Who’s Driving This Thing?

      Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
“‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ (Luke 7:31-34 NIV)

This statement has the oddest context in Luke.  Jesus finishes with the Centurion, healing his servant from a distance, then raises a widow’s son from the dead right in the midst of the funeral procession.  John’s disciples see it, tell John the Baptist, and he sends them back to ask Jesus if He’s the One?  Jesus replies with a “resume” of stuff these disciples have seen (even as they arrive to ask).  He goes on to describe John (greatest man, but least in the Kingdom of God…perplexing also), and then ropes in the Pharisees and Lawyers into his diatribe.  This is what He has to say about them.

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When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave.    When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him;    for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue.” (Luke 7:3-5 NASB)

What would have happened had this big burly Roman Centurion, his Roman Century around him (100 Roman soldiers), swaggered up to Jesus and demanded, “I want you to heal my slave.”  What would Jesus do?  We ask that a lot in situations we get into, but before we really understand an answer, we should probably spend some time with Jesus in the first place.  If you already do, then what would your answer be?  What would Jesus do to a swaggering Gentile occupying soldier making a demand of the Son of God, his Creator, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?  Think it through.  What’s Jesus’ angle, His point, the teaching element, the multi-faceted parable He’s faced with?

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Of Slaves And Masters

“And a centurion’s slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die.
When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave.” (Luke 7:2,3 NASB)

For some people, all people are persons. For others, some people are things. This commander of 100 troops owned a slave, but thought of him as a person, a valuable person. In fact we learn that this Gentile soldier actually cared greatly for the people living in the country he occupied by force. These were not easy people to love by foreign occupation troops, but he does. And we know he is authentic in his love for them because the Jewish elders go to Jesus on his behalf.

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What Do You Have To Share?

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. (Luke 6:45 NASB)

My dad, a computer geek back from the early transistor days, loved the adage, “Garbage In, Garbage Out!”  Now it’s a cliche, but he used it when it was still new, working on guided missiles in the late sixties and early seventies.  Weapons he worked on are still in use today, back when we made them right!  There was a lot of good “garbage” going in in his day.

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What Can You Do For Me…Today?

Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. (Luke 6:23 NASB)

People want to know what they gain by following Jesus, but their language is important.  Whenever I hear, “How is He relevant today?” I’m immediately suspicious that I’m dealing with someone for whom heaven is not much of a motivator.  When it comes to our relationship with God, that’s a problem.

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