Jesus first responds to a question from the Pharisees regarding when the kingdom is going to come. His answer shows that his kingdom is not an earthly kingdom like the kingdoms of the world.
He then gives warnings about being ready always and speaks about a coming judgment which may refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., or it may refer to Jesus second coming, or He may be alluding to both.
In warning about being ready Jesus said “remember Lot’s wife”. What are we to remember about Lot’s wife? How is her example a lesson for us today?
Ten lepers are healed! It is hard to imagine the joy they must have felt when they realized they were clean! Yet only one came back to thank Jesus.
What do you notice about the way the leper thanked Jesus? The gift that we have received from Jesus (cleansed from sin) is infinitely greater than what these received. What can we learn from how the one thankful leper thanked Jesus?
Some came and told the Pharisees about the raising of Lazarus from the dead. They are alarmed and fear that if everyone believes in Jesus the Romans will take away their freedom.
Caiaphas, the high priest, counsels that it is expedient for one to die for the nation and not that the whole nation should perish. The text said he did not say this of his own authority but that he was prophesying and his answer reveals more about the true purpose of Jesus death than he probably understood.
Following this they begin plotting how they will put Jesus to death.
“What shall we do? For this man works many signs”. A better answer than “kill Him” would be to “believe in Him”! But, if they had believed in Him then they wouldn’t have sought His death (which was God’s plan and which we all needed). How do you reconcile this dilemma?
Jesus comes to Bethany where Mary, Martha, and many Jews are gathered mourning the loss of Lazarus who has been dead four days. Jesus meets with Mary and Martha and then proceeds to the tomb where He raises Lazarus from the dead.
What do both Mary and Martha say when they first see Jesus? (21, 32). Are they right about this? What are they failing to consider?
Why do you think Jesus wept? (35)
What effect did the miracle have on many who saw it? (45)
Today and tomorrow we read about the raising of Lazarus. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus saying, “he whom you love is sick”. Jesus waited two days and departed for Bethany but in the meantime Lazarus had died.
The disciples were wary about a trip to Judea where the Jews had recently attempted to stone Jesus.
The puzzling thing about Jesus behavior in this case is that though the text twice states that Jesus loved Lazarus, Mary, and Martha (3, 5), it appears He intentionally delayed going to them, allowing Lazarus to die.
His word to the disciples is also curious. He told them Lazarus was dead and then said “I am glad for your sakes I was not there”. “I am glad”?
How does verse 4 explain this?
Is it possible that God allows us to go through painful experiences and the reason is not that He doesn’t love us but it is because He does love us so much?
In the first part Jesus told His followers that if they have faith like a mustard seed they can tell a tree to be pulled up by its roots and planted in the sea and it would obey them! In a similar statement elsewhere (Matthew 17:20; Mark 11:23) He said they could move mountains!
Jesus then reminds His followers that even when they have done all they were commanded they are still unprofitable servants.
When we have obeyed fully, we are still unprofitable servants. Does that seem harsh to you? How does accepting that truth manifest itself in your life?
Filed under Faith, Humility
No man is perfect. We sin and people we live with people who sin. These verses approach the problem from two angles: (1) caution about causing another to sin and (2) how we react when someone sins against us. The word offenses is used which is sometimes translated “stumbling block” and it refers to something we do that causes another to sin.
What is your initial thought when you read, “if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him”?
One of the reasons why this is such a well-known parable is because of what it teaches about the afterlife. Jesus describes the condition of the rich man as being in torments in flames of inescapable fire.
Question. What was the sin of the rich man that caused him to be lost? Was it the fact that he was rich?
Question: The rich man wanted to warn his brothers so they would not come to the place of torment. Abraham said they had all they needed to be warned. What did they have that was a sufficient warning?
This is a puzzling parable about a man who, due to his own negligence, was going to lose his occupation as a steward. He was “afraid to dig and ashamed to beg” so he came up with a plan to ask the debtors to his master to pay less than they owed, thinking this would obligate them to “receive (him) into their houses” (4).
The master (in the parable, not Jesus) commends him for his shrewdness.
The reading closes with reminders about being faithful with the things God has entrusted to us and a warning about how we cannot serve God and mammon (riches).
“The sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light” (8) appears to be a rebuke of the followers of Jesus.
What do you see as a practical lesson from the parable of the Unjust Steward?
Today we read five verses which are Jesus’ response to the criticisms of the Pharisees. He touches on the hypocrisies of the Pharisees and the temporary nature of the Law.
The section closes with a statement about God’s will concerning divorce. The connection to the context here is difficult to determine but this topic will be dealt with more thoroughly in a few days.
What would be one example of something “highly esteemed among men” but an abomination in the sight of God? (Verse 16).