Fri, Jan 23rd - 7:35PM
STUDY IN LUKE
"And in the daytime He was teaching in the Temple; and at night He went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. And all of the people came early in the morning to Him in the Temple, in order to hear Him (21:37-38)."
It can clearly be seen here that Christ divided His time up into two separate areas. Public ministry/teaching versus spending time alone with God. Jesus was a tireless teacher, teaching seven days a week. He taught at every opportunity, to all sorts of people. He sought the chance to teach, utilizing normal daily events and experiences to reveal God's truth. Even when He was facing crucifixion, still He spent His time teaching. Christ was also a fearless teacher. The local authorities were continuoously seeking to arrest and kill Him. The opposition constantly questioned, argued, plotted, and threatened. But Jesus did not flee, nor did He retaliate. He simply kept going about doing God's will and work, teaching people about God's message of redemption. Christ was a faithful teacher. People desperately needed the gospel of God, needed to hear the glorious message of the Kingdom of God. People needed to be taught how to live day by day. Christ was also a teacher of conviction. He taught in the Temple. It was a place of corruption, being misused and abused and made into a center of commercialism. The Temple was supposed to be God's house of prayer and worship. So Christ used the Temple as it should be used, making it the center for teaching the gospel of God.
But at night Jesus went outside the city to be alone with God. Each day that He spent teaching in Jerusalem was followed by Him going out to spend the night elsewhere. In this short passage we are told that He went out to the Mount of Olives. At this point in His ministry He was very close to being nailed up on a cross. The stress and pressure must have been immense. He knew that the Sanhedrin sought to find Him and arrest Him away from the crowds that flocked to hear Him speak. He was also giving final instructions to His closest disciples. All of these things were focused and concentrated into one week's time. He needed time alone with God, a very special time, for He needed to gain great strength, and the source of that great strength was God. Jesus needed to make maximum use of time in teaching and touching the disciples, teaching exactly what they needed in these final hours before His death on the cross. He needed to have His own heart prepared to the maximum, ready to bear all of the punishment of sin that was to be laid upon Him.
Mount Olivet was in a mountain range a little more than one half mile from the city limits of Jerusalem. The range of mountains lay to the east of the city and stretch only one or two miles across. This was a place loved by Jesus: Luke 22:39, John 7:53-8:1, Luke 29:37, Matthew 21:1, Mark 11:1, Matthew 24:3, Mark 13:3, Luke 19:37, Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26, Acts 1:12.
Jesus did not sleep in, He began early each and every day. After spending time with God in prayer Jesus would teach. Obviously the model being presented repeatedly for us to learn is this: Do not do anything until you stop and spend time alone with God in prayer. This practice provides us with the presence and power of God. The first duty of Jesus after prayer was teaching the gospel. He did not seek out relaxation, recreation, fellowship or social functions. He did not plan for vacations. He prayed each morning and then began teaching the Good News. We can also see that people were hungering and thirsting after righteousness. All of the people came early in the morning to hear Him teach. What a difference between that day and today! Is it because peoples' hearts no longer cry out for righteousness? Or is it because not enough preachers/ministers/pastors/priests seek the face of God all night in prayer like Jesus was often doing?
We believers must begin to seek God's face first thing when we wake up each day. I am as guilty as the next person in this. We all must seek time with God before we begin serving Christ. May the grace and peace of Jesus be yours this day!
Mon, Jan 19th - 8:56PM
STUDY IN LUKE
"So take heed, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly. For it will come like a snare on all those who dwell on the surface of all the earth. Therefore, be watchful all of the time, praying that you may be able to escape all of these things that will happen, and to stand before the Son of Man (21:34-36)."
Christ Jesus continued His teaching with this warning to watch and to pray for the Day of Christ's return. By now all of us ought to understand that the end times and the day of the Lord's return demand taking heed. Prosexete means to take heed, to give attention, to focus one's mind, to guard, to beware, to take care. Any of these could be used to interpret the Greek term and would not change the meaning of the passage. Christ's warning is to the individual, each person is to take heed to himself/herself, that is, to guard his/her life. This is to be accomplished by not engaging in "worldliness." The heart is not to be weighed down, burdened, overloaded, filled up, or indulged. Three worldly acts are specifically mentioned here.
1) Carousing can be taken from the term kraipale which means to be light-hearted, silly, frivolous, giddy. Medically it referred to drunken nausea or headaches. It is the kind of silliness that comes from partying and drinking. It is the sort of loose, suggestive movements and speech that take place at parties, social gatherings, dances, clubs, dates, business trip functions, etc.
2) Drunkenness comes from the term methei. It means to be drunk with wine(or any other strong drink or drug). to be intoxicated. The side effects of this condition are that the person indulges the lust and appetite of their flesh. It loosens up a person's moral restraints and allows sexual/immoral behavior to take place. It dulls the mind to personal responsibility and accountability. It burdens the heart and conscience afterwards with self-guilt and/or humiliation. It slowly but steadily deadens feelings for spouses and fanily, causing withdrawal and separation in close relationships. It physically damages the body.
3) The cares of this life. Craving more and more for the "things" of this world that we live and work in. Giving the bulk of one's attention and mind to food and delicacies, to clothes and the latest fashions, to houses and furnishings, to property and holdings, to vehicles and boats and planes, to free time and recreation, to money and the procurment of wealth, and in seeking recognition and esteem.
Why is it so crucial to take heed, to guard against these sorts of things? The believer can be focusing so much upon the things and cares of the world that he/she is unaware and becomes ensnared in the end times. All of the time spent chasing the cares of this world can't be spent serving Christ. Snare comes t ous from the term pagis. It means to trap as in a net. The end times will catch the entire world unprepared, just if a huge net wrapped itself around the entire world. Jesus warned the believer to take heed for the great tribulation/end times would bring unimaginable catastrophe, distress, destruction, misery, suffering, and death. The Book of Revelation provides us with much more detail about what to expect once that period of time finally arrives.
That day deserves, and demands, watching and prayer. The word "watchful" comes from the term agrupneite. It means to be sleepless, awake, on guard, to have spirit of being wakeful, of being restless, of guarding. The believer is to live in a spirit of prayer. There are three reasons to be watchful and pray.
1) To do these things cause God t ocount the believer to be "worthy." They who watch and pray for the Lord's return truly believe in the Lord, and god takes that belief and counts it as being worthy. It is not a matter of God making the person worthy as it is the person's belief and actions. The person's faith, watching and praying, are counted as righteousness (Luke 20:35; Romans 4:22, 4:5, 4:1-3, 5:1).
2) To do these things cause the believer to escape the things that are coming in judgment of the entire earth and its inhabitants.
3) Doing these things cause the believer to stand justified before the Son of Man. The believer is to not have any fear nor dread, no apprehension, no anxiety or hesitation in facing the Son of Man. The believer will stand before Christ justified, ready to be conformed to His image, ready to behold the face of the Father, and ready to serve God day and night in His Temple for all eternity. Matthew 25:13, Luke 12:37, I Thessalonians 5:5-6, Revelation 3:11, Revelation 16:15, Matthew 26:41, I Corinthians 10:12, Colossians 4:2, I Peter 5:8)."
That is all for today my friends! Holidays and illness have kept me away from the keyboard these past few weeks. Next time I will write a bit about Jesus' daily ministry as it is revealed to us in the very next two verses. I pray that you experience the grace and peace of Christ this, and every day!