Luke 19:33-34 (NIV)
As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" They replied, "The Lord needs it."
Seriously – does God NEED anything? The short answer is no. God has all resources, all power, all knowledge, all wisdom – he doesn’t need anything from anyone. He’s the only person in the universe who can lay claim to being totally ‘self-sufficient’!
But the Jesus needed a colt, a donkey to ride on. Although He had access to unlimited supernatural power and probably could have made one appear at will – instead He asks for it from those who have one.
Most of the time we live with the illusion that we actually own stuff in this life. If we think about it, we realise that everything that we have actually already came from Him. You may have bought a new LCD TV. But the particles that make up that TV were originally created and put together by God. Humans have never ‘created’ anything – we’ve only ever modified what God put there in the first place! The earth and everything in it really is the Lord’s!
So these owners have a donkey – a prized possession for a Jewish household. Jesus asks for it – and they give it willingly and without complaint. Then Jesus rides in to Jerusalem on their donkey. Imagine how proud they would have been afterwards… ‘this’ is the donkey that Jesus rode on!
We never lose anything when we put it back into God’s hands. It might seem like we do for a while, but in the end – whatever we invest into the Kingdom of God will bless a multitude of people, as well as us!
Luke 15:17 (NIV)
17 "When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! i
In the story of the Prodigal Son, the son has an awakening moment when his money has run out and he’s eating pig’s food! Even the servants in his father’s house have it better than this!
The son is motivated by his own need. He now ponders returning to his father but not because he is motivated to set things right at home, or for restoring relationships or anything. He’s motivated by his hunger. He has nothing to eat – and even the least of the servants have more than enough bread in his father’s house.
This shows us two things:
1) It’s vitally important that we have ‘bread in the house’. Jesus refers to healing as ‘the children’s bread’. When healing and life is prevalent in the house of God, it will make what the prodigals are eating in the world seem very, very second rate.
2) When prodigals return, their motives may be less than noble. They may come back simply because they’re starving. But it’s here that the goodness of God is shown – he doesn’t judge the son, but instead he lavishes even more on him! Our response needs to be the same. It’s his kindness that leads us to repentance!
Luke 18:12 – I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get.’
The Pharisees were the uber-spiritual people of their day. Whatever it was that God wanted, they always wanted to go one further!
On the outside, it appeared as righteousness – but the issue was that they had replaced the grace of God for their salvation with the efforts of their own hands. God ‘owed’ them because of all they had done. Here, in Luke 18:12, we see the ‘Pharisee’ singing the 18:12 overture! He fasts twice a week and gives tithes of all he gets. However, in his pursuit of these things – he neglects the more important matters of justice, love and mercy.
When we get our eyes of how much our heavenly Father loves us and His grace toward us, we can start to try to earn our way to heaven through our own efforts. We can start singing our own ‘1812 Overture’!!
Fall once again on the mercy and love of your heavenly Father toward you today! He’s not looking for repayment – He’s simply looking for you to accept what He has given!
Luke 5:39 – No man having drunk old wine immediately desires new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’"
They don’t ‘immediately desire’ – it is hard when you have drunken old wine to enjoy the new wine. It doesn’t mean that we can’t change, but it can become very difficult!
Old wine is the domain of the connoisseur – the one who has ‘been around’. The old ways, the old songs – they bring a sense of comfort and peace. It’s easy in an environment like this to let traditions become more important than the commands of God.
But if we are going to walk with Christ we must become accustomed to ‘new wine’. We must be prepared for change – and leave behind the things of yesterday to embrace what God is doing today!
Luke 24:45 – Then he opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures.
The Bible is a wonderful gift from God – yet it remains as a ‘locked book’ unless the Spirit of God helps us to understand it. We need the Lord to open our minds and give us insight and wisdom to comprehend the things that He is saying to us through His Word.
The Scriptures were never intended to be a substitute for a living relationship with a living God. This was in essence what Jesus levelled at the Sadducees, when He said “You search the Scriptures , because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me.” The Lord has ‘rigged’ it – so that you need the Spirit of God to understand the Scriptures, and that an understanding of the Scriptures will ultimately lead back to Him anyway!
There’s a huge amount of encouragement in this verse. It means that whenever we find something in the Bible that seems hard to understand or comprehend, we can pray and ask God to ‘open our minds’. He’s always willing!
Luke 9:52-53 – They went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, so as to prepare for him. They didn`t receive him, because he was traveling with his face set towards Jerusalem.
Talk about missing your moment! Jesus had set His face toward to Jerusalem, and sent messengers ahead of him into a village of Samaritans – to get them ready.
But the Samartians rejected Jesus because he was going to Jerusalem. An old rivalry existed between the Jews and the Samaritans – and because of this rivalry, the Samaritans missed their opportunity with God!
How often do we miss opportunities with God because we don’t like the direction He’s going? You mean ‘that person’? No way God, I don’t like them, I won’t have anything to do with them! I have to do ‘that’? I’ve never done that before God, and I’m not about to start now!
Yet when God sends messengers ahead of Him, He’s getting you ready for Him! Whatever it is that we don’t like about where God is going – get over it! It’s just not worth it! Today could be your opportunity! Don’t miss it!
Luke 12:35 – Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning.
No one knows when our King will return, but there are numerous times that He calls us to ‘stay awake’ and ‘be ready’!
This verse shows us how we are to stay awake – with our ‘loins girded’ and our ‘lamps burning’.
In Exodus 12:11, the Passover meal was required to be eaten with ‘loins girded’ – ready for travel, ready for battle. They knew that they were going to be leaving Egypt that night, and so although they ate and drank, they were doing so prepared to leave at any second.
We are also to keep our lamps burning. The lamp speaks of revelation – and was kept burning continually. They would not just burn by themselves, but required daily tending.
The world we live in encourages us to go off to sleep! To eat, drink, rest up and take it easy. But we must fight to stay awake – for there is a great blessing promised to the servant who is ready and waiting for His master when He comes!
Luke 7:39 – Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "This man, if he were a prophet, would have perceived who and what kind of woman this is who touches him, that she is a sinner.”
A Pharisee named Simon had invited Jesus over for dinner – a request which Jesus accepted. While they were eating, a woman – known to all as a sinner – enters the house and begins to anoint and minister to Jesus.
Upon seeing this, Simon thinks to himself ‘doesn’t Jesus know that this woman is a sinner?’. Yet there is more to what is happening here than first meets the eye.
The Pharisee was known to all as ‘Simon the leper’ – meaning obviously that he was at one point stricken with leprosy, and had recovered. Being a leper in Israel meant that you were an outcast – you had to live away from others, and could not touch anyone. It was a degrading and miserable existence. So this Pharisee should have understood the woman’s condition more than anyone. Yet he seemed to have forgotten where he came from.
When we look down our noses at others, and respond with pride, it is because we are forgetting how God overlooked our own sin, and brought us near, when we deserved nothing from his hand. You’re a son of God, adopted by Him and grafted into his family and his inheritance. But never forget who you were and where God lifted you from. It’s this memory that will continue to make you grateful and thankful for all that God has done for you!
Luke 3:10 – The multitudes asked him, “What then must we do?”
The multitudes looked to John for guidance – how to live out a life of repentance. What then must we do? The teaching of John the Baptist was surprisingly simple and practical. He spoke to the multitudes and prepared them for the coming of Christ.
John’s teaching of the multitudes is marked by the following characteristics:
1) There is a strong emphasis on action not just one faith.
2) His teaching surrounds worldly possessions and money – redistributing and dealing correctly with wealth.
3) His teaching was not just to the Jew but also to the Gentile
John’s message spoke:
1) To the multitudes – to the nation of Israel who were expecting their Messiah, who knew the laws of God and tried to live by them.
2) To the tax collectors – those who were on the edge of Israel, who to some degree had sold out to the Romans.
3) To the Romans themselves – Gentiles who knew nothing of the law of God, yet were keen to do His will.
In these days, the spirit of Elijah will move through the church in these last days to do the same thing – calling the church back to holy living, and righteous actions. It’s a simple message but a very, very powerful one, and one that will prepare the bride for her soon-coming bridegroom!
Luke 2:50 – They didn`t understand the saying which he spoke to them.
After having searched for three days in Jerusalem for their missing boy, Mary and Joseph finally found Jesus in the temple, talking with the priests. Why had he done this? Jesus replied ‘Because I had to be in my Father’s house’.
This verse says that Mary and Joseph didn’t understand what Jesus said to them. And they weren’t the first – there are lots of times when the disciples didn’t get what Jesus was going on about it either.
In some ways, it’s really important that when God speaks to us, that we understand what He says. But also, there are times when God will show us or say things to us – and like his parents and disciples, we simply won’t get it! But there will come a time when we will understand His words and realise that He was right all along!!
Be like Mary – treat as treasure all the words of Jesus – keep turning them over and mulling on them. Every single one of them is powerful and precious – and worth more than all the gold in the world – even if you don’t ‘get it’ yet!