Monday, February 18, 2013

Parable of the Rich Man, Part 2

Welcome to Part 2!

In Part 1 we had a bit of an overview of the Book of Luke in the Bible.

Chapter 12 of Luke is the chapter that stopped me in my tracks.  

I can't wait to get to that point, so let's move on!

Chapter 12

Jesus warned His followers against the teaching and lives of the religious leaders.  He said the path they  walked would lead to death.

A natural question at this point would be:

If the religious leaders didn't know God and their way would lead to death, then, 
how can someone know God?  What is the way to Life?

Ok, because I believe that the things Jesus teaches are Truth, let's switch to present tense.  Try to imagine you are one of His followers or maybe one in the crowd, interested in what He has to say . . .
He is speaking now:

Jesus warns His followers that if they believe what He says and start to live the way He teaches, they will be hunted by the religious leaders, too.  His teachings are so revolutionary that they will be treated like criminals for following them.

He spends a lot of time in this chapter reassuring His followers that God loves them and God will take care of them.  

He tells them not to be worried about what they will say when they are brought to trial as criminals.  He says the Spirit of God will teach them what to say right in that very minute they need it.

What does Life in God's Kingdom look like?  How do people live there?

(Oh, man, are you ready?!  This is pretty amazing stuff and you may not ever be able to go back after hearing it!)

Jesus says that people who live in God's Kingdom trust God to care for them.
He says that God loves His people so much that He cares for their every need.  

God gives them food and drink.  
God gives them clothes to wear.  
     God gives them everything for life.  

Instead of worrying about these things and living their lives to provide themselves and their families with these things, people in the Kingdom of God seek God and believe that He will provide what they need to live.  Free from worry about "tomorrow," they use what God gives them to serve others, today.

Jesus tells a story to emphasize his point.  And, as many of His stories are, it is a parable.

The Story of the Rich Man

“The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’
Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’  

The Rich Farmer is a negative example.
He is rich already.  He has land that is very productive.  The land produces a great harvest.  
He has a barn but it isn't big enough to hold all the harvest. 
Problem:  What to do with the extra that he doesn't have room to store?

His Solution:  Find a way to store everything in his harvest.  Tear down his barn and build bigger ones.
Why does he want to do this?  - So he can stop working and not worry about what he will eat.  He can retire and live off his stored goods and grain.
God says to the Rich Man:  You fool!  Tonight you will die.  Now, who will own what you have prepared.

Jesus' Answer to the Parable

Don't worry, God will give you everything you need, including food, drink and clothes. 
God cares for the tiny creatures of His Creation and He will care for you. 
You are so much more than what you eat, drink or wear.
Seek God's Kingdom and then all these other things will be given.

Are you ready?  Now He tells them what they are supposed to do. . . 

Instead of worrying and storing up for themselves for the future, the people in God's Kingdom:
1.  Sell their possessions.
2.  Give to charity/to the poor and needy.

WHY? - People in God's Kingdom don't store up things here on earth.  They give!  God provides for them and they are free from worry.  They are free to think and live eternally - with a view toward Heaven.  Treasures for Heaven are found in giving to those in need.  

Oh my!  We are free!  Free to give and give and give from all the abundance God provides!  

This is so deep and wide and high; I can barely put my brain around it.  

Need some time to let it soak in?  
Me, too. 

to be continued . . . 

Parable of the Rich Man, Part 1

I love studying God's Word.  I hear God speak to me and I come away changed.  
Sometimes the changes are so world-shattering; I can never go back.  

This month God has had me in the Book of Luke.

I will never be the same. . . 
Luke was a physician who traveled with the ex-Pharisee, now follower of Jesus the Messiah, Paul.  Paul had a dramatic conversion where he claimed he heard the voice of Jesus and then was blinded for several days.  He was now traveling all over the Roman world teaching Jews and non-Jews about Jesus and why he believed Jesus was the Messiah - the Son of God sent to earth to proclaim that The Kingdom of God had come again on earth.

Luke also believed that Jesus was the Messiah  He wrote a book for a man named Theophilus (Lover of God) who was probably a Roman official of some sort.  Luke tells Theophilus that he has investigated everything carefully from the beginning and is writing it out for Theophilus in consecutive order, "... so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught."  
Luke's book to Theophilus is a biography of Jesus.

What did Luke write about Jesus?  What did he tell Theophilus - - over and over?

1.  Jesus proclaimed and taught about "The Kingdom of God."  
                   Jesus told stories that explained what God's Kingdom is like, 
                   what the people in The Kingdom are like,
                   and how people can become part of The Kingdom.  

2.  People were sick and dying.  
                   Jesus healed sick people and brought dead people back to life.  He made them 
                        healthy and alive.

3.  People had demons and spirits living in them - making them sick, "crazy," and slaves to the demons.  
                   Jesus cast out demons from people.  He set them free.

4.  People were living in the terrible consequences of their sin.
                   Jesus forgave people's sin.

5.  Jesus said He was the Son of God, The Messiah.

Jesus had thousands of people coming to hear Him speak and teach.  They followed Him wherever He went.  They asked Him to heal them and to cast out demons.  Jesus had a smaller group of followers that He hand picked to teach personally and intimately.  He trained these followers to also go into the villages and towns and teach about what He called The Kingdom of God.  They, too, healed the sick and cast out demons from people.

Not everyone who heard Jesus teach liked what they heard or believed He was teaching the Truth.  Many of the religious leaders disagreed with what Jesus taught and what He did.  They believed  He was actually a servant of Satan, not God.  They wanted to trap Him somehow in His Teaching so they could prove He was wrong and have Him discredited with the people.

Jesus had very harsh words for these religious leaders - priests, experts in the Law of Moses, members of very conservative religious groups.  He said that they tried their best to look and be important and "God-like" but they were really dead men on the inside.  He said that they didn't know God at all.  He warned the people following Him to stay away from the religious leaders and not to follow what they taught.  Jesus told the people that the way of the religious leaders would lead them to death.

If the religious leaders didn't know God and their way would lead to death, then, 
how can someone know God?  What is the way to Life?

Ok, let's stop here.
It brings us up to about Chapter 12 in Luke's book. 

The real meat of what God opened up to me this week is still yet to come!  
Be warned!! 

to be continued . . . 

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