A THINLY VEILED PARABLE
Date: 3/24/2017 07:11 - Subscribe


And He began to tell the people this
parable ... (Luke 20:9a).

Read Luke 20:9-19

The representatives of the Jewish high
court have been humiliated in front of
the crowd. They just want to slink back
to the high priest's house, but Jesus
isn't done with them yet. Since they
won't be honest enough to say what they
truly feel about John the Baptist, Jesus
uses a parable that answers their
original question and asserts His
authority to carry on His ministry.

In His parable Jesus uses a few brush
strokes to quickly paint a picture of
God's people. He planted them in the
Promised Land, as a man would plant a
vineyard. He lent His nation out to the
priests and religious leaders, who should
use His Word to tend His people and
prepare them to serve one another and
glorify God with their lives.

When the leaders failed to lead His people
correctly, God sent servant-prophets to
call them back to faithfully fulfill their
work of leading the nation in repentance,
faith and good works. But the leaders beat
and mistreated the prophets and sent them
away empty-handed. Finally, the owner sends
His beloved Son-and they plot to kill Him.

The drama is intense. The leaders know Jesus
is speaking about them, and their rage and
fury grow, even as their hidden plan to
murder God's own Son is openly exposed by
Jesus to all the pilgrims, who have gathered
at the temple courts in Jerusalem.

THE PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, You loved the Jewish leaders and
used a parable they understood to reveal the
enormity of what they were planning to do.
Help me see my sins and run to You for
forgiveness and peace. Amen.

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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WHO GAVE YOU THE RIGHT
Date: 3/23/2017 06:23 - Subscribe


... "Tell us, by what authority You do these things, or who is it
that gave You this authority?" (Luke 20:2b).

Read Luke 20:1-8

The Jewish Sanhedrin or high court led by the high priest is the
recognized authority in Jerusalem. They aren't crazy about
Jesus driving the animals and moneychangers out of the temple
and teaching huge crowds right under their noses. So a group
from the Sanhedrin comes to ask who gave Him the authority
to do these things.

They expect Jesus to say His authority came from God. Then
they will demand proof, which they will refuse to recognize, thus
discrediting Him in front of the crowds. Jesus recognizes their
intended trap. He politely answers, "I also will ask you a question.
Now tell Me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?"

Suddenly, their trap is sprung, but they are the ones caught in it!
They could give an answer that would please the crowds, saying
John's authority was from God, but they know Jesus will ask why
then did they not obey him and receive his baptism. If they tell
Him what they honestly think, saying John's authority did not
come from God, they fear the crowd will rise up and stone them
to death because the people held John to be a prophet.

So the only answer they can give is no answer at all: "We don't
know where his authority came from." This is hardly a suitable
answer, since they are considered the leaders who are responsible
for religious instruction in Israel. They are completely humiliated by
the answer they have to give.

Jesus turns it back against them. If you will not answer Me,
"Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, Your authority indeed came from God Your
Father, the same source of John's authority. Help me accept
Your authority and trust in You always. Amen.

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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A TIME TO CLEAN HOUSE
Date: 3/23/2017 07:56 - Subscribe


And He entered the temple and began to drive out those
who sold (Luke 19:45).

Read Luke 19:45-48

The Jerusalem temple was a reminder of God's presence
with His people, and animal sacrifices were a central
component of the worship there. As the worshipper laid
his hands on the animal's head and confessed his sins,
God transferred his guilt to the animal, which was put
to death in his place. All these sacrifices pointed ahead
to Jesus. He is the Lamb of God who would take our
place and be put to death for the sins of the whole world.

Since Jewish pilgrims travelled great distances for the
Passover feast, they were unable to bring along their
own sacrificial animals. Jesus has no problem with
sacrificial animals being available for sale or with
moneychangers converting foreign currency into temple
currency. His problem is where those animals were being
sold-in the courtyards of the temple.

In holy wrath Jesus drives all of them out. He quotes Isaiah,
"It is written, 'My house shall be a house of prayer,' but you
have made it a den of robbers'" (Matthew 21:13; see Isaiah
56:7). It is bad enough to make themselves robbers by
selling the sacrificial animals at unreasonable prices. But
even worse, they carry on their trade in the very courtyard
of the temple, where worshippers are trying to pray to God
amidst all these distractions.

The Jewish leaders are infuriated that Jesus would challenge
their authority and interfere with their trade. But they cannot
destroy Him because the great crowds of pilgrims are
hanging on His words. As we'll see in the coming days, His
teachings will grow more pointed, and His popularity will
continue to increase.

THE PRAYER:

Almighty God, Your Son drove out all distractions from Your
temple courts. Clear my mind of all distractions that I may
worship You with all my heart, mind and soul. I pray in
Jesus' Name. Amen.

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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A LONE VOICE
Date: 3/17/2017 06:38 - Subscribe


And he cried out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on
me!" And those who were in front rebuked him, telling
him to be silent. ... (Luke 18:38-39a)
.
Read Luke 18:35-43

Jesus is approaching Jericho. It's one of His last stops
before Jerusalem. Along the road sits a blind man
begging. Hearing a loud commotion passing by, he
asks what's going on. Someone from the crowd answers,
"Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."

Immediately, the beggar begins shouting at the top of his
lungs. He knows Jesus is somewhere in that crowd,
which is shuffling past him. But unlike the stranger from
the crowd he doesn't call Him "Jesus the Nazarene.
" Instead, he calls him, "Jesus, Son of David." He is
convinced that Jesus is the promised Messiah, David's
Son.

Jesus indeed is the King marching on to save His people
from their enemies. Some in the crowd try to silence the
blind man, but he shouts all the louder to get Jesus'
attention. That is the character of faith: the more people
and circumstances rise up to silence us, the louder we
cry for our Lord to be merciful to us.

We might expect Jesus to be so preoccupied with His
approaching death that He wouldn't notice a lone voice,
crying out to Him in the midst of the clamor of the crowd.
But His ears are attuned to cries for mercy from His
faithful ones. Now that He has accomplished His mission
and won complete forgiveness, we can be confident He
hears our cries for mercy and pity too.

The man is blind no longer. He rises and follows Jesus on
His way.

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus Christ, even as You were journeying toward
Your bitter death, Your ears were wide open to the pleas
of the blind man. Give me confidence that You hear my
prayers for mercy too. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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HOLDING NOTHING BACK
Date: 3/16/2017 06:35 - Subscribe


For He will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be
mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And
after flogging Him, they will kill Him, and on the third
day He will rise (Luke 18:32-33).

Read Luke 18:31-34

Jesus has left Galilee in the north and is on the road to
Jerusalem with His 12 disciples. The crowds are
excited by everything Jesus is doing, and the disciples
are swept up in their hopes and dreams. Jesus tells
them everything recorded in the Old Testament prophets
concerning Him will be fulfilled in Jerusalem. They
expect Jesus to announce His glorious earthly kingdom,
but Jesus paints a very different picture.

Twice before, Jesus has announced His coming death
and resurrection. Both times He veiled the details behind
the words, "The Son of Man must suffer many things.
" Now, however, He spells it out. He doesn't disclose
Judas' upcoming betrayal, but He does reveal that the
Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin, will deliver Him into
the hands of the Gentiles, namely, Pontius Pilate, the
Roman governor.

The Roman soldiers will mock Him, treat Him shamefully
and outrageously, spit upon Him, flog Him, and then kill
Him. The details are stunning. Jesus knows exactly what
He is walking into-and He goes willingly.

This is not at all what the disciples expect or want to hear.
But when those words are fulfilled, they will have no doubt
that Jesus foresaw it all -- and went through it all -- for
them and us.

THE PRAYER:

Almighty God, Your Son knew all He must suffer to save
us from our sins, and yet He took that path willingly. Give
me a thankful heart that I may joyfully follow whatever path
You choose to set before me. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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