Good morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Luke 12-13
When I started writing these I didn’t think I had a lot to say. I soon realized I was wrong. Might wanna grab a drink, a snack, and maybe even a change of clothes should you be here long enough to require it!
I want to open by issuing this reminder. It’s just good to repeat from time to time and truly, we can never be reminded enough:
I’d like to backtrack a bit and point out a redirect from Messiah in yesterday’s readings. In Luke 11:27-28. You might want to check it out in some different translations in order to see that Messiah is not agreeing with her but rather correcting her in where she should direct her gratitude. In a day and age where so many are worshipping entities other than the Father and Messiah, it is impossible to read His word, follow Him, and not understand how He feels about this. His strongest rebukes and examples come from the experiences of the Israelites, but moving forward it is quite possible that future generations will look to us as being far worse both as hypocrites and simultaneous idol worshippers. I challenge everyone (including myself) reading this to look for idols in their life today. We all have them and we all have to take regular inventory to find and remove them. Some are so intwined in our lives that we can only see them with the help and leading of the Holy Spirit.
I love how clear the Father is in His word. Luke 12:1 clears up the symbolic use of leaven, should there be any doubt.
Here is an advanced rabbit trail for you. We are told that the Pharisees are hypocrites in Luke 12:1-3, which tells us that they teach one thing and do another. Now read Matthew 5:20 and take note of the word “exceeds”. What is it the Pharisees are teaching that is counted as righteousness? What is it they are teaching but not doing?
In Luke 12:8 What does it mean to acknowledge Messiah before men? Of course, to proclaim Him as the Messiah, the son of YHWH. But what if we deny His words or teachings? Are we still acknowledging Him? What if we teach that He is the Messiah while also teaching against what he taught? That is taking it one step further, still, in misrepresenting Him. This can lead to people directly disobeying the Father while thinking they are following the Messiah in doing so. What a tangled and tragic web. We have to be so so careful in representing Messiah and make sure we prove ourselves to be diligent students of His Word.
Luke 12:25-48 is a wonderful passage that cautions us to remain alert and at the ready.
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! Luke 12:25-28
To me, this means diligently searching His Word and putting ourselves under the guidance of the Holy Spirit through daily Bible study to show ourselves approved and to ensure that we are taking seriously our responsibility to know the Word of YHWH and to grow in His wisdom. There is a great quote by Frances Chan: “Don’t fall into the trap of studying the Bible without doing what it says.”
In Luke 12:49-53 we have a great reminder that following the Father will not necessarily make friends and win people over to us. In fact, it will do just the opposite. As we read in James chapter 4, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Y’all, it is a narrow path and that tells you that following the crowd will not get you there, regardless of what the crowd says.
Months ago I spoke at a conference. I gave a few presentations on overcoming depression and How to focus on the joy of making supper every day, and I led a devotional in which the Father led me to toss out all of my notes and give my testimony instead.
I had folks coming up to me before and after my sessions and all during the conference with questions about faith and the Bible and the one thing I heard the most in some form or another, from just about everyone, began with
“but I’m alone….:
They then added things like “my family aren’t believers…” or “my husband isn’t a believer” or “my friends aren’t believers” or “my family doesn’t read the Bible”, or “my friends don’t believe we have to obey” or “I want to keep sabbath but my family is against it…”, etc
The list went on and on but the thing I kept hearing that the most difficult hindrance to folks reading the Bible each day and living out what it says was “But I’m alone.”
So here is the thing.
Essentially, we all are.
Yes, I have my husband with me on this faith walk now and the Father has brought me friends who are likeminded after his heart but it wasn’t always this way and in most environments I am still an outlier in how I live my life. I have gone through some serious rejection by church friends, by fellow believers, and by family members when I decided to give God more authority in my life than they had.
And that is okay.
You see, we aren’t supposed to be following a crowd, we are supposed to be following the Father.
And we aren’t just supposed to follow Him only if everyone else is doing it or if we have a fellowship we can be a part of or if all of those around us approve.
If we are looking to follow the Father, we have to look to the Father and follow him, and that means our eyes are solely seeking His approval.
If we are looking to follow Messiah, the only person who can teach us how to do that is Messiah himself.
And I want to absolutely assure you that, as most of you have learned through much pain and tears, once you start reading your bible, once you decide to give authority to His words over all others, once you set your heart to obey Him, rather than follow the crowd (no matter how noble or religious the crowd claims to be) that crowd will move away from you.
You will become an outcast by people you least expect to treat you that way. You will be told that you are wrong, even though you’re not even seeking to be right but seeking what is right – with YHWH as the source of that. You will even have people try to convince you that Messiah disobeyed and contradicted YHWH, and taught others that we should do that as well, even though we know that Messiah would never ever ever do such a thing.
And in persisting to follow Messiah and in seeing YHWH as perfect and setting your heart to follow him, you will make enemies of the world, its authorities, and its religions.
But you will have gained the one relationship that can fill in all the gaps left by those who are hearers only. (See James 1:22)
“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
When someone tells me that they want to follow the Father but they are alone, I think of the people who have left my life since we began keeping the commandments of the Father. I think of the friends (professing believers) who have treated me differently or who have tried to convince me that I shouldn’t even be reading the Bible to begin with because “it is irrelevant”, and I think of the emails I’ve received and the comments I’ve had to delete due to their tone and content, and then my first thought when I hear someone say “but I’m alone” is “In this world, we all are”. Hang in there and let me explain.
If I wanted to be loved by the world, if I was concerned with not being alone, I’d tell you that you don’t need to read the Bible, the Old Testament is done away with, Jesus wants you to remain just the way you are and wants you to just follow your heart and you’ll be fine! I’d surely not quote Messiah telling people to sin no more, whoever does the commandments of the Father taught in the Old Testament and teaches others to do the same is considered greatest in His eyes, or that the heart is deceitful above all things. (John 8:11, Matthew 5:19-20, Jeremiah 17:9) or that the Father said His statutes were forever and throughout the generations (Genesis through Malachi, it’s all over it).
If I decided to teach unbiblical things about the Bible, I could have me a megachurch overnight. Why? Because that is what people want to hear. It tickles the ears rather than convicts the spirit.
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3
But then I recall our Messiah, in the midst of the crowd, as far as the world went, He was still alone. In living out His life, in this world, he was alone. In dying, He was alone.
But then again, he wasn’t.
The Father was always with Him.
It was enough.
It was everything.
If we follow Him, We are never alone.
And if the world leaves you, better the company you have remaining because of it.
Luke 12:54-56 Messiah speaks to the people not being able to interpret the times. Rabbit trail- the Feasts of YHWH teach us to be able to do this. Each of the 8 appointed times point to Messiah and our future. The spring feasts have been fulfilled and the fall feasts are yet to be fulfilled. The Father set these up to be teaching tools so that we would know what to look for. There are 8 appointed times, seven of those are Biblical feasts or appointed times that foretell of the coming and returning of Messiah. We’ve talked at length about these so I’ll leave my notes at that. I have found that it takes the practice of keeping them to be able to learn from them as the Father intended.
Luke 13:1 There were some present at that very time who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices…
We don’t hear anything further of this incident other than this statement telling us that Pilate had murdered Jews from Galilea and mixed their blood with either the blood of their sacrifices or poured their blood on the sacrifices themselves. However, there are many records written by historians of the time that tell of grisly murders of the Jews by Pilate. The historian Josephus wrote of several in his accounts of the time, including one in which three thousand Jews were murdered and their bodies placed in the temple at Passover.
We note in Luke 13:10 that Messiah is utilizing His role of priest on the Sabbath by teaching in the synagogues. He does the Father’s work on Sabbath and even heals a woman, in a great show of compassion. They try to accuse Him of breaking Sabbath by doing this act but He equates this to taking care of animals under our charge on the Sabbath, surely we would not let them go thirsty or hungry on this Holy day, but we have a responsibility to glorify the Father by showing compassion. They were enforcing their manmade laws and we’ve seen how Messiah feels about those.
The parallel verse to this in Mark is 2:27-28 states “And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Some use this to imply that people control Sabbath or that Messiah overruled the fourth commandment. We must be exceedingly and reverently careful not to imply that Messiah contradicted or disobeyed the Father and especially not to teach such. At best, this is Marcionism rearing its ugly head yet again and at worst, a complete misrepresentations of the character and truth of Messiah.
Luke 13:13-17 When Messiah heals a woman on the Sabbath, she is immediately chastised by the Pharisees for asking to be healed on that particular day. Messiah reprimands them and refers to her as a “Daughter of Abraham”. This is the only time a woman is called this in the Bible and how fitting that it be done by our precious Messiah. “Son of Abraham” was a common expression and generally used as recognition that the man was a Jew, living in covenant with YHWH. By applying this title to a woman, in response to the Pharisees and in the temple no less, Messiah was, once again, being very radical and showing that, in most cases, the Father’s way is certainly not the way of the people.
Luke 13:22-30 goes back to what I just said about being alone and not being loved by the world.
He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Luke 13:22-40
For more clarity on Luke 13:26-27 see Matthew 7:22-23. Messiah calls these people “workers of lawlessness” and the Greek word used here better translates to “workers of iniquity” or sin. What is sin? 1 John 3-4 tells us that sin is transgression of the law. What is a worker of lawlessness? A person who works in a manner that is lawless. What law is being referred to in both of these cases?
And for clarity on Luke 13:30 see Matthew 5:19
We end our reading today with the lament from Messiah that I’ve spoke on before that breaks my heart each time I read it. May our hearts break in all things that break His and may this breaking cause us to return to Him!
May YHWH cause His fruit to blossom, mature, and ripen within the lives of each of us.
Congratulations! You made it to the end of my notes. Now let’s go be a blessing ?
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!