Thursday, May 16, 2019

LUKE 22:1-6 DEADLY DEAL


DEADLY DEAL
LUKE 22:1-6

Luke 22:1-2 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.

Susan: The Passover commemorated the night of the tenth plague in Egypt. God slew the firstborn children and cattle of the Egyptians. He had Moses instruct the Israelites how to avoid this calamity. They were to sprinkle the blood of a lamb or goat without any defect (foreshadowing the blood of God’s perfect Lamb, Jesus) on the doorposts and lintels of their dwelling places. When God saw the blood, He would “pass over” that house and not kill the firstborn there. You can read the account of this event in Exodus chapter 12 and see that God set it up as a perpetual, commemorative celebration that is still observed by the Jewish people today.

Susie: The religious leaders may have been planning to wait until after the feast of unleavened bread, the Passover, to find a way to kill Jesus when there were fewer people in Jerusalem because they feared His supporters would riot.  However, God orchestrated the timing of Jesus’s death to be at exactly when Passover lambs were being killed. Jesus was the final Passover Lamb whose blood saves those who trust in Him from sin and death. Jesus’s death ended the need for the Jewish sacrificial system as no greater sacrifice could be made.

Luke 22:3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible as quoted at

Then entered Satan into Judas,.... At the same time that the Sanhedrim were sitting, and consulting about the death of Christ, Satan, or the adversary, as the word signifies, the devil, who is the enemy of the Messiah, the woman's seed, entered into Judas; not corporeally, as he did into those that were possessed by him; but he entered "into his heart", as the Ethiopic version renders it; he put it into his heart to betray him, as it is said in John 13:2 he stirred up, and worked upon the corruptions of his heart; suggested evil things to his mind, and baited his temptations agreeable to his malice and covetousness . . .

Susie: Judas did not behave as the obviously demon-possessed people Jesus and His disciples had encountered during His three years of ministry. However, Satan was pulling the strings of Judas Iscariot’s heart and mind to cause him to betray the Lord.

Susan: Many commentators speculate on the motive Judas had for betraying Jesus. Some say he may have been trying to force Jesus’s hand to lead an uprising and declare Himself king. Others say Judas only followed Jesus as a possible way to gain wealth or prestige. It is noted that scripture never records Judas as calling Jesus “Lord” but only “Rabbi” meaning “Teacher.” An excellent article on this topic may be found at https://www.gotquestions.org/Judas-betray-Jesus.html.

Luke 22:4-6 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.

Susan: Judas approached the religious leaders and conspired with them to deliver Jesus to them away from the crowds. Both the priests and Judas wanted to capture Jesus privately, the priests to avoid a coup and Judas to minimize his own shame.

Susie: Matthew’s gospel tells us the exact amount Judas was paid:

Matthew 26:14-15 (ESV) Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.

Susie: Thirty pieces of silver was the price of a slave. Judas handed Jesus, the Messiah, over to those who would have Him killed for the mere sum it would take to buy a slave. This exact sum was prophesied by Zechariah. Too late, Judas would regret taking this bribe and throw it on the temple floor.

Zechariah 11:13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.

MacArthur Study Bible

Zechariah 11:13 The prophet received further instruction in acting out the drama that pictures the rejection of Christ, namely to throw the 30 pieces into the temple. This was fulfilled when Judas Iscariot, laden with guilt, went back and threw the blood money on the temple floor. The priests gathered the money and used it to buy a field from a potter (cf. Matt. 27:3–10). princely price. This ultimate sarcasm from God greeted the ultimate insult from humanity.

Ponder this and Apply it: It is difficult for us to reconcile the fact that Judas could walk alongside Jesus during His earthly ministry and still be unbelieving. However, this shows us that there may be people who are only “going through the motions” or even what the Bible calls “tares among the wheat” (Matthew 13:24-40). There are those who have not yet trusted Jesus and are still relying on their own good works. These we need to lovingly show the truth. There are those who infiltrate the ranks of God’s army to try to lead us astray. This is the reason why we must be saturated with the word of God so the Holy Spirit may give us discernment. Since we do not know for certain who are “wheat” (true believers) and who are “tares” (tools of Satan), we must share Jesus with all and trust Him for the outcome. We must show His love to others and share the Gospel with everyone.

Monday, May 13, 2019

LUKE 21:34-38 BE ALERT


BE ALERT
LUKE 21:34-38
(See also Matthew 24 and Mark 13)

Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

Susan: We like to look up unfamiliar words used in the King James Version. It sounds like “surfeiting” is gluttony on steroids!

American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828.

SUR'FEITING, participle present tense Oppressing the system by excessive eating and drinking; cloying; loading or filling to disgust.

SUR'FEITING, noun The act of feeding to excess; gluttony. Luke 21:34.

Susie: As believers, we should not be caught off guard when the Lord returns. Even though we cannot know dates and times, we can see His return approaching. Therefore, we should desire to be about His business—witnessing, encouraging, uplifting others—rather than the mundane cares of this world. We do not want to be like those who do not believe as the Apostle Paul described them:

Philippians 3:18-19 (AMP) For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation],  whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things.

Susan: We should not be so consumed with earthly pursuits that we are neglecting God’s word, pursuing Jesus, and focusing on the job with which God has entrusted us—knowing Him and making Him known to others.  


Luke 21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

Susie: Like a hunter’s trap slamming closed, Jesus’s return will happen suddenly. Those of us who heed His warning will not be embarrassed to stand before Him. If we watch and pray, we will not fear that day. Everyone on the earth will be aware of His return at once. Some will tremble with fear, and others (those who have trusted in Jesus) will rejoice to see the day of justice, redemption, and God’s glory arrive.

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Susan: Every time Jesus highlights His return, He admonishes His people to pay attention, be alert because the great Day of the Lord is coming.

Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Mark 13:33-37 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

Susie: Our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, has commissioned us to spread the Good News of salvation through His finished work on the cross. May He find us busy about this task when He returns.

Luke 21:37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.

Susie: Every day of Jesus’s last week before the crucifixion, he was teaching in the temple courts. He was continuing to announce that kingdom of God. He was faithfully instructing those who followed Him.

Susan: Jesus was about His Father’s business even to the very end as we will see when we study His words from the cross.

Susie: Every night, Jesus would camp out on the mount of Olives, living as a homeless person on the earth He created for people.

Susan: As I understand in Scripture, the mount of Olives was Jesus’s outdoor sanctuary, His spiritual man-cave.

Luke 21:38 And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.

Susie: People were eager to hear Jesus teach, and showed up early in the day to do so. We are not told everything Jesus did during “Passion Week” when He was not teaching or sleeping. One would imagine He spent much time in prayer and preparation, and that the garden would be a peaceful atmosphere to spend time in communion with His Father.

Ponder this and Apply it: The question we must ask ourselves is, “How, then, shall we live?” We must live in such a way as to honor the Lord Jesus with our thoughts, words, and actions. We must be His witnesses to a lost and dying world. We must commit ourselves to His familyship by discipling and encouraging other believers. Perhaps we should begin each day with this song:

Thursday, May 9, 2019

LUKE 21:29-33 SCRIPTURE STANDS FOREVER


SCRIPTURE STANDS FOREVER
LUKE 21:29-33
(See also Matt. 24:32–36; Mark 13:29–32)

Luke 21:29-31 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

Susie: When the leaves begin to sprout on the trees, it is obvious that summer is getting nearer. I know in Texas, the redbuds and Bradford pears blossom in the early spring and as summer nears, the blossoms drop off and the leaves come out. Jesus indicated that if they could read the seasons by the status of the trees, they could see for themselves that the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God was near. All they needed to do was to look for the signs He had described in the preceding verses.

Susan: Remember that Jesus prophesied concerning a near future event and the eventual end of the age when He returns. They themselves would see the signs of Jerusalem’s impending destruction and that of the Temple as she was surrounded by the Roman army in 70 AD. We still watch of His eminent return to judge the world and set up His millennial kingdom.

Luke 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation1074 shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.

Susan: The time of the destruction of the Temple that Jesus had described as having not one stone left upon another was the disciples’ original question. That first fulfillment of Jesus’s prophesy did occur within some of their lifetimes since it was approximately 40 years later. However, this verse states that “all” shall be fulfilled before this generation has ended. This deserves a second look.

Susie: We looked up the word translated “generation” for a better understanding since the generation of the Apostles has passed away before “all” has been fulfilled.

1074 gӗnӗa – from (a presumed der. of)1085; a generation; by impl. An age (the period or the persons): age, generation, nation, time.

1085 gӗnŏs – born, country (-man), diversity, generation, kind (-red), nation, offspring, stock.

Susie: If this word could be translated “nation” instead of “generation,” Jesus could mean that the nation of Israel would not cease to exist until His return when all nations will be united in His kingdom.

Susan: We will live in harmony, truly one nation under God, until the end of the 1000 years when Satan will be released and try to rally one more battle. He will be summarily defeated and thrown into the Lake of Fire. However, we won’t open this can of worms any bigger.

Susie: John MacArthur has a good explanation for “this generation shall not pass away” as well:

MacArthur Study Bible note:

Matthew 24:34 this generation. This cannot refer to the generation living at that time of Christ, for “all these things”—the abomination of desolation (v. 15), the persecutions and judgments (vv. 17–22), the false prophets (vv. 23–26), the signs in the heavens (vv. 27–29), Christ’s final return (v. 30), and the gathering of the elect (v. 31)—did not “take place” in their lifetime. It seems best to interpret Christ’s words as a reference to the generation alive at the time when those final hard labor pains begin (see note on v. 14). This would fit with the lesson of the fig tree, which stresses the short span of time in which these things will occur (see note on v. 32).

Susan: We read another good article on the subject online here:


Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

Susie: I knew earth would be destroyed, but I thought we were going to Heaven. I thought, “What’s up with that?” until we studied it a bit more.

Susan: The heavens and the earth as we are living in it today will be completely obliterated. However, the Lord, in Scripture has promised us a new Heaven and a new earth where justice reigns and Jesus rules.

2 Peter 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Susie: Even though the heavens and earth shall be dissolved, the Lord’s promises, God’s word is true and lives forever. The Apostle Peter quoted the following from Isaiah 40:6-8:

1 Peter 1:24-25 (NIV) For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.

Susan: I know exactly where we who have trusted and surrendered to Jesus will be when all this destruction of heavens and earth happens, safe in our Father’s hands (John 10:28-29).

Susie: Reminds me of a song I grew up singing at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Ft. Worth. Here’s link to it on YouTube:

Ponder this and Apply it: Jesus will return. That is certain. No one knows the day or hour. Therefore, we would be wise to be prepared at all times. Are you ready? Do you know that you are safe in Father God’s hands? If not, please talk to your pastor, Sunday school teacher, Christian friend, or contact us via our website or Facebook page. We would love to introduce you to our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Monday, May 6, 2019

LUKE 21:25-28 FEAR AND FOREBODING FOLLOWED BY POWER AND GLORY


FEAR AND FOREBODING
FOLLOWED BY POWER AND GLORY
LUKE 21:25-28
(See also Matthew 24)

Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

Susie: At first, I thought that Jesus must have been totally moving from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD to prophesying about the end times just before His triumphant return. However, the Jewish historian Josephus reported heavenly and earthly signs occurring leading up to and during the 70 AD fall of Jerusalem. We found and article online at http://www.bible.ca/pre-flavius-josephus-70AD-Mt24-fulfilled.htm and have included the following chart from it:

Brief summary of Josephus' record:
The Judgment on Jerusalem according to History and Destruction of the temple
Heavenly phenomena
  • A star resembling a sword
  • A comet
  • A bright light shining around the altar and the temple
  • A vision of chariots and soldiers running around among the clouds and all cities of Palestine.
Earthly phenomena
(reported by priests)
  • A quaking
  • A great noise
  • The sounds of a great multitude saying, "Let us remove hence."

  •  

Susan: God controls everything including the heavenly bodies—the moon, stars, and sun. God caused the sun to stand still as Joshua led Israel in battle (Joshua 10:13). There are debates as to whether this “missing day” can be proven scientifically. However, believing the Bible to be God’s word and God’s word to be true, I trust that this was an actual occurrence. The sun was also darkened for three hours when Jesus hung on the cross.

Susie: Phenomena such as these accompanied many pivotal events in the history of God’s people and served to increase faith that God was in control of every situation and particularly what was happening around them at the moment. Back on track . . . we can conclude that Jesus prophecy about the fall of the Jerusalem and the accompanying signs had both immediate and more distant fulfillments as do many prophecies.

Susan: The Old Testament prophets foretold signs in the heavenlies and on the earth that would precede the great and terrible Day of Lord:

Isaiah 13:9-10 Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

Ezekiel 32:7-8 And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord God.

Joel 2:10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.

Joel 3:15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

Susan: There are future prophecies in Revelation that mirror the prophecies we have quoted from the Old Testament. They also confirm that Jesus’s words recorded in Luke 21:25-26 will be fulfilled preceding His return to earth in the future.

Revelation 6:12-13 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

Revelation 8:12 (VOICE) The fourth messenger sounded his trumpet, and one-third of the sun, one-third of the moon, and one-third of the stars were darkened. As a result, one-third of their light flickered and failed. For one-third of the day, the sun did not shine; and likewise for one-third of the night, the moon and stars did not give their light.

Luke 21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Susie: The first time Jesus lived on earth as man, He came as a tiny, helpless baby born in a stable to humble peasants. The next time He comes, He will exhibit all His might power. He defeated sin and death on the cross and as He rose from the grave; however evil is still stalking the earth as a defeated foe. When Jesus returns in blazing glory, Satan and evil will be wiped out completely, and God’s children will be avenged.

Susan: The first time Jesus walked on Earth, He was mild in manner and humble of heart (with the exception of tossing the buyers and sellers out of the Temple and railing on the Pharisees during His last week before the crucifixion.) But when He returns, He is going to show up in power, majesty, and glory.

2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 (NIV) God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Susan: The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and slaughter of Jewish people as a result of their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah was a foreshadowing of the destruction of all who have opposed and rejected Him when He returns in great glory.

Susie: Those Christians who heeded Jesus’s warning fled the city of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and many of them escaped death or capture. Those who believe, place their trust in, and rely on Jesus for salvation will avoid the judgement and devastation when He returns in the future. Not only will believers NOT be condemned to Hell, they will be forever in the presence of the Lord, filled with comfort and joy.

Susan: The ones who have rejected Jesus should be riddled with fear at the thought of His return. But for those who have believed and relied on Him, who have relationship with our Lord, the signs of His coming cause eager excitement and awesome anticipation of complete redemption from everything that troubles us—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual trials.

Susie: Therefore, for those of us who trust Jesus, as we see biblical prophecy of Jesus’s second coming fulfilled, we can confidently, expectantly lift our eyes to Him. We need not fear His return because it will result in the completion of all He has promised, all we have hoped for.

Susan: It will be the “great and terrible Day of the Lord” for all who have rejected Jesus, but for those of us who belong to Him, who have been adopted into His forever familyship, it should be a cause of great celebration!

“LIFT UP YOUR HEADS; FOR YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH!”

Ponder this and Apply it: Do prophecies of the great tribulation, of the end times, of Jesus’s return fill you with dread or delight? Examine your heart and evaluate where you stand regarding Jesus. If you have not already done so, we pray you will surrender your life to Jesus’s control and be able to confidently anticipate the joy of His return.


Thursday, May 2, 2019

LUKE 21:20-24 SURROUNDED!


SURROUNDED!
LUKE 21:20-24
(see also Matthew 24 & Mark 13)

Susie: In this passage, Jesus predicts the relatively close event of the fall of Jerusalem that would occur in AD 70. However, some of the same things will be true when Jesus returns to set up the millennial kingdom. Daniel speaks of the more distant future destruction of Jerusalem during the period known as The Great Tribulation just before Jesus returns.

Daniel 9:27 And he will confirm a covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of the temple will come the abomination that causes desolation, until the decreed destruction is poured out upon him.

Luke 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

Susan: Jesus had spoken of wars and rumors of wars, but now He explains that when they physically see armies surrounding the entire city of Jerusalem, they can be assured that its destruction is imminent.

Susie: In AD 70, the Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged Jerusalem. Commentators point out that since Jesus had given this warning about forty years prior, many of the Christians in Jerusalem were able to flee before the final battle when the temple and much of the city were reduced to rubble.

Luke 21:21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

Susan: Jesus’s followers heeded this warning, followed His instructions to the letter, and were saved from death or captivity. However, those who were His detractors failed to accept this as prophetic and were captured or slaughtered in the streets of Jerusalem.

Susie: Normally, a walled city would be a place of refuge, the very place to run into during a battle. However, Jesus forewarned that this would not be the wise choice when the Romans (Gentiles) attacked Jerusalem.

Luke 21:22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

Susie: The destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 was a judgment against the Jews who failed to recognize Jesus as their Messiah. However, it is also a foreshadowing of the judgment and destruction during the Great Tribulation of the end times.

Susan: In some sense, the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in AD 70 served to spread the Gospel due to the scattering of the Christians around the globe.



Luke 21:23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.

Susan: It would be more difficult for pregnant women and nursing moms to escape to safety.

Susie: God’s wrath would be poured out via the hands of the Roman soldiers. God uses even those who do not know Him to bring about His will.

Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

Susie: As stated before, during the fall of Jerusalem in AD70, people were slaughtered, and those who were spared were led away captive. Many of those became slaves. Some were forced to perform as gladiators who fought to the death and others were put in the arena to be torn apart by wild beasts while the crowd cheered. The destruction was brutal. Jerusalem has continually been controlled by Gentiles (non-Jews) since that time. But what is meant by “the times of the Gentiles?”

Susan: Paul uses a similar phrase:

Romans 11:25 (ESV) Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Susan: Some commentators describe the times of the Gentiles as beginning with the Babylonian captivity and ending at the culmination of the church age. The Gentiles are the predominate people being brought into the Kingdom of God, although individual Jewish people do receive Christ. During the Great Tribulation, 144,000 Jewish evangelists, given divine protection from the horrors of that time, will lead millions to trust in Christ, both Jews and Gentiles. We found good articles on “the times of the Gentiles” online:


One theme of Romans 11 is that, when the Jewish people rejected Christ, they were temporarily cut off from the blessings of a relationship with God. As a result, the gospel was given to the Gentiles, and they gladly received it. This partial hardening of heart for Israel doesn’t preclude individual Jews from being saved, but it prevents the nation from accepting Christ as Messiah until His plans are finished. When the time is right, God will restore the entire nation, and they will come to faith in Him once again, ending “the times of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 17:7; 62:11–12; Romans 11:26). https://www.gotquestions.org/times-of-the-Gentiles.html

Ponder this and Apply it: There is no direct application here. However, the Christians who had heard Jesus’s teaching knew to flee Jerusalem and avoided death or capture. Jesus has preserved His word, the Bible, throughout the centuries. If we read His word and believe His statement, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6), we too will be spared. When we trust in Jesus alone and not our own efforts (Ephesians 2:8-9), we will spend eternity joyfully in the Lord’s presence. Those who do not surrender their lives to the Lord’s control experience eternal destruction in hell.

Monday, April 29, 2019

LUKE 21:16-19 PATIENT PERSEVERANCE THROUGH PERSECUTION


PATIENT PERSEVERANCE
THROUGH PERSECUTION
LUKE 21:16-19
(See also Matthew 24 and Mark 13)

Luke 21:16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.

Susie: Shortly after Jesus’s death on the cross, His resurrection, and His appearing to His disciples for forty days, grave persecution of His followers began. In Luke’s second book, The Acts of the Apostles, we see Stephen stoned to death due to accusations from fellow Jews. Then Paul persecuted Christians. All but one of the remaining eleven Apostles were martyred. Jesus’s prophecy of suffering because they bore His name was came to pass immediately.

Susan: Most of the time a Bible prophecy has an immediate fulfillment and a future one as well. As the time draws nearer for Jesus’s return, there will be, and already is an increase in persecution of believers. As recently as a week ago Christians were massacred in Nigeria. Here is a link to a report from March 19, 2019:


Susie: The persecution is widespread and increasing. Voice of the Martyrs published an updated version of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs in 2007 which includes the accounts of martyrs up to the time the book was compiled. I am quoting from the forward of that book:

. . . I must tell you that persecution of Christians is more common in our generation than ever in history. The oft-quoted statistic is that more people died for their Christian faith in the past century than in all the other centuries of recorded history combined. (David B. Barrett, International Bulletin of Missionary Research, January 2007).



Luke 21:17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.

Susie: Believers were despised by Jews and Gentiles alike as confirmed in Acts:

Acts 28:22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against.

Susan: Christians are vilified for testifying to the truth that Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). What we share out of love and concern for all of humanity is twisted to sound like hatred for those who believe differently than we do.

Luke 21:18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.

Susie: Does Jesus contradict what He just said above, that many of them would be put to death? Absolutely not! For those who believe and place their lives in His hands, death here is a momentary doorway through which we pass to be forever with the Lord. He promises that we are securely held forever:

John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

Susan: The second that we breathe our last in this life, our body, our earth-suit, we are instantaneously with the Lord:

2 Corinthians 5:6-8 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

Susie: The King James Version was a little difficult to understand, but we found some help in this commentary:

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers as quoted at https://biblehub.com/luke/21-19.htm

(19) In your patience possess ye your souls.--Better, By your endurance gain ye your lives. The verb, unless used in the perfect tense, always involves the idea of "acquiring" rather than "possessing," and the command so understood answers to the promise, "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved," in Matthew 24:13, Mark 13:13. Some of the best MSS., indeed, give this also as a promise, "By your endurance ye shall gain."

Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Mark 13:13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Susan: These verses are not teaching that we must persevere or endure by our own strength. The Lord is the One who saved us, keeps us saved, and will empower us to persevere.

Philippians 1:6 (ESV)    And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Romans 14:4b (NIV) To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

Susie: The bottom line is this: We are saved, we are being saved (sanctification), and we will be saved (perfected in Heaven); but we contribute nothing to any of it. It is all the work of the Lord in and through us, and He cannot fail. Once we surrender our lives to Him, He will finish what He starts in us.

Ponder this and Apply it: Reflect on the earlier verses in this chapter. Even in the middle of persecution or if we are called to face a martyr’s death, the Lord will fill us with tenacious strength and voracious courage even filling our mouths with the words to speak until the day we leave our earth-suit and He changes our address to our eternal home. We need not live in fear.