God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 25 - Luke 10-11; John 10:22-42: Setting Things Right with Your Neighbor

Today’s Reading: Luke 10-11; John 10:22-42

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Similar to the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus wants His Chosen People to no longer focus on "standards" or definitions. He wants us to set things right because we can.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Jesus sent 70 disciples to teach. God's Authority would protect them.
Jesus was asked "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus told a parable about a Samaritan man who helped a stranger. The Samaritan was the man's neighbor.
Jesus taught the disciples to persistently ask God to give what they needed. God would give what was best.
Jesus complained, "You want 'signs' but argue over minutia. Your eyes are too narrow to allow in My Saving Light. Stop looking for loopholes around God's Law."
Pharisees and religious scholars wanted Jesus murdered.
Jews refused Jesus as their Shepherd, but many believed in Him.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Jesus' missionary style was to allow insiders to call people to the messengers.

Churches have a problem going out. We love to stay in and wait for people to somehow find us. Jesus wanted His disciples to find a generous person and let them bring others to hear about Jesus. This is similar to how the first city accepted Jesus as their Lord. Find people in your city who can call others to listen to the Good News.

Jesus removed any limitation to the definition of a "neighbor".

As He did in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus took a standard (or a request for a definite answer) and turned it into a mindset. The Samaritan helped the man because He wanted to set things right. There was no law or moral code requiring him to act. There was no money in helping the man. The injured stranger needed someone to help him and the Samaritan was the one. There is no rule or standard to who constitutes your neighbors. Help anyone who needs your help.

Mary understood what was essential and what could wait.

I believe Jesus' point wasn't that kitchens were unnecessary. His point was that priority should go to learning how to set things right. We should not use this story as an excuse to never leave our lecture halls or living room small groups to do community service projects. We should learn from this example not to siphon time from the essentials in order to keep up a sparkling-clean home.

Jesus taught that prayer is like a friend calling another friend to help.

I struggle with prayer. It isn't because I don't think God hears my prayer or that He doesn't want to answer them. I struggle because I have difficulty seeing prayer as calling out to a friend to help in the middle of the night. It seems too distant, too formal. I struggle to balance rote prayers for the sake of praying and persistently praying for what I need. However, persistence pays off—especially when it comes to God. Before you start praying a million times for $10 million, remember that God gives us what we need. Don't bargain, ask for tradeoffs, or give ultimatums. Continuously ask God to set things right until it happens.

Jesus came to set things right, not perform magic tricks.

The Pharisees, religious scholars, and Jews wanted Jesus to perform sign after sign. They were not interested in following Jesus but discrediting Him, as I mentioned earlier. Jesus would not perform a miracle at their every beck-and-call. They had all the evidence they needed. They lacked faith not evidence.

It is not the outside that matters. The outside should mirror the inside.

The Pharisees struggled to obey God because they wanted all of the esteem from obeying God without the hard task of changing themselves to set things right. This is why Jesus has to make them see they are like a clean tomb—the dirty, dead bones are inside.

Do you struggle with praying like you are asking a friend for help?

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