ABC Oct. 23-29

October 23 — John 7-8 — “Who are you?”  The question that the Jewish leaders asked Jesus, revealed their fundamental ignorance: “Who are you?” (8:35).  The sad thing is that Jesus had just told them that “I am the light of the world” (v. 12) and that they needed to “believe that I am he” (v. 24).  They were ignorant about Jesus’ human history, thinking that he was a Galilean but being unaware that He was a descendant of David and was born in Bethlehem as required for the anticipated Messiah (7:52).  They were also ignorant about His eternal history, wanting to stone Jesus because He had said, “before Abraham was, I am” (8:58).  They were also ignorant about their own cultural history, if they were sincere when they said, “We … have never been enslaved by anyone” (v. 32).  Their forefathers had been in Egyptian slavery for 400 years.  Jesus showed that they were even ignorant about their true spiritual history.  Jesus told them: “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did” (v. 39) because their father was really the devil (7:44).  People around us are also ignorant about very important things.  They hold a collection of misinformation about what the Bible says and have developed their own philosophy about God and eternity.  Our job is to point them to the truth, to show them what the Bible really says about the things that cloud their thinking.

October 24 — John 9, 10:1-21 — Sent to Sent.  I like this born-blind man.  He was a man of certainty, courage, wisdom, and sensitivity.  When people were confused about his identity, he said, “I am the man” (9:9).  When asked his opinion of who Jesus was, he declared, “He is a prophet” (v. 17).  While his parents “feared the Jews” (v. 22), he stood up to these hypocritical religious leaders’ refusal to believe in Jesus, boldly saying, “Why, this is an amazing thing!” (v. 30), and pointed to the fingerprints of God relating to his healing.  When Jesus found him later and challenged him to believe in Him, “He said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him” (v. 38).  Let us be more like this healed blind man today!  He was sent to Sent (the meaning of “Siloam”) and he went (v. 7).  Let’s do what God tells us to do!  Let’s grow in wisdom and certainty about who we are in Christ and what we believe about God’s Word.  And let’s be sensitive to our wonder-working Savior, worshiping Him with gratitude.

October 25 — Luke 10; John 10:22-42 — “Tell us plainly!”  When Jesus sent out the teams of 72 disciples, their assigned message was, “The kingdom of God has come near to you” (Luke 10:9).  The Jewish leaders heard the same kind of message but they refused to believe.  In John 10:24, they said to Jesus, “If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  Okay, so He told them plainly, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), and their response was to pick up stones to stone Him.  Not plain enough?  He then added, “I am the Son of God” (v. 36).  How clear was that?!  Their response was still negative: “…they sought to arrest him” (v. 39).  Their problem was not about information but about belief.  Our message is also like the message of the 72: “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”  We need to tell people that Jesus is the divine Son of God and hope that they respond with faith instead of stones.

October 26 — Luke 12-13 — Hypocrisy.  The dictionary defines hypocrisy as “a feigning 1) to be what one is not or 2) to believe what one does not.”  Jesus points out three shades of hypocrisy in today’s reading.  The first is that of the secret hypocrite, like the Pharisees, who “covered up” (12:2) what would have shamed them if it were known.  We act like that when we pretend to be holier than we actually are.  The second might be called a superficial hypocrite, who could interpret the changing weather patterns (v. 56) but was insensitive about more important spiritual matters.  We sometimes do that when we publicly pretend that we understand a biblical concept but we really don’t and are too embarrassed to admit it.  We might call the third kind, the indignant hypocrite, like the ruler of the synagogue who objected that Jesus healed a woman on the Sabbath but would be willing to help his ox on that holy day (13:14-15).  We do this when we impose standards on others that we don’t demand of ourselves.  It is easy to act in hypocrisy because it is natural to try to protect ourselves but that is not being open, genuine, or humble.

October 27 — Luke 14-15 — Response to Forgiveness.  There are two very opposite responses to forgiveness in these two chapters.  Those who represented the “righteous” (the Pharisees dining with Jesus and the older son who remained faithful) were both repulsed at the idea of forgiveness.  Forgiveness was unnecessary for them; they felt that they didn’t need it and were disgusted at those who did.  On the other side were “the tax collectors and sinnersdrawing near to hear him” (15:1).  These people, along with the disgraced and wayward son, knew that they needed forgiveness and were drawn toward the giver of grace.  They were not like the one “who exalts himself” but like the one “who humbles himself” (14:11).  God is a rescuer of needy people.  He rejoices over “finding” what was lost, like the shepherd’s lamb (15:6), the woman’s coin (v. 9), and the father’s son (v. 23).  We who are “found” need to rejoice with our Finder that we recognized our need for forgiveness and found it in our Forgiver.

October 28 — Luke 16—17:10 — Loving Money.  Chapter 16 has a lot to say about money and people’s attitude toward it.  The rich man in Jesus’ parable had some problems with protecting his wealth, as he discovered when one of his managers “was wasting his possessions” (16:1).  He had a stewardship problem—not taking care of what he had.  Next, there were the Pharisees “who were lovers of money” (v. 14).  God could see their hearts and they probably also knew it was wrong but they ridiculed Jesus’ parable in an effort to justify themselves (v. 15).  They had an integrity problem—not admitting their sinfulness.  Lastly, there was the rich man who had Lazarus begging at his gate.  It became clear after his death that he had a belief problem—not listening to God’s message through Moses and the prophets (v. 29).  His wealth desensitized him from being concerned about needy people and about what God desired.  Money is a potential danger for us as well.  We can try to reason our way around it, like the Pharisees, but this remains an immovable law of God: “You cannot serve God and money” (v. 13). Since “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Tim. 6:10), we need to obey the command, “Keep your life free from the love of money” (Heb. 13:5).

October 29 — John 11 — Even-now Faith.  Martha and her sister sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick.  They had faith that He could help.  Jesus, however, purposely delayed coming for two days and by the time He arrived, Lazarus had been dead four days.  Jesus told His disciples that part of the purpose for His delay was “for the glory of God” (v. 4).  When they saw Jesus, both Martha and Mary expressed their prior hope for healing by saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (vv. 21, 32).  Was all hope gone?  Not quite—Martha added to her if-only statement that “even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you” (v. 22).  That even-now faith was not too strong, but it expressed some hope.  When they all arrived at the tomb, Martha showed some doubt when Jesus told them to take the stone away from the entrance: “Lord, by this time there will be an odor …” (v. 39).  Her even-now faith had a yes-but element.  Faith is often a struggle for us as well.  We know that God can do anything, but we often have trouble trusting that He will answer a particular prayer of ours.  Our even-though negative circumstances still have even-now potential.  With God, it is never impossible.

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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