Jesus was the most unusual Man to walk the face of the earth. He was so remarkable that people struggled to explain who he was.
— King Herod was so startled by his activity that he thought Jesus may have been John the Baptist raised from the dead (Luke 9.7).
— Other people wondered if Jesus was Elijah or one of the other prophets, who had been sent by God (Luke 9.8).
— Peter identified Jesus as the Messiah, who was the fulfillment of prophecy from the Hebrew Scriptures (Luke 9.20).
Jesus caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the demons to flee, and the dead to rise.
He was not formally educated, but taught with unequaled wisdom and authority.
In the face of abundance evidence, people who had devoted their lives to God’s service were some of his most ardent opponents.
Jesus Challenged the Religious Authorities
Jesus rightly challenged the religious authorities and the crowd that followed him.
— Luke 12.54 – He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens.
“And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens.
“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”
The people were able to understand weather patterns, but they were blind to God’s agenda through his Son.
Instead of rejoicing over miracles, they argued that Jesus shouldn’t heal on the Sabbath.
Surely some of them had friends or relatives who were among the 5,000 who ate a banquet that Jesus provided in the wilderness. Yet, they asked for more signs.
The people simply did not know how to interpret what God was doing through Jesus.
They failed the prescription: promise + fulfillment + response. Instead of responding in faith, they rejected what God was doing through Jesus.
Do We Understand the Signs of the Times?
The people of God in the first century were so certain of how the Messiah was to arrive that they missed him when he came.
This should give us pause in our theories about the Second Coming.
In today’s YouTube video Rudy Ross and I discuss applying this passage to the return of Christ. Rudy is a very good student on the subject and has some insights that you will appreciate.
Out of curiosity, I checked Wikipedia to see how many times the End is prophesied by people.
— In the first 1000 years A.D., there were 10 predictions of the End of Time as we know it.
Several Christian authors predicted A.D. 1000 as the date for the return of Christ.
— From 1033-1378 there were seven predictions of the return of Christ.
The Black Death or the Bubonic plague (1346-1351) was the most significant pandemic in history. It was the cause of many predictions of the End.
— 1504-1600 – Martin Luther was among the thirteen leaders who predicted the return of Christ.
Luther believed that Christ’s return would be no later than 1600.
— 1624-1700 – Christopher Columbus was one of nineteen persons to believe that Jesus’ return would take place at a certain time.
In 1666 the presence of 666 in the date, the death of 100,000 Londoners to bubonic plague, and the Great Fire of London led to superstitious fears of the end of the world from some Christians.
— Over 100 other prominent people predicted the return of Christ from the 1700’s to the present.
Jerry Falwell, Lester Sumrall, Tim LaHaye, Pat Robertson, and John Wesley are some names we will recognize among those who set a date or year for Christ’s return.
One thing we know. Jesus is closer to his return than at any time in history.
The best preparation for Jesus’ return is to live a Jesus-kind-of-life. As we live like him, we will be best prepared to give our Lord and Savior a welcome back.
Take Care of Business
The next three verses seem out of place, given the thoughts that immediately preceded them.
Rudy Ross reminds us in today’s video that the larger context was a complaint by a man about a family member.
You will recall he interrupted Jesus and said, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me” (Luke 12.13).
We assume the man was still in the audience and Jesus had important guidance for him.
–– Luke 12.57-59 – “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
“Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison.
“I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”
The best way to right a wrong is to absorb the hurt and forgive the wrongdoer.
Paul’s message to the Corinthians is worthy of serious consideration.
He wrote, “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?
“But you yourselves wrong and defraud—and believers at that” (1 Corinthians 6.7-8).
Once again, the best approach is to live a Jesus-kind-of-life and defeat our enemies by making them our friends.
Rudy Ross has several key insights into this passage in today’s video. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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