LUKE 19:

Jesus and Zacchaeus
19 He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

 

Thoughts and reflections:

1) It’s crazy how many different kinds of people Jesus met and saved during his 3 years. Poor people, people with disabilities, rulers, tax-collectors, fishermen, teachers, priests, rich men…people from all walks of life and backgrounds were drawn to him and he accepted, loved and met them where they were at.  What would that look like in our time?

2) I wonder how Jesus knew of Zacchaeus. Did others talk and gossip about him? He was a known “sinner” and yet out of everyone from that city, Jesus decided to go to his house.

3) Zacchaeus longed to know Jesus. It just goes to show that wealth and riches cannot grant you happiness and security. You still feel a need for something that fully satisfies.

 

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Luke 18:

Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar
35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant.37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.”42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Thoughts and reflection:

1) I love how Jesus literally has no fear of being counter-cultural, of going against expectations and social norms in a crowd of people! He is able to discern exactly who needs him and see who has faith in His power.

2) How did the blind man get Jesus’ attention?

  • called Him by name
  • asked for mercy
  • cried outloud despite others around him
  • proclaimed his faith by asking Jesus for sight

3) How are our physical ailments/disabilities tied to sin and faith?

I’m still struggling through the answer to this.

Luke 18:31-34

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time
31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon.33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

Thoughts and reflections:

1) If the disciples were not given the understanding to grasp what Jesus was saying in the moment, then who are these words for?

  • future comfort and hope for the disciples – that they might remember these words when Jesus is captured and killed, and find peace in the fact that He knew exactly what and how things were meant to play out and that “on the third day, he will rise again”!
  • another confirmation that Jesus is the Messiah that we’ve been waiting for – that He fulfills prophecies of the coming King
  • possibly for Himself to strengthen his nerves/conviction, mentally prepare for the pain to come, encourage his own heart that this is what he came to earth for

2) It never occurred to me that this passage also comes after Jesus asking the rich young ruler to leave all his comforts and everything he possesses behind. How amazing is it that Jesus will never ask us to do something that He himself isn’t willing to do or hasn’t already gone through. Jesus left his place by the Father’s side, his status, riches and comforts because of his love for us. May he give us the same fierce, unselfish love to love him back with.

Luke 18:18-30

The Rich Ruler
18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, 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 go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.”29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers[b] or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Thoughts and reflections:

1) So strange that God does not consider being wealthy a benefit! It goes against everything the world values since we usually believe wealth leading to security, “happiness”, status, freedom, more friends and adoration, good food and comforts. Yet, Jesus considers it burden from those trying to get into the Kingdom of God.  How counter-cultural!

2) My family and I have been poor most of our lives, not financially stable (still aren’t) and we have always considered our lack of money to be a terrible hardship. It restricts our experiences and ability to feel comfortable and secure for any length of time. I guess this is exactly what God wants though, for us to consider HIM our comfort and security, to consider HIM our provider and not rely on ourselves to get by on our own job/ideas/salary. To fight against self is the great battle of the mind.

3) This passage also talks to me about keeping the laws vs. regarding Jesus as valuable above everything. The vital part of becoming a Christian is NOT in the doing, but in the loving. Loving God and loving our fellow man. And yes, loving brings about it actions and obedience to live a certain way. However! Self-righteousness can also bring about actions and keeping the law. Therefore, God asked him to leave everything behind to follow him to see if the rich ruler really did love Jesus above all things, and his decision revealed that his heart was not in the right place.

4) JESUS IS MORE VALUABLE THAN ANYTHING ON THIS EARTH. More valuable than money, sex, friendships, marriage, comfort, status, traveling, good food… the list goes on and on. Do we deepen our belief in this daily or do we let worldly ideas pull us away from this truth?

Luke 18:15-17

Let the Children Come to Me
15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Thoughts:

1) How do people perceive children?

  • annoying
  • naive
  • ignorant
  • no awareness of norms or other people’s expectations
  • unruly
  • no filter on their thoughts and actions
  • asks lots of questions

 

2) What childlike characteristics does Jesus want us to have?

  • curiosity
  • sincere awe
  • trusting
  • honest
  • easily forgives
  • does not care so much about what others think/expect
  • asks whatever they want/no filter
  • always going to Him to provide everything we need
  • an awareness of our inadequacy
  • unashamed
  • bold

 

3) I find being honest and asking God consistently easier to do but I struggle with trusting Him with finances/security and having a constant awareness of my own inadequacies unless I’m going through a struggle. Please God, help me be more childlike in my relationship with you.

 

Luke 18:9-14

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Thoughts:

1) As a believer, I think reminding ourselves of our sinful nature and God’s grace is a moment to moment battle. Self-righteousness can so easily creep up on us in so many different ways!

2) First, we can start to look down on “sinners” who do not outwardly look like they’re giving up much for the kingdom (no tithe, doesn’t fast). How might this look like in our modern society? Maybe someone who has a drinking or smoking addiction, or has anger or pride issues. Yet what makes them “justified” under Jesus is their humility and honesty with acknowledging their sin and asking God for His grace and mercy. Am I this aware of my sinful nature? Or do I live in certain sin comfortably?

3) Secondly, we can start to look down on other believers that interpret truth or texts differently than us. For instance, I struggle to form an attitude of love and instead form an attitude of tolerance towards Christians who hold Sabbath rules so rigidly, contemporary music preferences as sin and pop culture as the devil’s work. It is hard to share the freedom I have in Christ with those that are convicted differently but nevertheless, God calls me to humble myself and meet them where they are at, to be to them what they need for the sake of God’s kingdom.

Luke 18:1-8

The Parable of the Persistent Widow
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Thoughts:

1) The main point of this parable was to remind us to pray and not lose heart. How much more will our God grant us justice when we continually come to Him if an unrighteous judge will be willing to do the same?

2) What do I need to constantly ask God to grant me?

  • health and protection over my family and husband
  • salvation for Filcan
  • wisdom and control over my finances
  • favour from my boss at work
  • triumph over my sin

3) What holds me back?

  • laziness and lack of self-control
  • I think at this point in my walk with God, I do wholeheartedly believe that God answers my prayers. It is in my flesh that I am weak although my spirit is willing. Help me, O God! Continue to inspire and push me towards Your will in my life.

 

 

 

 

Luke 17:20-37

The Coming of the Kingdom
20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”[h]
22 And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.[i] 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building,29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back.32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”[j]37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse[k] is, there the vultures[l] will gather.”

Thoughts:

1)  There is a spiritual kingdom of God and the physical Kingdom of God. The religious leaders were only on the look out for the signs and wonders of the latter, when Jesus focused on the former. Isn’t it just like Jesus to point to the importance of our inner hearts  when we usually get caught up on the outward manifestations?

2) The spiritual Kingdom of God has already come! When the veil was torn, Jesus was able to access every heart and have a personal relationship with each individual. We can now come directly to Him without the middle man (priests). And the second we allow Him to sit on the throne of our lives, we are a part of His kingdom in that very moment.

3)  This passage also has some things to say about the physical Kingdom (second coming):

  • there will be false alarms (v. 23)
  • you cannot miss it (v. 24)
  • suffering and rejection from our generation will proceed it (v. 25)
  • it will be like a regular day (v. 27, 28)
  • people who we are close to, expect to be there will not be saved (v. 34, 35)

5)  This one line “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather” kind of threw me for a loop. Some people think it means, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” (meaning the outward smoke points to something that must be there, fire) They asked him, Where (will the Kingdom of Heaven be) Lord? And I took Jesus’ answer to mean, With Me in heaven. Duh. lol

 

Luke 17 :11-19

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers
11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers,[f] who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”[g]

 

Thoughts:

1)  When we first come to Jesus, we usually stand at a distance. The fact that we’re unclean, unworthy, immoral, and helpless holding us back from a certain degree of intimacy with Him. It is only when we experience His love and goodness do we let ourselves be vulnerable, come closer and enter into face to face (or face to feet? lol)  interaction.

2) ONLY ONE! ONLY ONE CAME BACK! How many times have I been one of the other nine? The one person was a foreigner too, someone who was unchurched. What does this say about the ones who grew up in the church?

3) Reasons we don’t come back to thank Him?

  • get caught up in “the land of the living” surrounded by good things
  • easily forget how He’s come through for us in the past
  • allow pride and self-sufficiency to surround our hearts again

4) What are some ways God has blessed me in this 2016-2017?

  • Sharleen and Heather being with me in HK!!! = not lonely !
  • Easily finding an apartment and moving in together = seamless!
  • new job with Sunkids = Christian boss, friends, good pay, good holidays!
  • citizenship/passport/visa debacle = visiting home for more than a month!!!!, get relationship with God back on track, blessed with friends and help fyya ministry, free time, gives Heather and Sharleen bonding time, reconnecting with ppl
  • amazing hubby, amazing friends, amazing family! everyone is good, healthy, happyish

5) What are some ways to help us not forget so easily?

  • write blessings down and reread as much as you can
  • keep written track record of prayers/answers
  • tell friends and family to have it in their memories as well
  • include gratitude in prayers with God
  • intentionally reflect on what it was like before

 

 

Luke 17:1-10

Temptations to Sin
17 And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin[a] are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.[b] Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
Increase Our Faith
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Unworthy Servants
“Will any one of you who has a servant[c] plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly,[d] and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;[e] we have only done what was our duty.’”

Thoughts:

1)  The main point of this passage finds its foundation in the previous passage that talks about the severity and demands of God’s law. It continues with saying that there WILL be offenses, you WILL break His law and it is impossible for you not to sin, and in doing so, it would be better for you to have drowned than be in that position. (Once again implying that we need a Saviour since failure is a certainty.)

2) The passage makes a turning point in “Take heed of yourselves” which I take to mean keep each other accountable (only with other believers since he’s only speaking to the disciples). Point out the sin in their lives lovingly and forgive those who ask, even if they end up asking seventy times seventy times about the same thing. (Again, underlying all this is the unspoken motivation to forgive, that is because Jesus forgave us so we forgive others.)

3) With almost every point, Jesus does not overtly or directly state their need for a Saviour or forgiveness. Instead, he implies and alludes and hopes that they read between the lines. I guess that’s what he means when he says, “Those who have ears, let him hear.”

4) I never realized that when God talks about having the faith of a mustard seed, he was talking within the context of being able to forgive. It seems that the disciples needed more faith particularly to forgive those who have wronged them.  I guess forgiving can be one of the hardest things to do, but also one of the most heavenly acts one can do. It is not of this world, it does not line up to the patterns of our culture, it finds no roots in earthly values.

5) I’ve seen many friends having a hard time forgiving one or both of their parents. And I have had a difficult time consciously making an effort to forgive my sister for the past. It seems that our family members are usually the ones who have the ability to deeply hurt us and creating lasting baggage that we take with us, if we are not careful, throughout our entire lives.

6) The end of this passage punches home the fact that God commands us to forgive. It is not a request, it is a command! He will not thank us for doing it in the end, it simply becomes a part of our lifestyles as Christians who personally known the saving grace of Jesus’ forgiveness. I don’t know about you but after understanding that, I echo the disciples cry. INCREASE MY FAITH to be able to forgive no matter who hurts me or what they’ve done.

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