those who sin against YOU. You should forgive them, as Jesus did.
Luke 23:34 - "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Anybody who has experienced the power of God knows that nothing is impossible with God. But adversaries will come who will maliciously put you to the test, demanding proof, demanding explanations, even demanding miracles. For whatever reasons, God will not vindicate you at that particular moment. He will let the mockery stand. But Judgment Day is coming. Divine retribution.
Luke 23:35 - "The people ...derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. ...If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. ...If thou be Christ, save thyself and us."
Lord, Remember Me When You Come Into Your Kingdom
Jesus' cross was flanked by two other crosses where criminals hung. One railed on Him, mocking. The other rebuked the first. "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? ...for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." Bitterness in your dying moment is supremely foolish. Regardless of your plight - make peace with God!
Luke 23:43 - "Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
Into Thy Hands I Commend My Spirit
The sky was dark for three hours as Jesus was dying. He loudly cried out His last words: "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me," Mark 15:34; "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit," Luke 23:46; and "It is finished," John 19:30. Jesus' last words showed conclusively that His life was all about the purpose of God. What will your last words prove?
Luke 23:46-47 - "Having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man."
The Sepulchre Was Nigh At Hand To Golgotha
Joseph of Arimathaea, a good man who "had not consented to the counsel and deed of them" who crucified Jesus, begged the body of Jesus from Pilate, wrapped it in linen, "and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone." "Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus ...for the sepulchre was nigh at hand," John 19:41-42.
Luke 23:55 - "The women also, which came with him ...beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid."
Angels Confirmed That Jesus' Prophecies Were Fulfilled
Jesus' mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and a third Mary (mother of Joses) came to Jesus' tomb with spices, but were shocked to find the stone rolled away, His tomb empty, and two men standing in shining garments. The angels said, "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again."
Luke 24:8 - "And they remembered his words."
They Brought The Spices Which They Had Prepared
Maybe there is a subtle lesson here. The women who came with spices prepared for Jesus' body that morning were first to discover the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. When they realized Jesus' body was missing, "they were much perplexed." Suddenly, two men in shining garments stood by them, saying, "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen." If you are first to bring worshipful fragrances to Jesus, you will be the first to see His glory.
Luke 24:9 - "[They] told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest."
Even Eyewitnesses Were Incredulous At Resurrection
Although Jesus clearly prophesied His resurrection, the women who went to Jesus' tomb "found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. ...they were much perplexed." When they told the apostles, "their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not." Even Peter ran in and saw the linen clothes laid by themselves, but departed, "wondering in himself at that which was come to pass."
Luke 24:25 - [Later, Jesus] "said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken."
Just A Little Talk With Jesus
Two men en route to Emmaus met a man and had an interesting talk with Him. They invited Him to have dinner, and while He blessed and passed the food, "their eyes were opened, and they knew Him." It was Jesus. He was risen. They went to Jerusalem and told the eleven, "The Lord is risen indeed," then shared what they knew. The Lord often comes into our midst unawares. Take care to recognize when He is speaking to you.
Luke 24:36 - "As they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you."
A Spirit Hath Not Flesh And Bones
Saints will NOT be bodiless ghosts forever, but will receive new, immortal bodies at the resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul taught about "terrestrial," earthly, corruptible, mortal bodies, and "celestial," heavenly, incorruptible, immortal bodies. Jesus' mortal body died at Calvary. He rose incorruptible and immortal. He had flesh and bones, but no blood - animated by the Holy Ghost instead of blood. "We shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump," 1 Corinthians 15:52.
Luke 24:39 - "Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."
Behold My Hands And My Feet
Jesus suddenly appeared to the eleven, but He terrified them. They thought He was a ghost. "Why are ye troubled? ...Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." The story of Jesus is not a ghost story. Someday soon, He is coming in the clouds, "and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him," Revelation 1:7.
Luke 24:40 - "He shewed them his hands and his feet."
Repentance And Remission Of Sins In Jesus' Name
Jesus commanded the disciples to preach repentance and remission of sins in His NAME. Acts 2:38 records Peter's fulfillment of that command. He said to the multitudes at Pentecost, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
Luke 24:47-49 - "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you."
They Worshipped Him, And Praised And Blessed God
After Jesus taught them the scriptures pertaining to His resurrection, He commissioned them to preach repentance and remission of sins in His name, and commanded them to tarry in Jerusalem until "ye be endued with power from on high," (the Baptism of the Holy Ghost that came in the Upper Room). He led them to Bethany, blessed them, and was carried up into heaven. Ever afterward, they worshipped Him as Savior and God. We should too.
Luke 24:52-53 "And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God."
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