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

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 30 - Luke 17:11-18:14: The Kingdom of God, Jesus' Return, and P.U.S.H.

Today’s Reading: Luke 17:11-18:14

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

I'm glad I'm not like the people who say they are glad they are not like the Pharisee who said he was glad not to be like the tax collector.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Jesus healed 10 lepers. Only the Samaritan thanked Jesus.
Jesus told the Pharisees God's Kingdom was already here. To His Disciples He added, "Someday, don't fall for desperate attempts to see Me! I will arrive like lightning—like Noah's day or the demise of Sodom and Gomorrah—quick and sudden."
Jesus taught a parable about a woman bothering a judge until he answered her. "Continually pray to God and He will hear you."
He also compared a Pharisee's pompous chest-beating prayers to a tax collector's humble request for mercy. "The tax collector had his relationship made right, not the Pharisee."

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

The Samaritan leper and the other nine illustrated Israel's problem with God.

Israel was taken out of Egypt and brought into a new land. They were given a stable kingdom and lived in ease. Instead of becoming a lighthouse to the nations they became self-righteous and treated God as just another god. Eventually they rejected Jesus because He was not like them. The Samaritans (half-blooded Jews and outsiders) were willing to listen to Jesus. They obeyed Him and wanted Him to stay around. Just like the Samaritan leper thanked Jesus while the other nine ignored Him, Non-Chosen People bless God while His Chosen People cannot find the time to praise Him.
This should seem somewhat familiar to Chosen People today. We struggle with accepting Jesus as our Lord. We want Him as our Savior to wash our sins away, but we struggle with obeying Him. There are many outside God's Chosen People who bless God. We must be willing to see their praises for what they are and join them.

Jesus' Disciples would one day long to be with Him.

Jesus realized the Apostles and Disciples would have the world's worst case of nostalgia after He left. He knew they would desperately seek to be with Him again. This is why He warned them not to fall into a trap and believe when people said Jesus was right around the corner or hiding in a back alley. Do not listen to anyone saying they are (or have seen) the Return of Jesus. His Return will be so obvious there will be no confusion. Unfortunately, this message has been lost throughout the years when many people have thought themselves the reincarnation of Jesus (or the sibling of Jesus).

The Kingdom of God existed even before Jesus died.

We are left with a large question—what is the Kingdom of God? I have a semi-educated guess. I believe the Kingdom of God consists of any person willing to set things right under God's direction. This is why Jesus told the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God has already arrived. Some people were willing to set things right because they believed in Jesus and were willing to obey Him. Today, we spread the Kingdom of God not by claiming land for Him or by baptizing people in nations all over the earth. We spread the Kingdom of God by making Disciples of people around the world and help them obey Jesus.

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens) is not a trite cliché.

I have a confession to make: I do not like acronyms or other silly language tricks. I especially can't stand ones that are religious (F.R.O.G – Fully Rely On God or the infamous W.W.J.D. – What Would Jesus Do). However, P.U.S.H. is quite biblical. In fact, it quite succinctly summarizes Jesus' parable of the widow nagging the judge until he protected her. Continue to cry out for justice. God will hear you and act.

We must not think too much on the story of the Pharisee vs. the tax collector or we risk becoming the Pharisee.

Jesus wanted to make sure that His Disciples understood that God did not need to hear how wonderful they were. They would not set right their relationship with God if they acted like they were greater than everyone else. Only humility is acceptable to God when we pray. Prayer requires humility—we cannot get what we need on our own. Highlighting your strengths or successes to God does no good.
There is a funny story of a person teaching this story to a group. At the end of the class the teacher exclaimed in an excited voice, "Aren't we glad we aren't like this Pharisee?" In reality, many in the Restoration Movement have almost done this very thing. It is not limited to the Restoration Movement, either. Many Chosen People have thought "God is so lucky to have me (us) as His Chosen Person (People)." We must be ourselves—not too proud but remembering that we are God's Chosen People. If we humble ourselves and allow God to mold us, He will turn us into more than we could be alone.

How is god molding your life?


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