Posts Tagged ‘Resurrection’

Luke 17:11-19 Ten Lepers Healed

October 7, 2009

Only one returned.

Only one returned.

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers

11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, [1] who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice;16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” [2]

  • Which is more surprising: the fact that one person came back and gave God the glory?  Or the fact that nine didn’t?
  • Of course the one who does come back is a Samaritan, a foreigner.  Once again, a Samaritan puts to shame his Jewish counterparts.
  • Why didn’t the other nine return?  They could have many excuses, but the fact is they just were not grateful.  After a lesson in humility comes a lesson in gratitude.
  • “It is not only the nine ex-lepers who are shown up.  It is all of us who fail to thank God ‘always and for everything’ as Paul puts it (Ephesians 5:20).” N.T. Wright
  • Make a list of all the things you are grateful for and thank God for them one by one.
  • The word Jesus uses when he says “get up” in verse 19 refers to resurrection.  This man was dead and is alive again.  Just like the prodigal son.
  • Faith and healing go hand in hand.  Not just any faith but faith in Jesus as the Son of God.  With faith also comes gratitude.
  • Am I returning to give God the glory for the ways he has healed my life?  Am I grateful?  Do I have faith in the work of God through Jesus?  How easy it is to walk through life completely blessed by God while forgetting to give Him the glory.  How has God healed/blessed you recently?  Have you stopped to praise him and thank him?  Do it now.
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Luke 16:19-31 The Parable of the Richman and Lazarus

September 23, 2009

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. [1] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers [2]—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

  • “We all know Lazarus.  He is our neighbor.  Some of us may be rich, well dressed and well fed, and walk past him without even noticing; others of us may not be so rich, or so finely clothed and fed, but compared with Lazarus we’re well off.  Hew would be glad to change places with us, and we would be horrified to share his life, even for a day.” N.T. Wright
  • A story of how wealth and poverty is reversed in the future life.  These types of stories were quite common in Jesus’ day.  However, Jesus’ story is different.  Most stories would allow for a message to be sent back to those people still alive on earth, but in Jesus’ story no such message is allowed.
  • This is a parable and not just a moral tale about wealth and poverty.  Some might argue that it is better for the poor to stay poor, since they will be rich in heaven.  That isn’t the point of the parable.
  • The key to the parable is in the last verse, “Neither will they be convinced, even if someone were to rise from the dead.”  Compare this to the parable of the prodigal son when the father says, “This brother was dead and is alive again.”  The older son was not convinced.  The older son is like the rich man in this passage.  They both don’t want to deal with the poor and ragged brother or neighbor.  But Jesus did want to deal with them.  He wanted to deal with them now.  Jesus was incorporating what was done in heaven in to his ministry on earth.  He was accepting the Lazarus’ and the prodigal  sons.
  • The Pharisees were behaving like the rich man.  They weren’t accepting the people Jesus was reaching out to.  Jesus was warning them to change their tune or else they will be sorry.
  • Not even someone rising from the dead will help them if they refuse to see how God is fulfilling the law and the prophets through Jesus.  This story points to Jesus himself and his death and resurrection.  Jesus did die  and did rise from the dead.
  • Am I like the rich man?  Am I walking past people and ignoring their needs both physically and spiritually?  Am I accepting/inviting all people into God’s kingdom?

Luke 15:25-32 The Parable of the Prodigal: The Father and the Older Son

September 9, 2009
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Pompeo Batoni

"The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Pompeo Batoni

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

  • Sometimes we can miss the beauty in life because we are so focused on the ugly.  That was the problem with the older son.
  • The story of the older son was Jesus’ response to his critics.  They were so focused on the wickedness of the tax collectors and sinners and the fact that Jesus would eat and associate with them, that they could not see the light of God’s love shining through all of it.
  • The older son fails to refer to the younger son as his brother.  When talking to his father, he refers to the younger son as “this son of yours.”  But the father reminds him that the younger son is indeed his brother by replying, “this brother of yours.”
  • The older brother complains, “I’ve been slaving for you.”  When in fact, him and his father were working partners since the father had already divided up the inheritance.  The older son was really being greedy and selfish because he knew that since the younger brother’s share of the inheritance was already wasted, anything that was spent on his brother now would have to come out of his inheritance.
  • Next the older son boasts, “I’ve never disobeyed a single command of yours.”  “This was the Pharisees boast (compare Philippians 3:6); but the moral superiority which it appears to give melts like snow before the sunshine of God’s love.  Where resurrection is occurring – where new life is bursting out all around – it is only appropriate, it is necessary to celebrate (verse 32).  Not to do so, is to fail to meet generosity with gratitude.  It is to pretend that God has not after all been at work.  It is to look only at the garbage and refuse to smell the flowers.” N.T. Wright
  • The older son was selfish.  He was only focused on himself.  He shows no respect for his father when he lectures him in front of his guests.   And then he refuses his father’s plea to join the party.  Again, as with the younger son, the father is generous and gracious with his older son.  The point is that Jesus was trying to reason with the Pharisees and scribes telling them that yes God’s generosity was reaching the tax collectors and sinners but that didn’t mean there wasn’t any left for them.
  • “If they insist on staying out of the party because it isn’t the sort of thing they like, thats up to them; but it won’t be because God doesn’t love them as well.” N.T. Wright
  • This passage points forward to the eventual challenge that the early church would face when trying to integrate both Jewish and Gentile Christians.
  • How does this story end?  Does the older son join the party and reconcile with his younger brother?  Does the younger son remain faithful to his father?  Jesus doesn’t answer these questions.  He leaves it to us to think it through and see where we fit in the story.  Am I the younger son?  Am I the older son?  Am I the father?  I used to be the younger son, that is for sure.  However, have I slowly become the older son over time?  Am I celebrating with the father?  It is time to celebrate and welcome all into the kingdom of God.  There is no room for greed, selfishness, self-righteousness, or prejudice in this party.  Leave those things at the door and come on in.

Luke 15:11-24 The Parable of the Prodigal: The Father and the Younger Son

September 7, 2009
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt

"The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Rembrandt

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to [1] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ [2] 22 But the father said to his servants, [3]‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

  • The main point:  The wonderful love and forgiving grace of God, ready to welcome back sinners at the first sign of repentance.
  • That is the obvious point.  However, there is deeper meaning to this parable.
  • The younger son brought shame and disgrace to the father.  To ask for his inheritance before his father was dead was like saying, “Dad, I wish you were dead.”  Then to sell the his share of the land to some stranger for money was shameful.  Possession of land was extremely important to Jewish families in Jesus’ time.  To just go and sell it for money was unheard of.  Imagine the pain and shame the Father felt.  But he allows this to happen without argument.  He just hands over the son’s portion of the inheritance without question.  No father in Jesus’ day would allow that to happen.
  • And to add insult to injury, the younger son leaves home for the big city abandoning his family.  In our culture it is quite common for children to leave home in the country to make their way in the big city, however in Jesus’ culture sons didn’t leave their families.  This would be viewed as even more shameful.  Again, the Father lets the son go without question.
  • Finally, with all his money wasted the younger son lands a job feeding pigs.  Jewish people and pigs don’t mix.  This would not be viewed as an honorable profession.  To the Jewish son this would be the lowest of all possible lows.
  • But how remarkable is the Father?  Or should we say the Running Father?  He was the father, the head of the family, a distinguished elder in his community.  But he sees his son and runs to greet him.  Jewish elders did not run for anyone.  To run would be considered undignified, an act that was beneath his position in life.  But this Father runs as soon as he says his son far away in the distance and doesn’t stop until he reaches him.
  • “His lavish welcome is of course the point of the story: Jesus is explaining why there is a party, why it’s something to celebrate when people turn from going their own way and begin to go God’s way…..the father’s closing line says it all. ‘This my son was dead and is alive.  He was lost and now is found.’  How could this not be a cause of celebration?” N. T. Wright
  • There is another dimension of this story that exists.  Consider the exodus from Egypt and then the subsequent exile into Babylon many years later.  Although many of the exiles returned, most of Jesus’ contemporaries believed they were still living in virtual exile under pagan rule.  They were all waiting for a new exodus, to be liberated from the pagan powers.  The story of the prodigal son would be seen by many as a reference to the hope of Israel.  The concept of resurrection was used commonly to refer to the true return from exile.  This point would be nailed home when the Father says, “This son was dead and is alive.”
  • Jesus was declaring that the new exodus was happening at that very moment.  When people repent and turn to God they are returning from exile.  God was fulfilling his promise to Israel but not in a way that was expected by the religious leaders.  Wasn’t that a good reason to throw a party?  Jesus thought it was.
  • So back to the main point of this parable, God’s costly love.  There is probably no better illustration in all the Bible of what God’s love is like (aside from the Cross).  It is now up to me to imitate and share this love with all those lost sons in the world.  Will I imitate the father or will I act like the older son?  We will deal with that question in the next post.

Luke 7:11-17 Raising of the Widow’s Son

February 27, 2009

Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son

11 Soon afterward [1] he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus [2]gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

  • Where was the faith this time?  The centurion’s servant was healed because of the centurion’s faith.  But where is the faith in this story?
  • Jesus loves to see signs of faith but is not bound by it.  In this case he acts out of sheer compassion.
  • Imagine being there when this happened.  The death of a son.  What a tragedy.  And someone from your town, a widow who’s husband had passed not too long ago.  Your heart goes out to her as you join the funeral procession and mourn with her.  The body was prepared and wrapped in the burial clothes.   The procession was on its way to the burial site when all of a sudden a stranger comes and stops them.  He says something to the woman and reaches out and touches the bier.  What is he doing?  Doesn’t he know that he will now be unclean according to the Jewish law?  And then he tells the lad to get up, and he does.  
  • Imagine the shock you feel, the awe, the fear, the joy, the disbelief.  Could this possibly have happened?  Am I hallucinating? No, I’m not this is real.  The people were probably reminded of the Elisha and Elijah (1Kings 17 and 2Kings 4).  N. T. Wright says, ” ‘God has visited his people’, they say: not in the sense of paying them a social visit, but in the old biblical sense, where this phrase was used to refer to God ‘visiting’ Israel at the time of the Exodus and other great events.  It means, ‘God has come near to us , to save and rescue us’.  It means, ‘This is the time we’ve been waiting for.’ “
  • No matter what I go through, like this widow, I need Jesus to find me, stop me, and heal me.  I need his presence.  When Jesus is around, even a funeral procession, is turned into joy.
  • These two stories, the centurion and the widow’s son, show what happens when the sermons in chapter 6 are lived out.  God’s love and his generosity are being brought to his people.  These stories also prepare us for the central question, ‘ who does Jesus think he is?’

Communion Message: Luke 24:13-35 On the Road to Emmaus

February 24, 2009

This past Sunday, my wife and I had the privilege of sharing the communion message at our worship service.  Here is a transcript of my sharing:

Good morning.  Please turn in your bibles to Luke chapter 24.  My name is Rob and this is my wife Tiffany and we are pleased this morning to be able share this communion with you.  We will begin reading in verse 13. 

Read Luke 24:13-35 

OK here we have two disciples, perhaps a married couple, who are returning to their homes on the third day following the crucifixion.  As they are walking down the road they are talking to each other about what has happened.  And as they are talking, Jesus approaches them and asks them what they are talking about.  Not recognizing who Jesus was they tell him their story.  And what an emotional story they tell.  Jesus of Nazareth, the one they had put all their hope in.  The one they believed would redeem Israel from the Roman oppression had just been killed by the very ones he was supposed to deliver them from.  And now three days later some were claiming his body was gone.  Because of this, these two, were sad and discouraged.  Their hope was gone.  Things didn’t happen the way that they had expected them too. 

Jesus responds to their story by rebuking them and then he begins to study the scriptures with them, explaining to them what really had just happened and why.  I don’t know about you but I would pay a lot of money to have the notes from that bible study.  Can you imagine sitting in on a bible study that was led by Jesus.  That would be amazing.  But Jesus studies with them because they did not understand.  They had put their hope in their expectations and were now discouraged and blinded from Jesus.  

I am a lot like these two disciples.  I have my own expectations of how things should play out in my life.  And a lot of the time things don’t go the way I expect.  And when that happens, I can easily become discouraged.  We all go though suffering, whether it is our health, death of a loved one, people we love leaving God, people rejecting us, or what ever.  I have experienced all these things.  And what these things do is they cause me to walk around sad, to be negative, and to be self piteous.  And when that happens, my eyes fail to recognize Jesus in my life.  This is when I need to seriously study my bible.  I need Jesus to study with me so I pray earnestly for his presence so that he can teach me and help me to understand.  I need to feel my heart burn within me. 

It’s no coincidence that their eyes were opened as Jesus was breaking bread.  This act of breaking bread would soon become the central symbolic action of Jesus’ people.  And to this day, each week we are invited to know Jesus in the breaking of the bread.  And when their eyes were opened, what they saw was the resurrected Jesus.  They saw their hope restored.  The light bulb clicked inside of their heads and all that Jesus taught them suddenly made sense.  They finally understood.  They were like, “Oh yeah, that’s why I was feeling that burning in my heart.  It wasn’t indigestion after all.”  And once they understood they immediately got up and went back to Jerusalem to share their good news.  This morning we will break bread together.  What will your eyes see?  Will they see Jesus, the risen Lord, the King of Kings, the author and perfecter of your faith?  Or will they only see your problems, your sufferings, yourself?  At this time Tiffany is going to share.

 Tiffany Shares.

This morning as you take communion open your eyes.  Jesus is there.  Your hope is there.  Let your hearts burn within you.  Let us pray.