The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand

“And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him. Luke 19:47-48 NKJV

Jesus was teaching daily – don’t stop because it is hard, don’t stop because they want to kill you, and don’t stop doing the will of Our Father until He says otherwise. Likewise, be like the people, be attentive, hear while you are able, see and understand while seeing and understanding are available.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Luke, chapter 18 starting at verse 15 through chapter 19, verse 48 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).  

Sometimes it is hard to do a devo on what we are reading, when we are reading so much. I rely heavily on God directing me. But who says devotionals (devos) or even sermons have to be from a short passage? Especially while we are reading Luke – he is always trying to show how it is all connected and making a bigger point. Lets just look at today’s reading and see some connections, we often miss while getting the word from short devos and sermons.

The scene is set in the passage titled: Jesus Blesses Little Children. The focus is the Kingdom of Heaven and how we are to obtain entry = like little children.

Now onto adult problems, because we have already failed to have the innocence and faith of a child. Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler which although it really happened, it plays out like a parable. And it would seem that having riches means you cannot enter heaven (as the theme of getting into heaven continues). BUT!!! With a quick, closer look – Jesus asked the rich kid, if he has kept the commandments. The rich kid says yes – and Jesus counters with an: “Are you suurrrreeeee?”  Did the kid really have NO OTHER gods/idols BEFORE GOD, when he loved his wealth more than entering Heaven? It wasn’t about the wealth, Peter (who quickly pointed out that he left everything to follow Jesus). It wasn’t the wealth. It was that something was more important to the rich kid than following Jesus. The rich kid thought he was right in the eyes of the Lord and failed to see the truth about his own sin nature,

So some simple reasoning among the Disciples and confusions about material wealth and sacrifice – that Jesus tries to clear up by explaining that Jesus DOES WANT ALL OF US! And sometimes that means losing and giving up friends, family, and wealth. But it is not about that… it is about giving all to Jesus! And our human frailty to fail at keeping it simple an seeing it means what It says… so Jesus goes on to explain that With God All Things Are Possible.  We cannot even give it all to Him without His help – and that is ok. There is no condemnation regarding it.

Still on the topic of how does getting to heaven work – Jesus, a Third Time Predicts His Death and Resurrection! Because with Him all things are possible! Because through Him we can get to Heaven. Because grace and mercy and transformation – because through His sacrifice and propitiation, and our gift of our self back in participation is how this all works.

Do they understand and see what He is saying? Not yet, but they will see. Then A Blind Man Receives His Sight and follows Jesus. Is it a coincidence that the blind man can see at this moment? No – Jesus is about to show us more…

Chapter 19 Jesus Comes to Zacchaeus’ House, which also really happened, but reads like a parable. MORE OVER, it is almost the exact opposite of the rich kid story.  The rich kid meets Jesus and his own pride and self-righteousness stood in the way of him realizing who it was that he met. Zacchaeus was a sinner – knew he was a sinner. He was a broken man before a Holy God. This experience with grace immediately transforms him and he gives away all his wealth. NOT just gives it away, but restores to those who he could restore to.

But again – it isn’t about wealth or money! It is about entering the kingdom of heaven like a child. So for some added clarity hear we find the The Parable of the Minas (AKA the parable of the talents). Abundance and restoration is promised to those who do well with what God has given them. This version of the parable is concluded with the enemies being slayed.

So this section begin with the life of children and heaven bound, how to get there. And it conducts with the judgement of death should you not choose life.
Sometimes with all my “repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” style of teaching, I come across people who call me a fear monger. Jesus spoke these things – I may say it more plainly and clear: you have a fire, brimstone, suffering eternal, hell to shun! It is fact, and maybe you should fear going there – especially if it is as bad as Jesus says it is.

Next we read the The Triumphal Entry again. A passage I love and have written about many times. Let me point out this gem in verses 39-40:

“And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”
But He answered and said to them, 
“I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

If we believe this stuff and it is not just a story we read – and hell is real, and heaven is real – then shouldn’t we be working extra hard at telling others? If you don’t – the rocks will. This is not meant as permission to NOT speak.  In that very prophetic moment, where prophesy said there will be crying out – there had to be crying out even if it was the stones.
But to you and I – if we do not speak… well let’s look at Esther.
“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 NKJV
If we do not speak when God says – then another will. And we will not get our reward for obeying. And worst, there may be a consequence that seems like punishment.

We wrap up today’s reading with Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem and Jesus Cleanses the Temple – which when you read it, I am sure you will build on yesterday’s thought about those things – quite an emotional time for Jesus.

Today – are you assured in your heart that you will make it to Heaven? If not, all you need is a relationship with God through Christ Jesus. Let me explain that relationship.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another powerful verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand! Knowing the Word is our Sword and Jesus is the Word! Jesus accomplishes what He set out to do. Quoting this verse is therefore the very act of walking in the victory!  

Isaiah 55:11

NKJV – “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
NAS – “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it.”
ESV – “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
AMP – “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
NIV – “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

BIBLE READING: Luke 18:15-19:48 NKJV

Jesus Blesses Little Children

15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler

18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”

21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”

22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

With God All Things Are Possible

24 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?”

27 But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left [a]all and followed You.”

29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Jesus a Third Time Predicts His Death and Resurrection

31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be [b]accomplished. 32 For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. 33 They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”

34 But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.

A Blind Man Receives His Sight

35 Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. 36 And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. 37 So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, 41 saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”

42 Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Jesus Comes to Zacchaeus’ House

19 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up [c]and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, [d]make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” So he [e]made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all [f]complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”

Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

The Parable of the Minas

11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten [g]minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’

15 “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 19 Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’

20 “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are [h]an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’

24 “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’ 25 (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’) 26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ ”

The Triumphal Entry

28 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to [i]Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ”

32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”

34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.

37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who [j]bought and sold in it, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house [k]is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

47 And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, 48 and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 18:28 NU our own
  2. Luke 18:31 fulfilled
  3. Luke 19:5 NU omits and saw him
  4. Luke 19:5 hurry
  5. Luke 19:6 hurried
  6. Luke 19:7 grumbled
  7. Luke 19:13 Gr. mna, same as Heb. minah, each worth about three months’ salary
  8. Luke 19:21 a severe
  9. Luke 19:29 M Bethsphage
  10. Luke 19:45 NU were selling, saying
  11. Luke 19:46 NU shall be

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