An Explanation of Lessons from Lent
In the next 40 days (29 now because you have already accomplished eleven), the weeks leading up to Easter, the posts on Glimpsed Glory will be different. I am reading through the New Testament during this time and I am hoping the Holy Spirit will lead me to a fresh revelation each and every day. I’m going into it with a prayerful heart and an expectant spirit but I will fully confess to you that my soul feels sluggish.
I have been in a place of exhaustion over these last months. My mind has been clouded, my body has ached and insomnia has been my companion since late December. The enemy has been and is still whispering in my ear that my Jesus has forgotten me . . . that He has finally tired of my imperfections and left me behind.
I’m not giving in to it! I am going to fight the good fight of faith and follow the example of my Nehemiah Man. I am going to stand firm in my faith because if I do not, I will not stand at all. I’m praising God for bringing me to a place of emptiness so that I can look to Him to fill my cup.
I’m coming before the Lord and I’m asking Him to do a new thing in me. To rouse my heart to His side and to draw me near in real and tangible ways. To plow through the fog that has settled over me in the form of health issues, physical stress, and emotional upheaval and lay a level path before me. I’m entering the throne room and I’m humbly reminding Him that He has invited me to come in my time of need. O Lord – be near to me. Love me where I am. Take me where I need to be.
That’s the cry of my heart Sweet Sister and I’m thinking that if I am in this place that perhaps you are too. It might be that different life situations have brought us here but here we are. If that’s the case, I want you to know that you are not alone and that you have a faith sister to walk through it with. We can do this together – you and I. It’s why God gave us to one another. We can join our hearts and we can offer up the next 40 days to the Beautiful One and trust Him to do the beautiful thing in us.
So here’s what I’ll do. I’ll post the daily reading on the blog (except for Sundays) and if you read the Scriptures not only will you have read through the entire New Testament by Easter but God promises that He’ll show you deep and unsearchable things you do not know. He promises that His word is alive and active and will transform your heart. I could use some transformation. What about you?
At the end of the daily passage, I’m going to share my “Lesson from Lent” – nothing long or drawn out just something that God uses to speak straight to my heart from the Scripture that day. I’m putting it at the end because if your time runs short on a particular day – I want you to skip reading my words, not His.
I’m hoping that you’ll start your own running record of what God is showing you. Maybe you’ll even be moved to leave a comment so your Sisters can glean from what you’re learning. No matter how you choose to keep track of all He shares with you . . . treasure it up in your heart Sweet One, meditate on it, mull it over, consider the whisper of the Lover of your soul. The God of the Universe is the only Voice we need to revive our tired souls. So, let’s you and I lean in close, pray for ears to hear and hearts to respond. Let’s dig in to the riches He has given us and prepare to be amazed by what He will reveal to our expectant hearts. O Sister, let’s boldly ask Him for a lesson from Lent and then brace ourselves for a glimpse of Glory!
March 3, 2015 ~~ Luke 13-19
Footnotes: I’ve left the footnotes in place if you would like to track down sources in word study and language. Please follow the link to each chapter and scroll to the bottom of the passage.
Just at that time there [arrived] some people who informed Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And He replied by saying to them, Do you think that these Galileans were greater sinners than all the other Galileans because they have suffered in this way? 3 I tell you, No; but unless you repent ([a]change your mind for the better and heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), you will all likewise perish and be lost [b]eternally.
4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them—do you think that they were more guilty offenders (debtors) than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, No; but unless you repent ([c]change your mind for the better and heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), you will all likewise perish and be lost [d]eternally.
6 And He told them this parable: A certain man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it, but did not find [any]. 7 So he said to the vinedresser, See here! For these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and I find none. Cut it down! Why should it continue also to use up the ground [to [e]deplete the soil, intercept the sun, and take up room]? 8 But he replied to him, Leave it alone, sir, [just] this one more year, till I dig around it and put manure [on the soil]. 9 Then perhaps it will bear fruit after this; but if not, you can cut it down and out.
10 Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And there was a woman there who for eighteen years had had an [f]infirmity caused by a spirit ([g]a demon of sickness). She was [h]bent completely forward and utterly unable to straighten herself up or to [i]look upward. 12 And when Jesus saw her, He called [her to Him] and said to her, Woman, you are released from your infirmity! 13 Then He laid [His] hands on her, and instantly she was made straight, and she [j]recognized and thanked and praised God.
14 But the [k]leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the crowd, There are six days on which work ought to be done; so come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day. 15 But the Lord replied to him, saying, You playactors (hypocrites)! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead it out to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?
17 Even as He said this, all His opponents were put to shame, and all the people were rejoicing over all the glorious things that were being done by Him.
18 This led Him to say, What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the wild birds [l]found shelter and roosted and nested in its branches. 20 And again He said, To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of wheat flour or meal until it was all leavened (fermented).
22 [Jesus] journeyed on through towns and villages, teaching, and making His way toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone asked Him, Lord, will only a few be saved (rescued, delivered from the penalties of the last judgment, and made partakers of the salvation by Christ)? And He said to them, 24 Strive to enter by the narrow door [force yourselves through it], for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house gets up and closes the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door [again and again], saying, Lord, open to us! He will answer you, I do not know where [[m]what household—certainly not Mine] you come from. 26 Then you will begin to say, We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets. 27 But He will say, I tell you, I do not know where [[n]what household—certainly not Mine] you come from; depart from Me, all you wrongdoers! 28 There will be weeping and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves being cast forth (banished, driven away).
29 And [people] will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit down (feast at table) in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, there are some [now] last who will be first [then], and there are some [now] first who will be last [then].
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came up and said to Him, Go away from here, for Herod is determined to kill You. 32 And He said to them, Go and tell that fox [sly and crafty, skulking and cowardly], Behold, I drive out demons and perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish (complete) My course.
33 Nevertheless, I must continue on My way today and tomorrow and the day after that—for it will never do for a prophet to be destroyed away from Jerusalem! 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who continue to kill the prophets and to stone those who are sent to you! How often I have desired and yearned to gather your children together [around Me], as a hen [gathers] her young under her wings, but you would not! 35 Behold, your house is forsaken (abandoned, left to you destitute of God’s help)! And I tell you, you will not see Me again until the time comes when you shall say, Blessed (to be celebrated with praises) is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!
It occurred one Sabbath, when [Jesus] went for a meal at the house of one of the ruling Pharisees, that they were [engaged in] watching Him [closely]. 2 And behold, [just] in front of Him there was a man who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus asked the lawyers and the Pharisees, Is it lawful and right to cure on the Sabbath or not? 4 But they kept silent. Then He took hold [of the man] and cured him and [a]sent him away. 5 And He said to them, Which of you, having a son [b]or a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a well, will not at once pull him out on the Sabbath day? 6 And they were unable to reply to this.
7 Now He told a parable to those who were invited, [when] He noticed how they were selecting the places of honor, saying to them, 8 When you are invited by anyone to a marriage feast, do not recline on the chief seat [in the place of honor], lest a more distinguished person than you has been invited by him, 9 And he who invited both of you will come to you and say, Let this man have the place [you have taken]. Then, with humiliation and a guilty sense of impropriety, you will begin to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when your host comes in, he may say to you, Friend, go up higher! Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit [at table] with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled (ranked below others who are honored or rewarded), and he who humbles himself (keeps a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly) will be exalted (elevated in rank).
12 Jesus also said to the man who had invited Him, When you give a dinner or a supper, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, lest perhaps they also invite you in return, and so you are paid back. 13 But when you give a banquet or a reception, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then you will be blessed (happy, fortunate, and [c]to be envied), because they have no way of repaying you, and you will be recompensed at the resurrection of the just (upright).
15 When one of those who reclined [at the table] with Him heard this, he said to Him, Blessed (happy, fortunate, and [d]to be envied) is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God! 16 But Jesus said to him, A man was once giving a great supper and invited many; 17 And at the hour for the supper he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, Come, for all is now ready. 18 But they all alike began to make excuses and to beg off. The first said to him, I have bought a piece of land, and I have to go out and see it; I beg you, have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to examine and [e]put my approval on them; I beg you, have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and because of this I am unable to come. 21 So the servant came and reported these [answers] to his master. Then the master of the house said in wrath to his servant, Go quickly into the [f]great streets and the small streets of the city and bring in here the poor and the disabled and the blind and the lame. 22 And the servant [returning] said, Sir, what you have commanded me to do has been done, and yet there is room. 23 Then the master said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges and urge and constrain [them] to yield and come in, so that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, not one of those who were invited shall taste my supper.
25 Now huge crowds were going along with [Jesus], and He turned and said to them, 26 If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother [[g]in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters—[yes] and even his own life also—he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, wishing to build a [h]farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost [to see] whether he has sufficient means to finish it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to complete [the building], all who see it will begin to mock and jeer at him, 30 Saying, This man began to build and was not able ([i]worth enough) to finish.
31 Or what king, going out to engage in conflict with another king, will not first sit down and consider and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand [men] to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if he cannot [do so], when the other king is still a great way off, he sends an envoy and asks the terms of peace.
33 So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, [j]say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple. 34 Salt is good [an excellent thing], but if salt has lost its strength and has become saltless (insipid, flat), how shall its saltness be restored? 35 It is fit neither for the land nor for the manure heap; men throw it away. He who has ears to hear, let him listen and consider and comprehend by hearing!
Now the tax collectors and [notorious and [a]especially wicked] sinners were all coming near to [Jesus] to listen to Him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes kept muttering and indignantly complaining, saying, This man accepts and receives and welcomes [[b]preeminently wicked] sinners and eats with them. 3 So He told them this parable:
4 What man of you, if he has a hundred sheep and should lose one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness (desert) and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his [own] shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he gets home, he summons together [his] friends and [his] neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 Thus, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one [[c]especially] wicked person who repents ([d]changes his mind, abhorring his errors and misdeeds, and determines to enter upon a better course of life) than over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need of repentance.
8 Or what woman, having ten [silver] drachmas [each one equal to a day’s wages], if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and look carefully and diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she summons her [women] friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the silver coin which I had lost. 10 Even so, I tell you, there is joy among and in the presence of the angels of God over one [[e]especially] wicked person who repents ([f]changes his mind for the better, heartily amending his ways, with abhorrence of his past sins).
11 And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons; 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them. 13 And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living. 14 And when he had spent all he had, a [g]mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want. 15 So he went and forced (glued) himself upon one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed hogs. 16 And he would gladly have fed on and [h]filled his belly with the [i]carob pods that the hogs were eating, but [they could not satisfy his hunger and] nobody gave him anything [better]. 17 Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants. 20 So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [[j]fervently]. 21 And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son [I no longer deserve to be recognized as a son of yours]! 22 But the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. 23 And bring out [k]that [wheat-]fattened calf and kill it; and let us [l]revel and feast and be happy and make merry, 24 Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to [m]revel and feast and make merry.
25 But his older son was in the field; and as he returned and came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And having called one of the servant [boys] to him, he began to ask what this meant. 27 And he said to him, Your brother has come, and your father has killed [n]that [wheat-]fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and well. 28 But [the elder brother] was angry [with deep-seated wrath] and resolved not to go in. Then his father came out and began to plead with him, 29 But he answered his father, Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me [so much as] a [little] kid, that I might [o]revel and feast and be happy and make merry with my friends; 30 But when this son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you have killed for him [p]that [wheat-] fattened calf! 31 And the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But it was fitting to make merry, to [q]revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!
Also [Jesus] said to the disciples, There was a certain rich man who had a [a]manager of his estate, and accusations [against this man] were brought to him, that he was squandering his [master’s] possessions. 2 And he called him and said to him, What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management [of my affairs], for you can be [my] manager no longer. 3 And the manager of the estate said to himself, What shall I do, seeing that my master is taking the management away from me? I am not able to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have come to know what I will do, so that they [my master’s debtors] may accept and welcome me into their houses when I am put out of the management. 5 So he summoned his master’s debtors one by one, and he said to the first, How much do you owe my master?6 He said, A hundred measures [about 900 gallons] of oil. And he said to him, Take back your written acknowledgement of [b]obligation, and sit down quickly and write fifty [about 450 gallons]. 7 After that he said to another, And how much do you owe? He said, A hundred measures [about 900 bushels] of wheat. He said to him, Take back your written acknowledgement of [c]obligation, and write eighty [about 700 bushels]. 8 And [his] master praised the dishonest (unjust) manager for acting [d]shrewdly and [e]prudently; for the sons of this age are shrewder and more prudent and wiser in [[f]relation to] their own generation [to their own age and [g]kind] than are the sons of light.
9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon ([h]deceitful riches, money, possessions), so that when it fails, they [those you have favored] may receive and welcome you into the everlasting habitations (dwellings). 10 He who is faithful in a very little [thing] is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little [thing] is dishonest and unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the [case of] unrighteous mammon ([i]deceitful riches, money, possessions), who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not proved faithful in that which belongs to another [whether God or man], who will give you that which is your own [that is, [j]the true riches]? 13 No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches, or [k]anything in which you trust and on which you rely).
14 Now the Pharisees, who were covetous and lovers of money, heard all these things [taken together], and they began to sneer at and ridicule and scoff at Him. 15 But He said to them, You are the ones who declare yourselves just and upright before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted and highly thought of among men is detestable and abhorrent (an abomination) in the sight of God.
16 Until John came, there were the Law and the Prophets; since then the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone strives violently to go in [would force his [l]own way rather than God’s way into it]. 17 Yet it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to fail and become void. 18 Whoever divorces (dismisses and repudiates) his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.
19 There was a certain rich man who [habitually] clothed himself in purple and fine linen and [m]reveled and feasted and made merry in splendor every day. 20 And at his gate there [n]was [carelessly] dropped down and left a certain [o]utterly destitute man named Lazarus, [reduced to begging alms and] covered with [[p]ulcerated] sores. 21 He [eagerly] desired to be satisfied with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover, the dogs even came and licked his sores.
22 And it occurred that the man [reduced to] begging died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And in Hades (the realm of the dead), being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Child, remember that you in your lifetime fully received [what is due you in] comforts and delights, and Lazarus in like manner the discomforts and distresses; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish.
26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who want to pass from this [place] to you may not be able, and no one may pass from there to us. 27 And [the man] said, Then, father, I beseech you to send him to my father’s house— 28 For I have five brothers—so that he may give [solemn] testimony and warn them, lest they too come into this place of torment. 29 But Abraham said, They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear and listen to them. 30 But he answered, No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent ([q]change their minds for the better and heartily amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins). 31 He said to him, If they do not hear and listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded and convinced and believe [even] if someone should rise from the dead.
And [Jesus] said to His disciples, Temptations (snares, traps set to entice to sin) are sure to come, but woe to him by or through whom they come! 2 It would be more profitable for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were hurled into the sea than that he should cause to sin or be a snare to one of these little ones [[a]lowly in rank or influence]. 3 [b]Pay attention and always be on your guard [looking out for one another]. If your brother sins (misses the mark), solemnly tell him so and reprove him, and if he repents (feels sorry for having sinned), forgive him. 4 And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled).
5 The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith (that trust and confidence that spring from our belief in God).6 And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.
7 Will any man of you who has a servant plowing or tending sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, Come at once and take your place at the table? 8 Will he not instead tell him, Get my supper ready and gird yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; then afterward you yourself shall eat and drink? 9 Is he grateful and does he praise the servant because he did what he was ordered to do? 10 Even so on your part, when you have done everything that was assigned and commanded you, say, We are unworthy servants [possessing no merit, for we have not gone beyond our obligation]; we have [merely] done what was our duty to do.
11 As He went on His way to Jerusalem, it occurred that [Jesus] was passing [along the border] between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as He was going into one village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance. 13 And they raised up their voices and called, Jesus, Master, take pity and have mercy on us! 14 And when He saw them, He said to them, Go [at once] and show yourselves to the priests. And as they went, they were cured and made clean. 15 Then one of them, upon seeing that he was cured, turned back, [c]recognizing and thanking and praising God with a loud voice; 16 And he fell prostrate at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. And he was a Samaritan.
17 Then Jesus asked, Were not [all] ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was there no one found to return and to [d]recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien? 19 And He said to him, Get up and go on your way. Your faith (your trust and confidence that spring from your belief in God) has restored you to health.
20 Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He replied to them by saying, The kingdom of God does not come with signs to be observed or with visible display, 21 Nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you]. 22 And He said to the disciples, The time is coming when you will long to see [even] one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see [it]. 23 And they will say to you, Look! [He is] there! or, Look! [He is] here! But do not go out or follow [them]. 24 For like the lightning, that flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other, so will the Son of Man be in His [own] day.
25 But first He must suffer many things and be disapproved and repudiated and rejected by this age and generation. 26 And [just] as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the time of the Son of Man. 27 [People] ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, right up to the day when Noah went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 So also [it was the same] as it was in the days of Lot. [People] ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 But on the [very] day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed [them] all.
30 That is the way it will be on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day let him who is on the housetop, with his belongings in the house, not come down [and go inside] to carry them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife!
33 Whoever tries to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve and [e]quicken it.
34 I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other will be left. 36 [f]Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left. 37 Then they asked Him, Where, Lord? He said to them, Wherever the dead body is, there will the vultures or eagles be gathered together.
Also [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to [a]turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up). 2 He said, In a certain city there was a judge who neither reverenced and feared God nor respected or considered man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, Protect and defend and give me justice against my adversary. 4 And for a time he would not; but later he said to himself, Though I have neither reverence or fear for God nor respect or consideration for man, 5 Yet because this widow continues to bother me, I will defend and protect and avenge her, lest she give me [b]intolerable annoyance and wear me out by her continual coming or [c]at the last she come and rail on me or [d]assault me or [e]strangle me. 6 Then the Lord said, Listen to what the unjust judge says!
7 And will not [our just] God defend and protect and avenge His elect (His chosen ones), who cry to Him day and night? Will He [f]defer them and [g]delay help on their behalf? 8 I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [[h]persistence in] faith on the earth?
9 He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves and were confident that they were righteous [that they were upright and in right standing with God] and scorned and made nothing of all the rest of men: 10 Two men went up into the temple [[i]enclosure] to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee [j]took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men—extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers—or even like this tax collector here. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I gain.
13 But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the [k]especially wicked sinner that I am! 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright and in right standing with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.
15 Now they were also bringing [even] babies to Him that He might touch them, and when the disciples noticed it, they reproved them. 16 But Jesus called them [[l]the parents] to Him, saying, Allow the little children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for to such [as these] belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly I say to you, whoever does not accept and receive and welcome the kingdom of God like a little child [does] shall not in any way enter it [at all].
18 And a certain ruler asked Him, Good Teacher [You who are [m]essentially and perfectly [n]morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [to partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]? 19 Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me [[o]essentially and perfectly [p]morally] good? No one is [[q]essentially and perfectly [r]morally] good—except God only. 20 You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not witness falsely, honor your father and your mother. 21 And he replied, All these I have kept from my youth.
22 And when Jesus heard it, He said to him, One thing you still lack. Sell everything that you have and [s]divide [the money] among the poor, and you will have [rich] treasure in heaven; and come back [and] follow Me [become My disciple, join My party, and accompany Me]. 23 But when he heard this, he became distressed and very sorrowful, for he was rich—exceedingly so.
24 Jesus, observing him, said, How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to enter through a needle’s eye than [for] a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. 26 And those who heard it said, Then who can be saved? 27 But He said, What is impossible with men is possible with God.
28 And Peter said, See, we have left our own [things—home, family, and business] and have followed You. 29 And He said to them, I say to you truly, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 Who will not receive in return many times more in this world and, in the coming age, eternal life.
31 Then taking the Twelve [apostles] aside, He said to them, Listen! We are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written about the Son of Man through and by the prophets will be fulfilled. 32 For He will be handed over to the Gentiles and will be made sport of and scoffed and jeered at and insulted and spit upon. 33 They will flog Him and kill Him; and on the third day He will rise again. 34 But they understood nothing of these things; His words were a mystery and hidden from them, and they did not comprehend what He was telling them.
35 As He came near to Jericho, it occurred that a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he asked what it meant. 37 They told him, Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. 38 And he shouted, saying, Jesus, Son of David, take pity and have mercy on me! 39 But those who were in front reproved him, telling him to keep quiet; yet he [t]screamed and shrieked so much the more, Son of David, take pity and have mercy on me! 40 Then Jesus stood still and ordered that he be led to Him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 What do you want Me to do for you? He said, Lord, let me receive my sight! 42 And Jesus said to him, Receive your sight! Your faith ([u]your trust and confidence that spring from your faith in God) has healed you. 43 And instantly he received his sight and began to follow Jesus, [v]recognizing, praising, and honoring God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.
And [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through it.
2 And there was a man called Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector, and [he was] rich. 3 And he was trying to see Jesus, which One He was, but he could not on account of the crowd, because he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus reached the place, He looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today. 6 So he hurried and came down, and he received and welcomed Him joyfully. 7 And when the people saw it, they all [a]muttered among themselves and indignantly complained, He has gone in to be the guest of and lodge with a man who is devoted to sin and preeminently a sinner.
8 So then Zacchaeus stood up and solemnly declared to the Lord, See, Lord, the half of my goods I [now] give [by way of restoration] to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I [now] restore four times as much. 9 And Jesus said to him, Today is [[b]Messianic and spiritual] salvation come to [all the members of] this household, since Zacchaeus too is a [real spiritual] son of Abraham; 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.
11 Now as they were listening to these things, He proceeded to tell a parable, because He was approaching Jerusalem and because they thought that the kingdom of God was going to be brought to light and shown forth immediately. 12 He therefore said, A certain nobleman went into a distant country to obtain for himself a kingdom and then to return. 13 Calling ten of his [own] bond servants, he gave them ten minas [each equal to about one hundred days’ wages or nearly twenty dollars] and said to them, [c]Buy and sell with these [d]while I go and then return. 14 But his citizens detested him and sent an embassy after him to say, We do not want this man to become ruler over us.
15 When he returned after having received the kingdom, he ordered these bond servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know how much each one had made by [e]buying and selling.
16 The first one came before him, and he said, Lord, your mina has made ten [additional] minas. 17 And he said to him, Well done, excellent bond servant! Because you have been faithful and trustworthy in a very little [thing], you shall have authority over ten cities. 18 The second one also came and said, Lord, your mina has made five more minas. 19 And he said also to him, And you will take charge over five cities.
20 Then another came and said, Lord, here is your mina, which I have kept laid up in a [f]handkerchief. 21 For I was [constantly] afraid of you, because you are a stern (hard, severe) man; you pick up what you did not lay down, and you reap what you did not sow. 22 He said to the servant, I will judge and condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked slave! You knew [did you] that I was a stern (hard, severe) man, picking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Then why did you not put my money in a bank, so that on my return, I might have collected it with interest?
24 And he said to the bystanders, Take the mina away from him and give it to him who has the ten minas. 25 And they said to him, Lord, he has ten minas [already]! 26 And [said Jesus,] I tell you that to everyone who gets and has will more be given, but from the man who does not get and does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 27 [The indignant king ended by saying] But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to reign over them—bring them here and [g]slaughter them in my presence!
28 And after saying these things, Jesus went on ahead of them, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When He came near Bethphage and Bethany at the mount called [the Mount of] Olives, He sent two of His disciples, 30 Telling [them], Go into the village yonder; there, as you go in, you will find a donkey’s colt tied, on which no man has ever yet sat. Loose it and bring [it here]. 31 If anybody asks you, Why are you untying [it]? you shall say this: Because the Lord has need of it.
32 So those who were sent went away and found it [just] as He had told them. 33 And as they were loosening the colt, its owners said to them, Why are you untying the colt? 34 And they said, The Lord has need of it. 35 And they brought it to Jesus; then they threw their garments over the colt and set Jesus upon it. 36 And as He rode along, the people kept spreading their garments on the road.
37 As He was approaching [the city], at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to rejoice and to praise God [extolling Him exultantly and] loudly for all the mighty miracles and works of power that they had witnessed, 38 Crying, Blessed (celebrated with praises) is the King Who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven [[h]freedom there from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin] and glory (majesty and splendor) in the highest [heaven]!
39 And some of the Pharisees from the throng said to Jesus, Teacher, reprove Your disciples! 40 He replied, I tell you that if these keep silent, the very stones will cry out. 41 And as He approached, He saw the city, and He wept [[i]audibly] over it, 42 Exclaiming, Would that you had known personally, even at least in this your day, the things that make for peace (for [j]freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin and upon which your peace—your [k]security, safety, prosperity, and happiness—depends)! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For a time is coming upon you when your enemies will throw up a [l]bank [with pointed stakes] about you and surround you and shut you in on every side. 44 And they will dash you down to the ground, you [Jerusalem] and your children within you; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, [all] because you did not come progressively to recognize and know and understand [from observation and experience] the time of your visitation [that is, when God was visiting you, the time [m]in which God showed Himself gracious toward you and offered you salvation through Christ].
45 Then He went into the temple [[n]enclosure] and began to drive out those who were selling, 46 Telling them, It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer; but you have made it a [o]cave of robbers.
47 And He continued to teach day after day in the temple [[p]porches and courts]. The chief priests and scribes and the leading men of the people were seeking to put Him to death, 48 But they did not discover anything they could do, for all the people hung upon His words and [q]stuck by Him.
And again the Sisters say “Amen”
Reading through these Scriptures it struck my heart over and over again how utterly unstable I have been in my life. Vacillating from one extreme to another. Running the gamut from the beginning of the spectrum to the end. Setting my feet down and leaving tracks all over the broad road when the narrow was calling to me the entire time.
The biggest lightning bolt to my heart was the parable of the lost son. Not only because I realize afresh where Christ rescued me from but because I am confronted with the many times I have taken the roll of the oldest brother as well. See what I mean? . . . one end of the spectrum to the other leaving footprints all over that broad road.
And as I sat thinking about that it occurs to me that it’s all too easy to slide from knowing where you’ve come from . . . steeped in sin and wishing you could be “fortunate” enough to eat with the pigs . . . straight into judging someone whose been saved from that same fire.
The sins of the lost son were obvious; he didn’t bother to try to hide them. He wore them on his sleeve for everyone to see. I lived that life. My sins were obvious and every bit as grievous as the younger brother. The elder son didn’t air his offenses but they were every bit as sinful. He held them close and nursed his fear of insignificance, lack of compassion, and gracelessness inside. And unfortunately, I’ve lived that life too.
Don’t get me wrong I’ve not fully conquered those two extremes. . . there are times I still slip into lost-son, wear-it-in-on-my-sleeve, wide-open-to-the-world sinning and there are times I still participate in hold-it-close, hide-it-well, mull-it-over offense. And while I wish that wasn’t the case it does drive me to my knees to praise the perseverance of the One who declares that He who began a good work in me will see it through until the day of completion.
So as I read about the sons and so easily identified with both, God opened my heart to the Daddy in the parable. And in the way that only the Lover of my soul can, He whispered to my spirit . . . “Look close Sweet Child, I loved them both.”
At the beginning of the parable the lost son leaves, but Dad never stops watching for his return. The son’s heart may have traveled far from the Father, but the Father’s heart was steadfast and when that boy returned home . . .the Father ran to embrace him.
At the end of the parable, the oldest son, the one who seemed to stay at the side of the Father, reveals a heart that was never near. He stands on the outside of the celebration, stomping his foot in piety and . . . the Father invites him in.
Isn’t that the best sweet nothing you’ve ever heard? The Father loves us even when we’ve run away and squandered everything. The Father loves us when we stomp our foot in His fields and refuse to celebrate. He loves us when we’re dressed in unrighteousness and He loves us when we’re wearing self-righteousness. He watches for us if we’ve wandered off and invites us in when we refuse to move.
And there’s our hope. You and I might have traveled that broad road from edge to edge. We might have been the unrighteous at one time and the self-righteous another. But here’s the Good News Sister, no matter who we are—the prodigal or the pious—HE IS LOVE.
No matter who I am . . . HE IS LOVE. #lessonsfromlent