Posts Tagged ‘Warnings’

Luke 17:20-37 The Coming of the Kingdom

October 11, 2009
Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now

The Coming of the Kingdom

20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” [1]

22 And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them.24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. [2] 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife.33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” [3] 37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse [4] is, there the vultures [5] will gather.”

  • Apocalypse now!!!  Jesus brings up images of apocalypse when he refers to Noah and the Flood and Lott and Sodom.  Why does Jesus recall these images?
  • Look at verse 34, “one will be taken, the other left behind.”  Recent best selling books would have us believe that this means that one will be taken up to heaven leaving the other behind to live in a frightening world where all Christians have been removed.  This is not what Jesus meant.  He meant the exact opposite.  The one who is taken is the one who is in danger not the one left behind.
  • It is possible that Jesus is warning the Pharisees (as he has done throughout Luke thus far) of the coming invasion of Jerusalem by Roman forces.  He is not necessarily referring to a far off supernatural event at the end of times but may actually be referring to the near future.  When the Romans come it will be both sudden and catastrophic.
  • What does it mean when Jesus refers to “the days of the son of man” in verse 22?  This could be a reference to Daniel 7 where the “one like the son of man” will be vindicated by God after suffering.  The sign of this will be the destruction of the oppressor.  This is the “fourth beast” in Daniel.  What force has most oppressed Jesus and his ministry?  The leaders of Israel, the Pharisees, and the scribes.  Vindication will come when Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed by Roman forces.  The disciples and the Pharisees would be quite familiar with this prophecy in Daniel.
  • The key to the passage is in verse 21, “God’s Kingdom is within your grasp.”  Israel and the Pharisees could avoid destruction.  The Kingdom of God was there for them to take hold of.  They just had to do something about it.  “It is ‘within your grasp’; it is confronting you with a decision, the decision to believe, trust, and follow Jesus.  It isn’t the sort of thing that’s just going to happen, so that you can sit back and watch.  God’s sovereign plan to put the world to rights is waiting for you to sign on.  That is the force of what Jesus is saying.” N.T. Wright
  • In Ad 70, Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Romans.  However, the promise of God’s Kingdom still remains.  It is within your grasp.  Will you reach out and take hold of it or will you watch it pass by?  Life is short, if you wait to long it may be too late.

Luke 12:49-59 Reading the Sign of the Times

June 13, 2009
A storm is coming.

A storm is coming.

Not Peace, but Division

49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Interpreting the Time

54 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens.56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Settle with Your Accuser

57 “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.” [1]

  • Wright talks about how Beethoven would shock his audiences by slamming his forearm down on the keyboard at the very end of a soft, beautiful piece.  Just as people were being lulled into a serene state of peacefulness he would give them a sudden jolt of noise.  Wright says that is what Jesus is doing here in this chapter.
  • There is a crisis coming.  And Jesus is now turning what we thought of the Gospel upside down.  Peace?  No, division.  The Gospel message will divide.  Not everyone will accept it.  Compare this to Micah 7:6.  The only way out of the crisis is complete trust in God.
  • Jesus sees the crisis coming.  He knows the cross will be a central part of it.  He can not believe that no one else sees it as well.  None of his contemporaries get it.  They can forecast the weather but they can not recognize what was happening all around them.
  • That is why Jesus warns them in verse 57-58.  They needed to settle accounts and thus avoid the coming  crisis.  Their rebellion against God and their eagerness to revolt against Rome would put them in front of the magistrate.  And the judgement would be complete ruin.  This is exactly what would happen in AD 70.
  • What does this mean for us now?  “If the Kingdom of God is to come on earth as it is in heaven, part of the prophetic role of the church is to understand the events of earth and to seek to address them with the message of heaven.  And if, like Jesus, we find that we seem to be bringing division and that we ourselves become caught up in the crisis, so be it.  What else would we expect?” N.T. Wright

Luke 11:42-54 Woes Against the Pharisees

June 3, 2009

42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”

45 One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48 So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. 52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

53 As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, 54 lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.

  • Who are the Pharisees of our day?  Two points about the pharisees: 1.  The set of rules they adhered to were designed to make people keep the Jewish law (Torah) as best they could, so that Israel would be holy and thus God would bring in the Kingdom.  2.  They were a pressure group.  Similar to Green Peace or PETA.  Their rules and teachings had political motivations and they would push those rules on people to follow.
  • Jesus knew what the pharisees were about and he knew that the people of Israel had a choice to make.  “It wasn’t a matter of petty rules or of a pure, uncluttered religion of love and grace.  It was a matter of an agenda which focused on the law as the charter of Israel’s national life, on the one hand, and an agenda which demanded repentance, turning away from Israel’s headlong flight into national rebellion, politically against Rome and theologically against God.  There could be no compromise.” N.T. Wright
  • Jesus could see where the teachings and attitudes of the pharisees would lead.  That is why he pronounces this list of woes.  He knew the hurt and destruction it would cause.
  • “Scribes” or “Lawyers” in the first century were trained in writing legal documents.  They, like the pharisees, believed the law of Israel should be applied to every area of life.  They were like a combo religious teacher and legal attorney.  Jesus’ teaching cut to the core of their entire belief system.  It is no wonder why they opposed Jesus so fiercely.  This opposition would carry on all the way to Jerusalem.
  • Wright ends this section with this excellent question, “Where does the Gospel of Jesus confront, not just alternative religious or would be Christian views today, but the strongly held agendas out in the wider world?” N.T. Wright