Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Luke 13 - Teaching the Inner Circle Continued

LINK: Luke 13

BACKGROUND

145. Jesus calls the people to repent: Luke 13:1-9

Jesus answered their political question with a question and some stories. Jesus' point here is that whether one is killed or not is no indication of a person's righteous standing before God. It is by God's grace that we live because we are all sinners and deserve death. None of us get out of here alive. Therefore, we need to repent and fall on His grace and mercy.

The parable of the fig trees illustrates that if fruit does not come, judgment will eventually come. In the Old Testament, a fruitful tree often symbolized Godly living (Psalm 1, Jeremiah 17:7,8). Fruit must be present in a person's life. If there is no change, the person is judged. 

Leviticus 19:23-25 states that fruit was not eaten from a newly planted tree for three years and the fourth year's fruit was dedicated to the Lord. Therefore, there would be no harvest for five years, and this man had already waited seven. It was time for fruit! But Jesus does not tell us the ending to the story. Perhaps He was counting on the choice of His listeners for that determination.

146. Jesus heals the crippled woman: Luke 13:10-17

This is the last time that Jesus taught in a synagogue in the gospel of Luke. The key word in this narrative is "hypocrites." The leaders would care for their animals on the Sabbath but not a crippled woman bound by Satan. Jesus humiliated them, but the people were delighted! 

147. Jesus teaches about the Kingdom of God: Luke 13:18-21 

Matthew 13:31-33 and Mark 4:30-32 contain similar teachings to this given at another time and place.

Mustard seeds are not the smallest seeds in the world, but they were probably the smallest that the Jews would have sown at that time. From a small seed, the mustard plant grows to 12-15 feet! Believers in the kingdom would be small in the beginning but grow rapidly. Jesus began with 12 well-trained (but imperfect) disciples and later there were 500 believers (1 Corinthians 15:6). Then there were 3,000 at Pentecost (Acts 2).  Read Acts to read about spontaneous growth! Read Revelation 5:9 for where it is going!

Leaven is small and hidden, but it grows spontaneously also. In a recent post, you will recall that the "leaven of the Pharisees" was evil. Here it is a positive thing! (Some commentators disagree on this, but I disagree with them!)


153. Jesus teaches about entering the Kingdom: Luke 13:22-30

The events from Luke 13:22 - 17:10 took place in Perea as Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. Jesus turned the theological question of how many would be saved into something personal. The issue is not how many will be saved but if YOU will be saved! 

Salvation and entrance into the God's kingdom is through a very narrow gate. We sometimes have to walk away from a wider path that does not lead toward Him. We need to trust Him with all our hearts and without delay to enter the kingdom. 

154. Jesus grieves over Jerusalem: Luke 13:31-35

Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. The Pharisees here are not protecting Him but trying to keep Him from accomplishing His goal of going to Jerusalem, but He knew He must because Jerusalem was the center of the nation, the city of God. Jerusalem had always rejected prophets (1 Kings 19:10; 2 Chronicles 24:19; Jeremiah 2:30; 26:20-23) and would reject Him. 

For this He mourned over it and left it "abandoned." He quoted Psalm 118:26. They quoted it at the entry into Jerusalem, but this was not approved by the religious leaders. Many believe He is referring to His Second Coming when He will be recognized and received as the Messiah.  


REFLECTION
God is seeking fruit. He will accept no substitutes, and the time to repent is NOW. The next time you hear about a tragedy that claims many lives, ask yourself, “Am I just taking up space, or am I bearing fruit to God’s glory?” 
(The Bible Exposition Commentary, Lk 13:1)

APPLICATION

.Are you just taking up space, or are you bearing fruit for God's glory?"

Here is the result of a word study on "fruit." Pay particular attention to the five kinds of fruit at the end and evaluate your life using the list:
KARPOS (καρπός , (2590)), fruit, is used . . . (II) metaphorically, (a) of works or deeds, fruit being the visible expression of power working inwardly and invisibly, the character of the fruit being evidence of the character of the power producing it, Matt. 7:16. As the visible expressions of hidden lusts are the works of the flesh, so the invisible power of the Holy Spirit in those who are brought into living union with Christ (John 15:2-8, 16) produces “the fruit of the Spirit,” Gal. 5:22, the singular form suggesting the unity of the character of the Lord as reproduced in them, namely, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance,” all in contrast with the confused and often mutually antagonistic “works of the flesh.” So in Phil. 1:11 . . . “fruit of righteousness.” In Heb. 12:11, the fruit of righteousness is described as “peaceable fruit,” the outward effect of Divine chastening; “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace,” Jas. 3:18, i.e., the seed contains the fruit; those who make peace, produce a harvest of righteousness; in Eph. 5:9, “the fruit of the light”. . . is seen in “goodness and righteousness and truth,” as the expression of the union of the Christian with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit); for God is good, Mark 10:18, the Son is “the righteous One,” Acts 7:52, the Spirit is “the Spirit of truth,” John 16:13;  (b) of advantage, profit, consisting (1) of converts as the result of evangelistic ministry, John 4:36; Rom. 1:13; Phil. 1:22; (2) of sanctification, through deliverance from a life of sin and through service to God, Rom. 6:22, in contrast to (3) the absence of anything regarded as advantageous as the result of former sins, ver. 21; (4) of the reward for ministration to servants of God, Phil. 4:17; (5) of the effect of making confession to God’s Name by the sacrifice of praise, Heb. 13:15. 

(Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament words, 2:133-134)

Try your own word study:


PRAYER

Lord, draw us to You, a God of mercy and grace. Thank You for Your awesome forgiveness and for the blood of Jesus that makes us righteous. Search our hearts and help us to repent of any hurtful way in us. Lead us to bear fruit for Your glory. In Jesus' name we pray, claiming His righteousness. Amen. 

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