Calling the Righteous? – Luke 4-5

The most important part of Luke chapter 4 is the temptations of Jesus. In each case, it is the word of God which He uses to combat the temptations. And that is the point for us. WE can turn to God’s word for the answers to our own temptations; and as Paul tells the Corinthians:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

In chapter 5, there is so much going on; and we have covered most of it in previous posts that you can find by the search function. But one point sticks out for this writer at the time of this particular reading. In verses 29-32, there is an encounter with the Pharisees over the fact that Jesus eats (thereby associating with) sinners. Jesus tells them “those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Those people are the very types of people who Jesus always went to, and for the reason He gave. That brings up an important point. Where do we draw the line ourselves? On the one hand, we should not be going to bars with people who are getting drunk. And there are certainly parties that Christians should not attend, in order to avoid temptation — not to mention the “appearance of evil.” But how much do we as Christians “shut out” those who are “of the world?” Perhaps too much sometimes.

We must remember that we are “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9). We must not be “of the world,” but we must be “in the world” in order to fulfill that duty. We are not called to help save fellow Christians who have not gone astray. Therefore, we should not limit our associations with others too narrowly. We are not part of an exclusive club with “cliques.” We are part of a kingdom into which God wants us to help bring others.

 /Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Luke 2, Luke 3, Luke 4, Luke 5, Luke 6

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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

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Mustard Seed Faith – (Luke 17)

English: Mustard seeds by David Turner Februar...

English: Mustard seeds by David Turner February 23, 2005 Edited by Consequencefree to replace the coin with an SI measurement reference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the opening verses of chapter 17, Jesus acknowledges that temptations are a part of life. But He warns about those who tempt others to sin. He repeats the thought of verse two in Matthew 18:6 and also in Mark 9:42. Particularly in Matthew, He seems to be talking about those who would cause children to stumble; and certainly the application is valid there as well. But He is, more to the point, speaking about those who are innocent – those who are trying to do what is right, as well as what we would call people who are babes in Christ. A horrible physical death as He describes here would be better than the eternal punishment that is for those who corrupt them .

The statement in verse 6 that Jesus makes about faith is a hyperbole. Jesus is not suggesting that we should expect to perform miraculous deeds because of our faith. Faith has great power indeed – if it is used according to God’s will. The trouble is usually with the strength of our faith. Peter was able to walk on water for a while, as Jesus willed him to. But when the storm surged against him, his faith faltered. And so it usually goes with all of us.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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The Tempting of Jesus

As Luke chapter four opens, Jesus is just returning from the Jordan River and His baptism, filled with the Holy Spirit. And it was the Spirit, Luke tells us, that led Him into the wilderness for 40 days, where He was tempted by the devil. The 40 days reminds us of the 40 days that Moses went without food in Exodus 34:28, as well as the 40 years that the Israelites spent wandering in the desert before entering the Promised Land (Numbers 14:34). The parallel with this latter seems significant. God provided manna for them daily, teaching them dependence on Him. The Spirit, it would seem, was leading Jesus to depend on faith that God would provide for Him. It was this faith that the devil was determined to derail.

There are those who have expressed the opinion that Jesus could not truly have sinned, since He was the Son of God. This opinion refers to what is called peccability,” from the Latin verb “peccare” – meaning to sin. If He had not been able to sin, there would have been no real temptation. But we know this to be false, as the Hebrew writer tells us in Hebrews 4:14-16.

The Temptation of Christ (detail)

The Temptation of Christ (detail) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

John the baptist had indeed prepared the way for Him, and God knew that Jesus needed these tests. This was a great opportunity for Satan because he knew that Jesus’ ministry was about to begin. His hunger and weakness was very real after 40 days in the wilderness. The temptation to deviate from the Spirit’s direction and satisfy His own hunger would be great. Then Satan showed Jesus a large portion of what must have been the Roman Empire (the “kingdoms of the world” in verse 5) that could be under his authority if he would simply bow down to him. The last temptation would have made Jesus famous throughout the land, and nobody would have been able to doubt His greatness after throwing Himself down from the Temple. And after all, would God really allow harm to come to Him?

One of the lessons we can learn from these temptations that Jesus was able to overcome can be seen by looking at how Jesus answered the devil. In each case, he used the Scriptures to answer (Deuteronomy 8:3, Deuteronomy 6:13, and Deuteronomy 6:16). Jesus showed us that our best defense against temptations is a thorough knowledge of God’s word. By reading and studying the Bible, we come closer to God, and His word gives us the answers – the knowledge and understanding to get through the trials of this world.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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Matthew 4 – Jesus Begins His Ministry

In verse 1, Jesus is led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  God never tempts anyone to do wrong (James 1:13), but He has sometimes used situations to test someone’s faithfulness and character (see  Hebrews 11:17).  This testing had a purpose from the devil’s perspective (to derail God’s plan for the redemption of man, by preventing Jesus from being without sin).  The purpose from the perspective of God’s plan was that by having suffered from temptation himself (Hebrews 2:18), he understands how temptation affects us, and He is strengthened as our savior.  It also reinforces for us the value of knowing God’s word.

English: View of the Kidron Valley from the Ol...

English: View of the Kidron Valley from the Old City of Jerusalem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hungry from fasting forty days, which compares to the 40 years of the testing of the people of Israel in the wilderness, the ability to use His power to feed himself in verse 3 would be a substantial temptation.  Jesus quotes the latter part of Deuteronomy 8:3 in verse 4 as an answer to the devil.  The devil’s quotation of Psalm 91:11-13 in the second  temptation of verses 5-6 is a deliberate misuse of the scripture – God does not encourage people to place themselves in needless danger.   The pinnacle of the Temple would likely be the southeast corner – some 300 feet above the Kidron Valley.  Such a feat would have been a great shortcut to achieve fame and attract people to Him, but would subvert God’s plan.  Jesus then answers in verse 7 by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:16.   The last temptation in verse 8 offers yet another opportunity to reign as king by nothing short of the worst kind of idolatry and betrayal of God; and is answered by a quote from Deuteronomy 6:13.

Then, returning to Galilee to avoid the area where John the Baptist was arrested (verse 12), in verses 13-16, he fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 9:1-2.  Reinforcing John the Baptist’s message, Jesus preaches for the people to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  This simply refers to the kingdom as a new period of the reign of God in people’s hearts and in their lives, shortly to come.  The calling of His disciples in verses 18-22 at first reading makes one think that these men dropped everything all of a sudden to follow a complete stranger.  But John 1:35-42 demonstrates a prior relationship.  Now He was calling them to be apostles.   Verses 23-25 detail the great following that He was accumulating, and the wonders such as healing the sick that He began doing.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.