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Luke 12:1-12

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

TUESDAY, MAY 21

SCRIPTURE:  Luke 12:1-12

By:  Jeremy Witt

These verses are packed with applications for us today as it was for the original hearers.  I could leave this page blank and you could fill it on your own probably better than what I can do.  It might be a good challenge for you to do for yourself.  Let’s take a look at these together starting in verse 1.

For some reason, this verse jumped out at me today.  The crowds had grown.  That is good that people are hearing about Jesus, but it also presents some challenges too.  Imagine trying to feed that many along with the other things that come with that.  They are hearing the words of Jesus and being taught, but what I see comes in the latter portion of that verse.  They are milling about and stepping on each other.  The Messiah is there, but they are treating each other carelessly.  The two greatest commandments are to love God with all that we have and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  They are not applying His Words to themselves.  Uh-oh, wait!  Do I do that as I read His Words or am I just like they were?  Are you doing that?    Ouch.  I have to be better at applying His Words to my life.  (Sidenote:  Isn’t it amazing how one verse that we have read before can jump out at us as if we have never read it before?)

At the end of verse one, Jesus turns to His disciples while the crowds are walking around, and He speaks to the disciples.  He is speaking about the Pharisees first, but also to them so that they do not act like the Pharisees.  Jesus knows their hearts and motives because He is the Son of God who is both fully man but also fully God.  In verses 2-4, He tells the disciples that the truth will come out and be revealed.  Some of this would come out in their day and the rest will come at the Judgement.  This is true for us as well so let us keep this in mind for ourselves.  Jesus calls the Pharisees hypocrites.  So what is a hypocrite?  Hypocrisy is knowing the truth but not following it.  Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing the opposite.  Hypocrisy is living a self-centered life while calling others to do differently.  It is “do as I say, not as I do.”  Hypocrisy reduces faith to rule-following and becomes legalism.  Hypocrisy can have right behavior without heart change or transformation.  Each one of us has to be careful so that we do not fall into this, and if we are honest with each other, we have probably done this or possibly are doing this, and need to repent and get our hearts back in line with God. 

Verses 4-12 Jesus speaks of opposition, persecution, and more.  Following Christ truly is the most difficult thing we can do.  We will be opposed by man, culture, and the spiritual realms.  Faithful obedience will be costly and suffering/persecution will come despite what many popular preachers say today.  If we will read God’s Word, we can see for ourselves how these folks are VERY WRONG. 

In the midst of this passage is verse 10.  This is the one sin that no one can be forgiven.  It is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.  Many people have questions about what this is and what it means.  Some tribes say that if you kill, you cannot go to heaven.  Some tribes say that if you commit suicide, you cannot go to heaven.  Again, we must go to God’s word.  Ultimately if we blaspheme the Holy Spirit, it means that we agree with Satan and do not believe God, Jesus, or the work of the Holy Spirit.  Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is to deliberately and willingly deny the Holy Spirit and reject Jesus.  Anyone who chooses not to believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah does this.  How does that refer to the Holy Spirit?  It is through the Holy Spirit that God calls us, convict us, and open our hearts to Himself.  God is the One who pursues us, but if we choose to reject Him or the work of the Spirit we are guilty of this sin. 

Jesus concludes this section simply by saying that when you are persecuted, arrested, questioned, the Spirit will give us the words that we need at the moment.

The thing that we need to remember is that we need the LORD every day, all day, and in the midst of every moment.  We need to be aware of this and not to think that we can do it ourselves.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

Luke 11:27-54

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

MONDAY, MAY 20

SCRIPTURE:  Luke 11:27-54

By:  Jeremy Witt

I must apologize for young Josh Boles who forgot to get the devotional for Friday available to you.  As the oldest in my family, I was constantly had to watch over my little sister, and apparently, I must do the same for our little Joshie.  Especially since Brian pointed us towards the devotional in yesterday’s sermon, we may be picking up more of you who utilize this.  Joshie is sorry and won’t let it happen again.  Wink, wink.

We begin today with verse 27 and woman praising Jesus’ mother.  Genealogy was important to the Jews and to many of us today.  Jesus’ response to her in verse 28 was simply to say that obedience to the LORD was even more important.

The section of verses from 29-32 show how similar the culture of Jesus day and today are.  People have always wanted proof or evidence.  It is in our nature.  Maybe this shows us our skepticism or possibly it shows us how sin has caused us not to trust what we hear.  People today was to see with their eyes and then claim that they will believe, but even in Jesus day, many people saw with their own eyes and still did not believe or they held onto their doubts.  Jesus used two references from Scripture (Old Testament) to speak to this unbelief.   Jesus speaks about Jonah, the people of Ninevah (Assyria) and the queen of Sheba (Ethiopia area) who believed in the LORD God with far less evidence and would judge these people (including our generation.)

In verses 33-36 Luke transitions from unbelief to light.  As many of us already know, this light is Jesus, and this light helps illuminate the darkness or doubt and unbelief in this context.  When our eyes are focused on Jesus we can see, but when sin, doubt, unbelief creep in and we cannot see and it affects everything.

This last section of this chapter, Jesus is engaged in conversation with some Pharisees.  For a point of note, Jesus went to homes of all people, from tax collectors to the Pharisees.  Jesus came and died for all and gave all opportunities, but as Luke points out, it was not the Pharisees who responded in faith to Jesus, but it was sinners and Gentiles who did.  Most of those who were religious were caught up in their own ways and expectations and missed out completely on the Messiah.

Notice in verse 39 that Jesus called out the Pharisees for not fulfilling their own roles by not washing Jesus’ feet.  He then proceeds to the Law where they focus on the tithe but not showing love to people (verse 42).  Jesus then moves to what the Pharisees loved, the praise and honor of men.  Going to go to some application for us here so be prepared.  It is so much easier for us to focus on how others perceive us rather than how God perceives us.  It is so easy for us to seek the praise from other people than waiting for the ultimate prize of receiving praise from the LORD when we want to hear, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”  We have to be careful not to fall into the trap of the being people pleasers!

In verses 46-54, Jesus continues to press them on their hypocrisy.  The heart of the matter, in my opinion, is something we must be focused on not doing today.  Notice verse 46 and 52.  We must not make it hard for people to follow Jesus.  It is not about the rules, it is about the relationship. 

As I look back at my life, I have seen myself and others do this very thing on the basis of religion and my denomination.  Ultimately, the Word of God is what we adhere to with the heart of the matter being that we need to lead others into a relationship with Jesus.  If I focus on the Law and not the intended purpose of the Law to help people become right with God, I become just like the Pharisees. 

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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