We are going Jerusalem and everything written about the Son of Man will be accomplished

And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. Luke 18:31-34

Today’s verses mark the third time Jesus told His disciples About what was to happen to Him in Jerusalem. This time however Jesus gave details as to what was in store. Including this time that He was to be handed over to the Gentiles. That means you and me and all non-Jews. All too often the Christian church looked on Jews as killers of Jesus. This is a main reason Jews have been persecuted over the centuries after Jesus’ death. Yes, the Jews wanted Jesus executed but under Roman law they did not have the authority to execute Jesus.

One of Jesus’ major prophesies was His on death, burial and resurrection. Now many skeptics will say Jesus never made any prophesies but they seem to miss the three times He predicted His death and resurrection. I have just finished reading Twelve Points That Show Christianity is True by Norman Geisler which is a condensed version of Geisler’s Twelve Step apologetic program. He devoted one chapter to the miracles and prophesies of Jesus.

Jesus is heading to Jerusalem with His twelve closes disciples. Jesus knows what is in store for Him and is letting the disciples know once again what to expect. And as is usual with the twelve they just do not understand.

Have a blessed day,

David

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Salt

“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 14:34-35

In the ancient world salt was extremely important. So much so the Roman soldiers were often paid in salt. The Latin word for salt is sal and when the soldiers were paid in salt they received a salarium from which our English word salary comes. Salt was used for centuries to preserve food. It adds flavor to food and it is needed by the body, especially in hot and dry climates.

Today however we tend to make salt a bad thing. Everybody is supposed to monitor their salt intake and if they do not they are made to feel guilty. Large amounts of salt can be found in almost every packaged food item in the grocery store and in abundance in fast foods. You just cannot get away from salt.

Our bodies need salt. We cannot function without it. And just as our bodies need salt so does our Christian faith. Jesus needs us to be the salt of the world. We need to go out and season other’s lives with the Good News of Jesus’ life. His death on the cross and His resurrection. We need to tell others that Jesus has conquered death and provides a way for each of us to be restored to a good standing with God.

Sometimes though we lose our saltiness. What I mean is we decide to stay in our comfort zone and not share the Gospel message with others. We forget Jesus commandment to go out into the world to share His message. Maybe we were hurt by someone. Maybe we are just too insecure to talk to strangers. The reasons are many and each of us can come up with some reason we should not evangelize.

I have some good news for those who have lost their saltiness. You do not need to talk to other to share the Gospel. How you live your lives is the greatest testimony to Jesus one can give. If you can type you can do what I have done, start a blog to share God’s Word with others. I by no means have a great following when one thinks about the number of people using the internet. But in my own small way I have reached people the world over. Or think of some other way to get Jesus’ message to others.

I am going to skip forward in Luke’s gospel and look at his account of Jesus’ last days leading up to His crucifixion. I promise that after Easter I will return where I left off. Finally, if you are salt and light congratulations, keep up the good work. And if you have lost your saltiness do not despair you can get it back and become what Jesus wants each of us to be, salt and light to the world.

Have a blessed day,

David

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Responding to Textual Criticism

dwwork:

Another great post from Veracity.

Originally posted on Veracity:

VilifyWhen someone confronts us in a particularly offensive manner or strikes at a deeply held conviction or belief, most of us have a natural inclination to fight back. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to let anger and emotions get the better of us.

Like it or not, we live in a world where there is little tolerance for people who think differently. From a purely cultural perspective, we are far less apt to listen and empathize than we are to attack and vilify. To win is to vanquish our enemies. Or is it?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak…

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Does the Euthyphro Dilemma Disprove God? (Part 4, final)

dwwork:

Final post on the Euthyphro Dilemma

Originally posted on Thomistic Bent:

This is the last in a series of posts about a moral question called the Euthyphro Dilemma, which is sometimes given as a challenge to God. See the first three parts for an explanation of the problem and the first four responses.

Fifth, the skeptic’s use of the Euthyphro Dilemma does not explain how the concept of good can exist in a materialist world. If God does not exist, then only natural forces exist, and ‘good’ can only be the result of natural forces. But natural forces such as electromagnetism or gravity are morally neutral, and have no concept of good or evil. In a materialist world, natural forces have no choice but to exist and cannot be different than they are. Moral commands tell us that an immoral person ought to act differently, but a materialist world can only produce things that must act the way they do. Therefore…

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Count the cost

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:25-33

Too many Christians think that once they follow Jesus life will be one big party with no cares. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nowhere does Jesus promise us a problem free life. In fact as we see in today’s verses what Jesus does promise is we will pay a cost to follow Him.

Jesus tells us today that in order to follow Him we must hate our father, mother, spouse and children and we must hate our own lives. Wow! Very strong words. How can a God who is all loving tell us to hate? Jesus is not actually telling us to hate. What He wants us to do is put Him before everyone and everything else.

When we put Jesus and God first then our lives take on new meaning and other parts of our lives become better. I said better not great or perfect but better. There will still be trials and tribulations. But when the things happen we will have God to bring us through. He will get us through but God will most likely not make us rich or healthy or make others like us. In fact people will hate us because of who we follow.

Some of us will pay the ultimate price for follow Jesus. We see this today in the Middle East as ISIS thugs murder Christians for the crime of being Christian. But even in the West we will see scorn and hatred because we are Christian. When we tell others what God says about sin we are condemned as intolerant and haters. Any sign of Jesus or Christianity in the public arena meats with outrage and law suits. In Canada today if you preach that homosexuality is a sin you can be arrested and jailed as using hate speech. In the US you may not be jailed but you will be shouted down and accused of bigotry and hatred.

So, when someone tells you that if you have enough faith in God all will be roses and life will be easy ask them to look at what Jesus tells us in today’s verses. I do not know about you but carrying a cross does not seem like too much fun. In Jesus time to carry a cross meant you were on your way to be executed. It was meant as a means of public humiliation. None of that seems much fun. What being a Christian means is willingly taking up our cross to follow Jesus no matter the cost. It may mean losing family, friends and making enemies but the reward is eternal.

That carefree life where there is no pain is not for this earth but we will each enjoy it. But to get there we must follow Jesus and do as He did. Take up our cross and tell the world who we follow and why.

Have a blessed day,

David

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But they all alike began to make excuses

When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ” Luke 14:15-24

Have you ever accepted an invitation to something only to later decide you really did not want to go? How do you get out of it gracefully without hurting the host’s feelings? So you come up with some emergency or some problem you must solve rather than attend the party. Oh, you tell the host how sorry you are and how you really are going to miss the party. In today’s verses Jesus is further expounding on the party theme from before.

He tells the Pharisee about another banquet that a man is giving. When the day of the banquet arrives all the original guests come up with one excuse after another as to why they cannot attend. This angers the host and he commands his servants to go out into the city and invite the poor, lame and cripple to the banquet. Then when there is still room the host commands the servants to go out into the countryside and again invite the less fortunate. And the original guests, they are banned from the banquet.

The Pharisees who saw their admittance into God’s kingdom are the original guest, the Jews, God’s people. These leaders of the Jews made every excuse they could think of to not follow Jesus and not admit that Jesus was the Messiah. But some Jews, the poor, the lame, the cripple and those not in the elite saw Jesus for who He was, the Messiah, God with us.

Those outside the city are most of us, the Gentile who upon hearing the Word of God accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. God still wanted the Jews to come to Him but they refused to believe what they had seen with their own eyes so Jesus commissioned Paul to bring the Word of God to the rest of the world.

Today people still come up with every excuse they can think of to not believe in Jesus. The say He did not really exist or that there is no God. They refuse to accept the evidence. Some may say that just give me some more time and then when I am older I will look into this Jesus you follow. But like the Pharisees in today’s verses they will miss out on the greatest banquet of all time. They will miss out on a chance to dine at the Lord’s Table. They will not taste the banquet of the Lord.

Have a blessed day,

David

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You will be blessed

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:12-14

It is amazing the feeling one gets when we help someone or do a kindness for someone who cannot repay us. In today’s verses Jesus, still at the dinner at the Pharisee’s home, tells those gathered at the table how they should act. Jesus tells them that when they have a dinner invite the poor, cripple and those less fortunate. When one invites friends and the wealthy there is an understood agreement that if I invite you to my dinner you will invite me to yours. The poor however cannot repay such an invitation. When friends invite you to their parties your have received your reward here on earth. But when your feed to poor and help those less fortunate than your reward will be eternal.

Jesus often commands us to help those less fortunate that we are. Paul in his letters tells us to do the same. For centuries the poor and ill were helped by family, friend, neighbors and the churches. People took it on themselves to help others.

Then starting around the time of the Great Depression governments stepped in to do these things. The more the governments did the less people did to help each other. This has gotten so bad that many Western economies are struggling to keep doling out the government assistance so many has come to depend on for their livelihoods.

We no longer help our neighbors because we have come to believe governments can help so much better than we can. But governments are faceless and impersonal. Governments by their nature roll out one size fits all programs and people become trapped. When individuals and churches get involved we can minister to the person and help them get back on their feet.

We do this because it is the right thing to do and because God asks us to take care of our neighbor. When we help in the name of Jesus we store up treasures in heaven but we are also rewarded here on earth by a smile or a heartfelt thank you from those we are helping.

We do not want to be like the Pharisees who do things so we can be repaid for out kindness. We want to be like Jesus helping those who cannot return the help.

Have a blessed day,

David

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