Read thru the New Testament Devotional – April 8, 2017

April 8

 

Luke 11:29-54

Luke 11:29a-The people say that they “seek” for Jesus to give them a sign, a miracle of some kind, that will prove Who He is and that what He is saying is authoritative, being from God.  While the word “seek” can simply mean…

 

“to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning…to enquire into“; in this case it also carries the thought of “to seek, i.e. require, demand, to crave, demand something from someone” (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2212&t=NASB, Vine’s Expository Dictionary).

 

…they weren’t really interested in Jesus performing a sign that would help them to understand the truth better.  Actually, they were demanding a display, an exhibition, a show.  They were more interested in the sign for it’s stimulation of their senses than for its explanation of their questions.  And the problem with performing signs for that affect…is that the sensation value quickly wears off and the people want yet another sign.  And each time it has to be bigger than the one before.  Jesus did perform signs.  He healed the sick.  He raised the dead back to life.  He performed many other signs.  But He did not do so in order to satisfy the lust of the people for a circus side-show.  When Jesus performed signs it served two purposes: 1.-To meet the physical and spiritual needs of the people He was ministering to.  He was sincerely interested in expressing God’s love for them.  2.-The signs that He performed provided authority and validation for His teachings.  They authenticated what He had to say.  The line of reasoning was…if He could perform such signs, such miracles in the power of God…then His teachings were also from God.  Jesus often left an area where He was performing signs…in order to go somewhere else where He could preach.

Luke 11:29b-32-Jesus says that this behavior is wicked and that He will not respond to their demands.  The only sign that He will provide for the sake of being a sign will be His death, burial, and resurrection.  He refers to this as “the sign of Jonah”, since they would be aware of the story of Jonah in which he was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights (cf. Matthew 12:38-41).  The sign of Jonah was a warning of coming judgment…and the people of Nineveh repented when they saw it and heard Jonah preach.  Jesus tells these people that, unlike the people of Nineveh, they will be held accountable for not repenting after hearing Him speak the truth.  The “Queen of the South” is a reference to the “queen of Sheba” (1 Kings 10:1-13), ruler of the Sabeans in the southern part of Arabia.  She traveled 1,200 miles on camelback to meet with King Solomon after hearing of his great wisdom.  After doing so, she said, “Blessed be the LORD your God who delighted in you…”.  The Jews have not responded in such a way to Jesus, so they will be held responsible for their inactions.

Luke 11:33-36-When you light a lamp, and have light by which to see, you don't then hide it in a place where you cannot benefit from it.  But, you put it to work, you allow it to serve its purpose.  We receive light and wisdom, through the things we see (our eyes are like a lamp).  We must be careful to discern those things that are true (light), and those things that are false (darkness).  A lamp can give good light (bright), or bad light (dark).  Just like we are responsible to tend the lamp, we are responsible to tend what we see and believe.  To tend, discern light from dark, truth from falsehood.  The light (the truth) that we receive should affect every facet (“your whole body”) of your life.  If we have light, but fail to allow it to guide us…then we will suffer the consequences.

Luke 11:37-52-Jesus dines with a Pharisee, who is then critical because He does not follow their traditions.

 

For a detailed explanation of the Pharisee’s practice of ceremonially washing their hands see:

(The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Eidersheim, http://biblehub.com/library/edersheim/the_life_and_times_of_jesus_the_messiah/chapter_xxxi_the_cavils_of.htm)

 

He then chastises them, "Woe to you Pharisees...lawyers", because you are only concerned with your appearance, not your true condition.  They were concerned about washing the outside.  He was concerned about cleansing the inside.  Jesus reprimands (this is the significance of the word “Woe”) the Pharisees and Lawyers because they: 1.- (:39-41) are only concerned with outer appearances, the technicalities and observations of the keeping of the Law, and not the inner life of the heart, the real reason for the law; 2.- (:42) focus on things, not people; 3.- (:43) see themselves as more important than others; 4.- (:44-45) cause others to be like them.  To step on a grave, even unknowingly, caused a person to be ceremonially unclean and defiled (cf. Numbers 19:16).  Jesus says that without even realizing it…people who follow the false teachings of the lawyers are becoming as unacceptable to God, as they are.  One of the lawyers was insulted when he realized that everything Jesus was saying about the Pharisees also applied to them since they received much of their training from the Pharisees; 5.- (:46) so Jesus responds to the lawyers, as well, and says that they impose laws on people and then not help them to fulfill them; 6.- (:47) claim to follow God's teachings (prophets), and yet honor the very ones who killed them; 7.- (:52) they have perverted the truth and prevented others from being able to know it.

Luke 11:53-54-From that time forward the Pharisees tried to catch Jesus in some theological error so that they might condemn Him.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to see the truth, unfiltered, unhindered.  Give me Your wisdom and discernment...to know light from darkness.

 

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