Luke 4:16-21

Luke 4:16-21, 28

And he went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. And he entered into the synagogue, according to his custom, on the Sabbath day. And he rose up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. And as he unrolled the book, he found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because of this, he has anointed me. He has sent me to evangelize the poor, to heal the contrite of heart, to preach forgiveness to captives and sight to the blind, to release the broken into forgiveness, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of retribution.” And when he had rolled up the book, he returned it to the minister, and he sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “On this day, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

And all those in the synagogue, upon hearing these things, were filled with anger.


First a little history. The practice in the synagogues was to have seven readers every sabbath, the first a priest, the second a Levite, and the other five Israelites of that synagogue. Jesus was raised in, and a member of, that very synagogue. As a member, he may have often been one of the readers for the day. However this day was special. This was the day that he announced to family, friends, and neighbors his God given ministry.

Family and friends may be the hardest to whom you ever minister. Those who’ve known you longest know all your failures, the foolish things, and perhaps the sinful ways of your past. But they are the ones whom you most want to seer saved.

The Elaborate Trap

Luke 20:27-38
Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, “Teacher,  Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.”

Jesus said to them, “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.

The Elaborate Trap

I can just imagine this group of Sadducees sitting around the table discussing Jesus. They didn’t believe in life after death and Jesus kept preaching about a great day in which the dead would rise in glory. 

They had heard and witnessed how the Pharisees had tried to trick Jesus into saying something for which they could condemn him. 

The Sadducees knew that, since the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, they would never have considered a scheme using life after death as the bait in the trap. I can imagine the first one to think of it laying it out for his friends approval. “We will use the words of Moses against Jesus. Moses said that, if a man dies, before having children, his brother must marry the widow and give her children. Let’s ask Jesus who’s wife she’d be in this resurrection that he keeps talking about.” Then the second Saduce would have said, “Great idea. But let’s say that that brother died and a third brother married her.” 

Then I imagine another Sadducee giggling and saying, “Why stop with three brothers? Let’s make it seven brothers! Oh this is going to really make a fool of this Jesus character.”

They had laid such an elaborate plan that they were sure Jesus would find it impossible to get out of it.

However. Jesus side stepped the trap and got right at the heart of their philosophy. He knew they rejected the resurrection but they also revered Moses. So he showed them how Moses himself believed in the resurrection of the dead.

As Christians we must be careful of the snares that satan places in our path. Don’t be tricked by the questions. Look beyond the question and find the motivation for it. Then, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you will be able to avoid the attack.

Prayer:

Savior protect us from the evil one. Let us not be lead into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, power, and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Radical Love

Luke 6:27-31

But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Radical Love

The first century middle east was no lovefest … much like today’s middle east, but without automatic weapons. Israel was under the thumb of the Roman empire and the hate between them was mutual. The Israelites and Samaritans, both descends of Jacob, had been fighting over issues of religious doctrine for around 700 years.

No, Israel, at the time of Jesus on earth, was far from a loving atmosphere. So, when Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you,” it was an extremely radical idea. And it is still a hard pill to swallow for most people. The whole concept of treating others as you want to be treated is fine, as long as the other person is doing the same. However, when the other person is coming at you in hate and violence, it seems humanly impossible to love them. But that’s the point! We are to love as God loved us. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.(Romans 5:8) “While we were yet sinners” means we were literally at war with God and fighting against His will.

We are to love as Jesus loved which can only happen if we submit our will to him. To say and mean, “not my will, but your’s be done.”

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Your will be done in my life, my thoughts, my words, and my actions. Amen.

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©2019 Thomas E Williams