I’m home for the weekend and have had some anxiety about the future, but today some brothers and sister prayed for me and reminded me that God is for me and with me and to keep focusing on him and everything else will fall into place (Luke 12:1). Anyway, here are notes from the next few chapters. I haven’t had a chance to discuss them all as before, but hope they are still of value. Only doing 3 chapters today.
Chapter 13: Jesus starts by reminding us that we’ve all got the same fate and that people don’t die because they are ‘worse sinners’ (13:4). We are taught, through the parable of the unfruitful fig tree (13:6-9) a few things. Firstly that sometimes the reason people are the way they are is because they have been brought up in unprepared land (perhaps I am reading into this), but before a judgement is made as to whether to cut the tree down it is given a chance to bear fruit. God is patient with us and gives us a chance, and we can yield fruit even if we have never done so before. Then Jesus goes and heals on the Sabbath (again) which people don’t like (again); though this time he brings attention to the hypocrisy (13:15) that people would much rather treat well an animal than another descendant of Abraham (13:15-17). Let us not forget that we are worth many sparrows. We are then remind that we are to seek the Narrow door (13:24), which is not easy. Many try to go through the wide door, the easy door, but we are not called to seek that which is easy. God also calls those from all around (13:29) which again shows great compassion and foresight that Jesus will bring even gentiles to God. We again see God’s compassion for His people whom will not accept Him (13:34).
Chapter 14: Jesus heals on the Sabbath using a similar but condensed version of what was said in Chapter 13:15-17 (14:1-5) and left the teachers of the law and Pharisees unable to answer him. I wonder how many pharisees, after having been corrected, identified that they had been living wrong and repented? It is interesting that as Christians we should be seeking to give in such a way that we are not payed back (14:12-14), in-fact we should be going out of our way to make sure people do not repay us. We took note of the bad excuses used not to attend the feast (14:18-20). The first claims to have bought a field they need to look at, why would they have bought it if they hadn’t looked? the second has the same excuse about livestock and the third claims they cannot go because they are married. I ask this, do we have bad excuses for not spending time feasting on God’s word and spending time in his courts? Further to this, linking it to the previous passage, most of the people who end up going to the feast (14:21-24) cannot pay the man back because they are poor. This passage is also Jesus explaining why salvation will be made available to the gentiles. Also notice that two of those who did not attend clearly had money, which links it to Luke 18:25 (the verse about it being hard for a rich person to enter heaven). The rich may not want to abandon their earthly things to get into the kingdom, if the eye of a needle is a Narrow gate, one could not get their great wealth through it. Would you rather stay outside with your seemingly great wealth that will perish, or go in having faith in the eternal wealth that is hidden? The next teaching is a difficult one (14:25-35), I believe the conclusion we came to was this: we do not have, on our own, enough material to build anything meaningful or long lasting, if we take the time to look at what we have we should realise this (yet another reason it is hard for a rich person to accept Jesus, they may think they can do things alone of their wealth) [Edit: a better interpretation which fits the context better from PK: Before believing in God, you should count the cost of being a Christian because if you just believe then you might just fall away due to hard times or want other worldly pleasures instead]. we must give up everything to follow Jesus fully (14:33). Finally we re told that we are salt (with, presumably, good and godliness being that salty flavour), and that those who have lose their flavour are not even good for manure (14:34-35). These teachings are still as radical and controversial today.
Chapter 15: This chapter is about lost things, and the joy of finding them. When God finds us he takes us into fellowship, and is not afraid to leave the other sheep to find the lost because he has led and taught the 99. They will not wonder from where they were led (15:1-7). In the same way that we would rejoice if we found a twenty pound note, even if we had one hundred and eighty in hand, there is rejoicing over those who repent (15:8-9). This is how we should respond when we hear of those who are repentant, not like the older brother in 15:28. Something I had never noticed in the prodigal son parable is that the father did not just give the younger son his share, but he gave each son their shares (15:12). Even though the older brother stayed near the father, he was still not in good communication with the father (15:25-27); even though the older son thought he was doing his duty, he had neglected what was really important. He had not loved his father, or his brother. Finally on this parable I will take note of the phrase “everything I have is yours” (15:31): Jesus invites us to be partakers of the kingdom, not to take what we want and do our own thing with it.
Lots of love, God bless you and keep you.