There’s a commercial that came to mind when I was reading this passage. I forget what the product is that they’re advertising, but the tag line goes, “I want it all, I want it now.” Isn’t that today’s attitude? Instant gratification. And we want EVERYTHING! Part of the American Dream is “the Pursuit of Happiness”. What is happiness? I’ll have the answer at the end. Suffice it to say, that happiness can never be found in this world.
This next chapter in the Gospel of Luke covers, persistent praying, humility, gratitude, justification and not to over think salvation. Jesus tells more stories (parables)… Let’s dig in….
Parable of the Persistent Widow
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. 3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ 4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”
3 Points Here
- If your prayers are for what is good, then never give up. Keep praying! Remember, God lifts you up in His time (1 Peter 5:6-7).
- God is just. God knows the truth. The truth wins in the end.
- Jesus is coming back soon. Will He consider you as a faithful, born again believer?
Parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
I lost count of how many times Jesus says the line, “those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” It can’t be any plainer! “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5) In other words, He’ll knock off the pedestal anyone who is prideful, boastful, who thinks they’re “good” or great” — “holier than thou”. And He’ll exalt — praise, honor, acclaim, hold in high esteem — the humble. Humble yourself first, don’t wait for God to humble you Himself — that won’t be pretty.
Like a Child
15 One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.
16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
What does this mean? Simply, don’t over think salvation! Kids are innocent. They haven’t been corrupted by the world. You tell them the truth and they believe it. What happens to adults is that we think we know it all. And we don’t. That’s PRIDE. It’s pride that’s blocking you from knowing God and accepting the salvation that only comes through Jesus.
The Rich Man
18 Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. 20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’”
21 The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.
24 When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
26 Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?”
27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
28 Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.”
29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30 will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”
Points to Ponder
- Riches possessed the man rather than him possessing the riches of the Kingdom of God.
- You can’t serve both God and Money. You just can’t.
- Give up your life to follow Jesus. Your wealth cannot buy you into heaven.
Jesus Again Predicts His Death
31 Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus said, “Listen, we’re going up to Jerusalem, where all the predictions of the prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true. 32 He will be handed over to the Romans, and he will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon. 33 They will flog him with a whip and kill him, but on the third day he will rise again.”
34 But they didn’t understand any of this. The significance of his words was hidden from them, and they failed to grasp what he was talking about.
Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar
35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. 36 When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. 38 So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
39 “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him.
But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
40 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord,” he said, “I want to see!”
42 And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” 43 Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.Luke 18 NLT
Verse 34 is interesting. The 12 couldn’t understand what Jesus was telling them about his impending death. That happens to us, sometimes, when we read the Bible or hear a sermon message. That’s why you need to STUDY the Bible. You must read it every day, over and over again.
Every time you read the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His truth to you. Ask Him to open your eyes, mind and heart to understand what God is trying to tell you. Each time you read a passage, you’ll see or comprehend something different. These little epiphanies — or ah-ha moments — are what make the Word of God so exiting.
What is Happiness?
I heard this quote in the most unlikely place, but it is so true…
What’s happiness, but the moment before you want more happiness.Don Draper in “Mad Men”
(In case you’re wondering, I’m streaming through the whole “Mad Men” series to learn about the advertising business and to get a grasp on how our culture got so messed up. I fast forward through a lot of scenes.)
When Will You Be Happy?
When you own the boat? Then you’re going to want the plane? Then your own island. I had a friend who had a very successful business, and a plane. Then something happened and he lost it all. He committed suicide. Right now, the suicide rate is increasing all over the world. Businesses are failing and we’re facing the unknown.
One thing is for certain, God is still
in control and Jesus is still King.
Furthermore, we born-again believers have the confident hope in our eternal life. All humans will live forever even after we die. It’s up to you to decide where you want that eternity to be — heaven or hell. And, don’t confuse happiness with joy.
Giving your life to God doesn’t mean that you’ll lose all your wealth. You’ll just look at life and riches differently. If you truly want to save your life — salvation — then you must give it all up — repent and surrender it all to Jesus.
It’s Your Choice
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…