Good Morning Siblings!
Today’s readings are Luke 23-24
In my previous notes, I’ve focused a lot on Messiah’s trial and condemnation by the religious higher ups and government officials, so I’m not going to go into that again today. Instead I am going to point out just a few things in this regard.
It is my earnest hope that you are reading with us in order so that you did not miss the significance behind what the crowd was crying out at Messiah’s sentencing when we discussed it in the book of Matthew.
Notice that Herod was excited when Messiah was sent to him, because he had heard of the signs and miracles Messiah was performing and wanted to see them for himself. He wanted Messiah to perform for his pleasure and when Messiah refused to do so, he grew increasingly angry. Messiah refused use the powers of YHWH to entertain.
And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other. Luke 23:12
They had been enemies up until now but a shared enmity towards Messiah brought them together. Remember that principle as it plays out daily in our world.
A comma can change everything.
There are two incidents in the Bible that stand out to me wherein sentence structure can completely alter the meaning of a sentence. That is not to say there aren’t more instances like this but so far in my walk, I’ve honed in on two. One of them occurs in our reading today.
Firstly, I have no intention of arguing when our souls are delivered to the Father. The Bible is clear on that, but there exists doctrine which presents an opposing view. That oppositional view is upheld by movies, extra-biblical books, etc, so it is no wonder most believe it. Further, a statement made by Messiah in our reading today is generally used to back that doctrine up.
And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:42-42
Many read this as proof that the moment a person passes away they are immediately with the Father. However, what most of us don’t realize is that the original manuscripts of these testimonies which we are reading today, did not have commas. Those were added by scribes when they were translated into different languages.
Now we know that a comma can make a significant difference in the meaning of a sentence so I want to present this sentence to you in the form that it appears in most of our Bibles and then with the placement of the comma changed.
Original sentence: Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.
Another possibility: Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise.
Think on it, ruminate a bit. Put it in your back pocket if need be, and see which version lines up with the straight edge of Scripture.
This incident is the only deathbed conversion documented in the entire Bible. It reminds me of the parable of the workers of the vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16.
However, we need to be careful not to view this incident as a license to live however we want as long as we can slide across the plate at the last minute. To do so is to intentionally set out to abuse YHWH’s Grace, which is a high handed sin directly against Him- and we’ve studied the consequences of those. There is a quote that sums this up well, although it is attributed to nearly every pastor alive it seems, so I am simply going to put it here, without an ability to give it proper attribution but with full admittance that it is not attributed to me:
There is one deathbed conversion in the Bible, so that no one would despair; but only one, so that no one would presume.
For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” Luke 23:31
There are varying interpretations of this statement. The green wood could represent Messiah as blameless and bearing good fruit for the kingdom and dry wood is those who may be His sheep but are at the mercy of their errant leaders and Rome. Many view this as an allusion to a tree that is innocent and bearing fruit and those who are in sin and not bearing fruit. I think this statement can accurately encompass both interpretations at once. But remember, how much what I think should matter to you? Not a lick. Test everything.
Sherry Brumfield, in our Facebook group, added this wonderful insight:
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
This is our Messiah, loving us through His affliction. But it got me thinking about something else:
At what point do we take ownership of our behavior?
At what point do we see that we are in error and turn back to Him?
In following YHWH each of us will repeatedly be faced with opportunities to humble ourselves and repent. Repeatedly. In fact, chances are each of us has something we need to repent of right now.
Each of these opportunities presents a decision we must make as to whom we will serve: YHWH or the world.
These opportunities will never cease to present themselves. No matter how old we get or how many times we’ve read the Bible, how many people are following us, or how long we’ve been a believer.
A single choice to deny the world and serve the father can change our eternity.
A single choice to side with ourselves against the Father can change the course of our lives forever.
This is why Paul urged folks to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Phil 2:12 It is a daily, step-by-step process.
Father, when the time comes that my pride and stupidity prevent me from immediately falling to my knees before you and repenting of any sin I have sinned against you (and I realize that all sins are sins against you), I pray that you knock me to my knees instead.
Luke 24 serves as a clear testimony for anyone who would read it that our currently accepted timeline for Messiah’s death and resurrection is seriously flawed.
Luke 24:1 tells us He rose on Sunday, but three times in this chapter Luke makes it a point to let us know that Messiah was in the grave 3 days and 3 nights, thus fulfilling the sign of Jonah which we discussed in depth. Luke 24:7, Luke 24:21, Luke 24:46.
It is as if the Father knew what confusion would be sown among His children and so built in warnings and key elements to direct anyone seeking Him back to His word. To be clear, I believe this is exactly what He did. It is very important to know this because, as we’ve mentioned, this is the only sign Messiah gave us to look for in order to prove who He was after His crucifixion. I can’t help but feel this information will be important for us to know in the future. If it were not, the adversary would not have worked so hard to deceive the church into following a narrative which contradicts His Word.
After Messiah arose, He remained among the people for quite some time. Acts 1:3 tells us that he remained on the earth forty days.
He made several appearances which we read about, but notice in Luke 24:21 that His followers were actually disappointed by Messiah.
“But we had hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel.” Luke 24:21
In their limited view, they did not realize that Messiah had done just that.
Why? Because He didn’t do it how they had thought He would do it.
Remember how many times we’ve talked about this? So many missed Messiah because He didn’t live up to their preconceived ideas about how prophecy would be fulfilled. That is why it is SO IMPORTANT to study what the prophecy says directly rather than studying other people’s ideas pertaining to that prophecy. We can watch movies, read books, and listen to preachers tell us exactly what is going to happen all day every day, but none of that can ever come close to the value of reading YHWH’s word for ourselves. In fact, it could lead us away from the very God we are trying to serve.
If we pay attention we’ll see Messiah appearing out of thin air and vanishing just as quickly in today’s readings. Poof! Check out Luke 24:31, Luke 24:36-37, John 20:19, and John 20:26. Notice that the the text clearly tells us that the doors were locked in both of those John verses.
Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Luke 24:45-47
Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. What Scriptures is Messiah referring to here? Keep in mind that the “new” testament did not exist then. This is important to realize. Also, what did He wish to have proclaimed – repentance and forgiveness. Note that the two go together with repentance coming first, before the other is given.
Messiah goes on to tell His followers to remain in the city until the Holy Spirit comes. This will take place on Shavuot, also called Pentecost. He tells them that the promise of the Holy Spirit is coming so that they can remain and prepare accordingly. This is the last instruction He gives before ascending.
Prepare yourself accordingly. We know how the story ends!
With that, we complete another book of the Bible.
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!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!