devotional post # 2051

Luke 21:5-6

Luk 21:5 Also, since some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with precious stones and dedicated gifts, he said,
Luk 21:6 “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”


In the game “Jenga,” each player takes a turn placing a block upon the tower, being careful to keep the tower balanced because eventually the whole tower will collapse. The loser is the one who caused the collapse. The trick is not being the one who causes the inevitable.

No one thought of the temple buildings like that. They thought those buildings would outlast generations. But Jesus knew different. We have not learned that lesson today, either. We still put our trust and confidence in things that we see — things which are doomed to be destroyed.

LORD, build us on the inside, with stones that will stay no matter what.

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giving out of deficiency


devotional post # 2050

Luke 21:1-4

Luk 21:1 Jesus looked again and saw the rich tossing their gifts into the contribution box,
Luk 21:2 and he saw a needy widow put in two leptons.
Luk 21:3 And he said, “Actually, I tell you, this needy widow has put in more than all of them.
Luk 21:4 Because they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her deficiency put in all she had to live on.”

giving out of deficiency

I saw the Jeepney conductor’s eyes roll when I gave him my fare. At the time, the cost for traveling from one section of the city to another in the Philippines was one and a half pesos (which translated to about six cents US). I decided to give my fare in centavos. Fifteen ten-centavo coins was technically the appropriate fare, but I had never seen anyone try doing that. Nobody used ten centavo coins.

It must have been like that for this widow. All she had to give were coins of so little value that the general population considered them worhthless. But the Lord praised her for her generosity. He needs nothing, but he appreciates it when we give because of our gratitude, not because we have so much we will not miss it.

LORD, show us the joy of giving out of our deficiency.

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people watching, people listening


devotional post # 2049

Luke 20:45-47

Luk 20:45 And since all the people were listening, he said to the disciples,
Luk 20:46 “Beware of the scribes, who like walking around in long robes and who love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets,
Luk 20:47 who keep on swallowing up the houses of widows and pray lengthy prayers because people are watching. These will receive more severe judgment!”

people watching, people listening

The scribes were supposed to be a resource for people. They were supposed to know enough about the word of God that they could give clear interpretation of it to others. But the scribes that Jesus encountered were guilty of making idols of their own reputations. They cared only about the people watching. So, Jesus condemned them while other people were listening. If they felt no guilt for their hypocrisy, perhaps they would feel shame.

LORD, make us people of integrity who do the right thing even if no one notices.

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merely or more?


devotional post # 2048

Luke 20:41-44

Luk 20:41 But he said to them, “What does it mean when they say that the Christ is David’s son?
Luk 20:42 Because David himself says in the book of Psalms, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,
Luk 20:43 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ‘
Luk 20:44 David calls him ‘Lord’ for this reason, so how is he his son?”

merely or more?

Jesus is not denying that he was born in the line of David. But he is challenging his listeners to consider whether he might just be more than that. If Jesus was merely David’s descendant, he might stand to inherit his earthly throne. Of course, there was that little matter of the Roman empire, as well as the impostor king Herod, who might have contended with him over that rule. But the Old Testament scriptures record David’s contention that the Messiah would not merely be his descendant, but also his Lord.

LORD, thank you that you are so much more than we can imagine.

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he will not forsake us


devotional post # 2047

Luke 20:37-40

Luk 20:37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses revealed at the bush, when he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob.
Luk 20:38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, because all live to him!”
Luk 20:39 And some of the scribes in response said, “Teacher, you have spoken well.”
Luk 20:40 Because they no longer dared to ask him anything.

he will not forsake us

Jesus is not introducing a new theology here. The question at hand is that of the resurrection at his return. He answered that question by showing that those raised will not live under the same limits as they do in this life. Now, he explains how they will be raised. There is a person who lives on after we die. That person is God, and he has the power to raise us to life again.

This passage does not teach the immortality of the soul. It teaches the power of God to resurrect the dead. That is the point which the questioners doubted. That is the gospel issue. Immortality is conditioned on the power and love of a God who chooses not to forget those who lie in the dust. We all live to him because he will not forsake us to death.

LORD, thank you for the hope of the resurrection.

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sons of the resurrection


devotional post # 2046

Luke 20:34-36

Luk 20:34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given to be maried,
Luk 20:35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead do not marry and are not given to be married,
Luk 20:36 because they are not even able to die any longer, because they are like the angels and are sons of God; they are sons of the resurrection.

sons of the resurrection

This first part of Jesus’ reply simply deals with the actual question he was asked. He explained that there will be no marriage among those who are raised from the dead at his return. Marriage is a blessing from God, but once the ultimate blessing has come, it will no longer be necessary. There will be no need to create children to take our place because mortality will end.

But notice that Jesus makes it quite clear that not everyone will experience the coming age of immortality. Some will not attain to the age of the resurrection.

LORD, thank you for the promise of immortal, resurrection life.

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today and tomorrow


devotional post # 2045

Luke 20:27-33

Luk 20:27 Now some Sadducees (who insist that a resurrection is not real) came to him.
Luk 20:28 They asked him, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies leaving a wife but no children, that man has to marry the widow and father children for his brother.
Luk 20:29 There once were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died without children.
Luk 20:30 The second
Luk 20:31 and then the third married her, and in this same way all seven died, leaving no children.
Luk 20:32 Finally the woman died also.
Luk 20:33 So, at the resurrection, whose wife will this woman be? Because all seven had married her.”

today and tomorrow

I wanted to stop at the question, because it tells us something about the questioners. They regarded the idea of the physical resurrection as a joke. Their question reveals that they thought of a resurrection as an absurd thing. Life has transitions and seasons, but when it’s over, it’s over.

But Jesus preached a coming resurrection. He taught that life matters, because there can be another one. God has a plan for your life today, and tomorrow.

LORD, we surrender to the future you have planned for us, and to living your way today.

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the way of God


devotional post # 2044

Luke 20:20-26

Luk 20:20 Watching him carefully, they sent spies who pretended to be sincere. They wanted to take advantage of what he might say so that they could deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor.
Luk 20:21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach correctly, and show no partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
Luk 20:22 Is it proper for us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar or not?”
Luk 20:23 But Jesus understood their deceit and told them,
Luk 20:24 “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?” They said, “Caesar’s.”
Luk 20:25 Then he said to them, “You should give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Luk 20:26 For this reason, they were unable to trap him with his own words in the presence of the people. And baffled by his answer, they stayed silent.

the way of God

The experts in the law and chief priests knew Jesus’ purpose. They correctly understood that Jesus was all about teaching the way of God. So, their objective was to trap Jesus into saying something that they could construe as political. It seemed to them that the tax question would be ideal for that. To them, it was a no win question. No wonder they were baffled by his answer. In their world, you could either be a good Roman citizen or a good Jew. It did not occur to them that a person could be both.

LORD, show us all how to live the way of God, at peace with all whenever possible.

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social disconnect


devotional post # 2043

Luke 20:16-19 JDV

Luk 20:16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When the people heard this, they said, “This would never happen!”

Luk 20:17 But Jesus looked straight at them and said, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?

Luk 20:18 Everyone who stumbles over this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.”

Luk 20:19 Then the experts in the law and the chief priests wanted to arrest him at that hour, because they realized he had told this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

social disconnect

The people wanted to believe that their leaders were heroes, so they could not believe that God would judge them. They also wanted to believe in Jesus, so the leaders could not arrest him, or they might have a riot.

That same kind of social disconnect is evidenced all around the globe today. We have made the wrong people our heroes, and we want to believe in Jesus too. Eventually, what happened in Jerusalem showed that the social disconnect can only lead to betrayal of Jesus.

LORD, we renounce our worship of all heroes except you.





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a change of tenantship

devotional post # 2042


Luke 20:9-16a JDV

Luk 20:1 Then he started telling the people this story: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and went on a journey for a long time.

Luk 20:10 When harvest season came, he sent a slave to the tenants so that they would give him his portion of the crop. However, the tenants beat his slave and sent him away empty-handed.

Luk 20:11 So he sent another slave. They beat this one too, treated him terribly, and sent him away empty-handed.

Luk 20:12 So he even sent a third. But they wounded this one, and threw him out.

Luk 20:13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my one dear son; maybe they will show respect for him.’

Luk 20:14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir; We should kill him so the inheritance will be ours!’

Luk 20:15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?

Luk 20:16a He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”

a change of tenantship

Both John the Baptist and Jesus had predicted that God was going to judge his own people, and this story explained why. The message of the Old Testaments prophets about a coming cleansing judgment had to be fulfilled. There was going to be a change of tenantship. The owner of vineyard was dissatisfied with how the tenants had kept it.

Does this mean that God was abandoning Israel? Maybe not. Perhaps the vineyard that God was going to hand over to new tenants was Israel, and the new patriarchs the twelve apostles instead of the twelve sons of Jacob?

LORD, save your nation, and all nations for your Son.

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