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Christmas Reflections: Walk Through Luke - Chapter 20



The Gospel of Luke tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.


December 20

Day 20

Luke chapter 20

There are 24 chapters in this book

They bring us through the story of Jesus - the reason for this season.


I also include in the bottom or comments some “extras” like short videos and songs that you may have never heard (or artists you may not know) that resonate with me during this holiday time.


Each post will start with who is who so that you can get a solid understanding of what this chapter is about. I encourage you to read the chapter in your own Bible after you read this. If you don’t have a Bible there are lots of free apps. I use several versions in my studying to ensure I have a full understanding of what I’ve read.


Thank you to the many of you who have engaged in the discussion or who have read these words and wrestled with or embraced what they mean to you personally. These are just my interpretation of each chapter. The thoughts come from researching multiple versions of the Bible. I used The Bible app. It’s free!


Each post starts with outlining who is involved in that chapter, followed by details of what each chapter says - how Jesus engaged - interspersed with my own thoughts. I write these posts to go deeper myself and to keep in my conscious mind how much Jesus loves us. Now - O come let us adore Him back...


This is my commentary.


Who was Luke?

A physician, a researcher, a traveling friend of Paul (mentioned in Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24), perhaps someone researching facts to help the legal case for Paul while in prison in Rome, a non-Jew, the only Gentile author of a book in the New Testament. He penned not only Luke, but also Acts.


New characters continue to be introduced - new in this chapter:

* Jewish leaders

* Farmers, servants, an owner and his son

* Sadducees

* 7 men and a wife

* More unnamed followers


THE PLOT THICKENS

The battle between the Pharisees and Jesus continues to escalate. Read my wall to see how every chapter their plots thicken. It will show you how when people believe one thing (right or wrong) they have a choice to focus inwardly on their beliefs, or focus outwardly on condemning others. This seems to be more prevalent in the last few years than any time I can remember before. In this chapter they believed they were righteous and they were to follow the law (even though I broke down numerous times how they actually broke the law and needlessly had servants break the law for them). The same seems to be the plight of the arguments between political parties of this day and age. The Bible says the government rests on Jesus’ shoulders. My oh my what a heavy burden to carry.

Jesus also said however that there were 2 laws more important than any other - love God, love people. If we got those 2 right the world would experience peace.

Jesus came to fulfill the law and to make it known and to proclaim that if we loved God and loved others - the other laws would automatically be followed.


Here is what happens in chapter 20:

Jesus was teaching once again and these Pharisees were doing everything they could think of to trip him up and then have him arrested.


The leading priests and elders came to Him and asked how He had the authority to teach since he didn’t have any credentials.


Jesus answered their question with a question.

He asked “who gave John the authority to baptize and heal? God or man?” They simply could not answer that because if they said God - then they’d have to also believe what John said about Jesus (if you need to catch up on this - John said he was making way for the One sent by God). If they said man - they would be stoned and attacked by the people because they believed John was a prophet and a healer. They had to just simply tell Jesus they didn’t know. So He told them then He wouldn’t answer them either.

Have you ever been in that situation where you know something but have to make a choice as to how much you say?

HEARING & LISTENING

Maybe this has happened to you before at work. Sometimes just because you know something - the people that need to hear it do not want to hear it. Either because they have their own agendas or because the truth you know conflicts with what they want to do.


In this case Jesus knew that they knew the answer. He didn’t have to spell it out for them.

Their hearts continued to struggle with this - and instead of turning toward him they wanted to turn others away from him. Misdirected energy.

Jesus was going to make a point to the people all gathered listening and told a story:

  • There was an owner of a very fruitful vineyard. He had to go away for some time so he hired farmhands to look over the crops.

  • At the time of the grape harvest the man sent one of his servants to go collect the money from what was produced. The farmhands beat him up and sent him away with nothing.

  • A second and third servant were sent and they were beaten worse than the first and sent with nothing.

  • The owner decided to send his son who he loved very much thinking that surely the farmers would respect him.

  • When the farmers saw the son coming they conspired because if they could kill him then they could own the farm. So they dragged him away from the property and brutally murdered him.


They wanted to exchange something priceless for something they hadn’t earned - just wanted to steal. These farmers killed the owner’s son.


Jesus asked “what do you suppose the owner was going to now do with the farmers? Let me tell you - he will come after each and every one of them and kill them and then give his farm to others who would take care of it better for him.”

The crowd said they thought that was terrible. But Jesus backed it up in scripture

Read it again.

The owner had a very successful vineyard. There were more grapes than the farmers could possibly pick, eat, turn to wine, sell. Their job was to take care of the farm. That is what they got paid to do. They received their wage and they were supposed to give the owner the profits. It wasn’t their farm. They were there to take care of the farm. They thought they could take over somehow and own what was not theirs. The owner had other people on his staff that he sent to get the profits. The first one didn’t go expecting to be Murdered. The second may have been more cautious and actually died a worse death. The owner needed to send someone with more authority so sent his son. Oh - the pain the owner must have had to know his servants and his son were brutally killed. Wouldn’t we seek vengeance?


Perhaps this owner just knew that in order to get his farm in order - he needed to punish the farmers and get people to run the farm who would care for it more honestly.

The story is of course about Jesus.

Psalm 118:22

Talks about how a stone that was rejected by the masons has now become the cornerstone (most important stone). Anyone who stumbles over than stone will break into pieces and if the stone were to fall on anyone he will be crushed and dead.

The priests were infuriated because they knew Jesus was talking about them and that they were the evil farmers in the story.

They were afraid to arrest him however because they didn’t know how the people would react.


RESIDENT EVIL

Instead of a change of heart - they simply wanted to be like the farmers and plot the kill. Funny the power of darkness and evil when taking up residence in a heart.


They tried their next trick by sending spies who were posing as righteous people. They came to Jesus trying to flatter him over his knowledge and how they knew He was a teacher of God. So they asked him a question. “Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar?”


Jesus knew they were trying to trick him so He told them to look at a coin and answer who’s face was on the coin. They all confirmed it was Caesar. So Jesus answered them by saying “give Caesar what belongs to him and give God what belongs to Him”.

This is a good lesson for us when we are challenged with supporting elected officials (local, state, national).

There is the law of the land - but there is also the rule of God. Jesus simply says “follow me”.


The men were very amazed by his answer and had to walk away without success.


NAMESAKE

Next Jesus was approached by some Sadducees. These are people that don’t believe in the resurrection. They asked him about a story of a family. The law of Moses said if a man dies, a brother needs to marry the wife to help her have a child to carry on the family name. A man had 7 brothers. When he died the first brother married the wife and he died and so on until the last brother died leaving the woman a widow. They asked Jesus who she would be married to in heaven.


First - pause here for a second.


What a strange law and I feel for this poor woman who not only didn’t get to marry who she loved but she lived to lose 7 husbands. I am glad we have evolved from those days of rule.


Now - why is that important?

We struggle in 2023 to decipher which “rules” are ok to discard and which ones are adamant to keep.

Jesus again as mentioned above said we are commanded to love God and love others.

Until the righteous people who stop condemning and judging and sinning themselves - then they are not suited to sit in judgement of what laws and rules to keep or break. Sin is sin.


Jesus said that when we hurt one another is it as bad as hurting him. And yet we sit here as a country and world divided - more intent on hurting one another than uniting and living more like Jesus.


Are we surprised then when this world is suffering from a pandemic or when men are turned against men all in the name of votes and power and greed?

Oh Jesus please open our eyes and hearts. Lead us away from temptation and deliver us from this evil.

Back to the story and the question about the widow.

Jesus told them that marriage was for people on earth and that there is no marriage in heaven. People will never die again and they would live like the angels. They are children of God and will live with him in the resurrection. As far as people being raised from the dead - Jesus reminded them that Moses addresses that in the burning bush. He addressed God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob long after they had died. So God is the God of living people and not the dead because they are all alive to him..

This confused the people but also gave them pause to think about what it all meant.

Nobody dared to ask him any questions after that.


Jesus addressed them with another question.

He said “why is it that the messiah is said to be the son of David and yet in Psalms David wrote “the Lord said to my Lord - sit at the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies and make them a footstool for your feet. Since David called the Messiah and Lord - how could he be his son?”


Jesus needed the people to understand Him so He turned to His disciples in front of everyone and said:

“Listen to me. BEWARE of these teachers of religious law. They like to parade around in their fancy robes and have everyone following after them treating them like celebrities when they’re out and about at their pulpits, speeches and rallies and press conferences and events. They only want the best seats at premiere events and fancy dinners - and yet shamelessly cheat widows out of their inheritance, while at the same time pretending to be so religious by praying long and elegant prayers in public. Because of this - they’re going to be severely punished!”

These are warnings. Not just from 2000 years ago but for today as well.

Friends - just because the chapter is over and the book of Luke is coming to a close in a few days, the story is LONG from over.


I encourage you to keep reading, keep learning and growing, keep praying and ask God to reveal the meaning in all of this over your life.


Tomorrow more to come with Ch 21



PRAYER

Lord thank you for your word. Help me to continue to listen more intently and to listen to understand and obey more. Lord for those who may not fully understand - help them and help me shine you brighter. Lord thank you for sending many before me, for people who have preserved your word, and most importantly that you sent Jesus for us, forgave us, and that he’s coming back again for us soon.

Amen.



MUSIC - the universal language

The song that resonates with me today is this one by Danny Gokey https://youtu.be/t-29WLQ3trA


EXTRAS:

This is a clip of a song


Lastly - here is the season 4 trailer of The Chosen. I shared it yesterday but its worth your time. The show is free on the app. But this season will also premiere Feb 1 in theaters. You'll see in this clip a LOT about what todays commentary was about. https://youtu.be/wisX-CEjoxc?si=6GD4thjjXUqEAXKI

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