August 18


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Luke 13:18-15:32

We are in the Christ Stream reading from the Tree of Life Version.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

God, thank you for sending Jesus and saving us as we respond to your relentless love.  Your ways are not only perfect, they are fascinating. Amen.

13 – Luke is bolstering up a few lessons here as Jesus is finalizing His time in Perea; a region east of the Jordan that started ca. 25 miles south of Galilee and ran south to about 15 or so miles worth of shoreline on the Dead Sea.  Jesus is teaching about the Kingdom of God and the fact that it is going to grow. Plan on it. Jesus did not come to earth to teach maintenance. The Kingdom of God is an enterprising growing Kingdom. A Bible study of 6 should be the headwaters of 8-10 church plants throughout life. If 6 spends 55 years remaining 6, they are not “Kingdom-minded.” God is not impressed with “terrarium faith” {just seal it in and hang on to what you have}.  One preacher called this, “getting what you can, canning what you get, and sitting on the can”.          The interaction about whether a few will be saved or not is a perceived question that came out of the person’s misperception. And with Jesus’ answer about the “narrow door”, some surmise that only a few will be saved at a time…like a crowd being shuffled through a single turnstyle that acts as a funneling bottleneck. Others then envision St. Peter on the other side of the pearly gates bellowing to slow down because he is getting overwhelmed since he can only check-in so many people into heaven and can only do so at a snail pace…it might crash his computer data processor.  All of this limping logic is understandable but none of it is true.  The phrase “narrow door” is the translation that surfaces often but it actually is referring to an abrasive entrance  [This becomes obvious when reading the Greek Translation ~ though it is a  trifle skewed and muddled abit in our English versions.] It requires committed focus to enter – one must be ‘all in’ or he will be ‘all out’. Pay attention to Jesus. walk the balance beam not the Highway to Hell. Jesus is leading a team to another world that will reside in another solar system. He is not hosting a cocktail party where even a fake I.D. will get you in and we hang out and sauce around, play with yo-yo’s, dwell in hammocks and angels serve from an open bar stocked with “holy spirits”.  My husband and I talk about this regularly – that an alarming number of people are simply ‘chillin’ in Church. They’re just there because they are … well, just there.  We can say we know about God, but have we really let Him in to be Lord?                The Pharisees acted like they cared about Jesus’ welfare claiming He should leave Herod’s district warning “Herod wants to kill you…” REALLY? Herod wanted to see a miracle when he finally met Jesus during the trial. He didn’t want Him dead.  He kind of didn’t care.  The truth is the Pharisees wanted Jesus dead…so they feign concern cc. Herod. Peculiar deflection and aside. The Pharisees were phoney as a wooden nickle!  Jesus’ reply to these Pharisees of Jerusalem gets the precise response from Jesus.  Herod gets called a [sly] “fox”, and these Pharisees get called murderers of the prophets.

14 – Jesus is at a Sabbath feast with Pharisees and He is being watched like a dying animal is watched by vultures. These Pharisees do not have favorable intentions. Jesus heals a man who was suffering from edema – a likely symptom is legs swollen up like balloons.  And the Pharisees are offended that He healed on the Sabbath. But think about it, what are the Pharisees demanding but that all the feast preparation be done for them, so that they can kick back and play the gobbling chow hound for hours –> on the Sabbath. My husband and I have dined in Jerusalem, Galilee, Joppa, Bethlehem.  The feasts of Israel are immense. No quick microwave, open a few cans, whip up a dish, oh no!  These feasts are labor intensive. and The chefs sure tootin’ better be “breaking the Sabbath” for these Pharisees – but no one else can!  Jesus then launches into a speech about humility and refusing to self-exalt, but to care and reach out v.s. constant jousting and positioning.  The most important thing is to be invited to come dine with God, and once that invitation comes, drop EVERYTHING and get to the table.  And be inviting others to come dine with God also.    This coming to God, joining His Kingdom, following His Son must be “priority-One”. It is more important than earthly family. It must be assessed fully, entered into, planned out, and once we are joined into His Kingdom endeavor, we must have an affect (like salt).  If we don’t, it is because we have not made His Kingdom to be “Priority One” in our lives.
15 – Luke is showing his wondrous agenda of proving to the world that Jesus seeks out the lost to find and redeem them again.  Remember Luke was the pastor of the Church at Philippi from 51 – 58 A.D. Philippi was where Luke practiced medicine. He was noting that the Greek world -that he lived in- needed to definitively know his Jesus. So Luke compresses these three stories together to forever drive home the truth that God is God, and God seeks them out.  He does not wait for you to decode, sift enough sand, read carcass livers, or tea leaves or thousands of other laborious things that ALL the other religions of the world demand that you do so that YOU find a god to follow and worship.  No. All these are fruitless pursuits akin to trying to embrace a cloud of fog.  It can’t be done. He finds US because He seeks US out.  And the relationship commences when we cease running from Him, cease fighting Him, cease trying to “do it our way”.  No other religion on earth now or in history is championed by a god who seeks to find us.  That should end all religious debates.

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