Whose Son Is the Christ?

We have been meditating on the week before the crucifixion of Christ. After Jesus had confronted the selling of animals in the temple courts, a place dedicated to prayer for all nations, the leaders of the Jewish nation argued with Jesus, trying to undermine the spiritual authority that Christ had with the people. The Lord won each and every argument, before turning to give them a question to answer:

41Then Jesus said to them, “How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David? 42David himself declares in the Book of Psalms: ” ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 43until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” 44David calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?” 45While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46″Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely” (Luke 20:41-47).

The Lord finishes the whole debate session with a warning to His followers and a reminder of Who He really is. He reminded the leaders that David called the promised Son of David to be “Lord.” In ancient times, great respect was paid to the eldest head of the family. God told King David that one of his offspring would be established on the throne of David forever (2 Samuel 7:8-16). This Son of David would be the Messiah or Christ, which literally means “the Anointed One.” David speaking prophetically called this descendant of his “Lord” (Psalm 110:1). As to His physical nature, Christ was this Son of David, but He was (is) also the Lord of heaven. Jesus was going back to the very statement that incited the anger of the religious leaders. He wants them and us to understand Who He really is and from where His authority comes.

The warning about the religious elite is very pointed and serious. He is calling out the hypocrisy and the corrupt lifestyle of these leaders, saying that they will receive severe punishment. He was concerned about protecting His followers from false teaching and from those who would try to lead them astray. Soon, He will be taken from them, and at that time, it will be important for them to look beyond the present evil physical world and to see Who He really is, viz. the Son of God, the Christ. The whole concept of the Resurrection is about to take on new meaning for His disciples when Christ Himself will be raised from the dead. This will cause them to replay in their minds all the things He had taught them.

Prayer: Open our eyes to see Who You really are. Grant us grace when we experience opposition to our faith in You. Amen.

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. To view, click here. Click on study 54. Luke 20:20-47. Questions About Eternity. Keith Thomas

When the Resurrection Takes Place, We Shall be Like Christ

We are continuing our meditation from yesterday on the attack on Jesus by the Sadducees (Scroll down for yesterday’s meditation). The fourth thing Jesus said to the Sadducees is that those who are worthy will be called children of the resurrection (Luke 20:36). Because those who belong to Christ are God’s children, we will look like Him. We will carry His nature, power, and authority. We will be children of the resurrection. Scripture has a lot to say about the resurrection body:

42So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:42-49).

A few hours before evangelist Dwight L. Moody died, he caught a glimpse of the glory awaiting him. Awakening from a sleep, he said, “Earth recedes, heaven opens before me. If this is death, it is sweet! There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go!” His son who was standing by his bedside said, “No, no father, you are dreaming.” “No,” said Mr. Moody, “I am not dreaming; I have been within the gates; I have seen the children’s faces.” A short time elapsed and then, following what seemed to the family to be the death struggle, he spoke again: “This is my triumph; this my coronation day! It is glorious!”

Jesus had gone straight to the heart of the matter when He challenged the Sadducees on their beliefs about the afterlife and eternity as well as eternal reward. He challenged them on the very point that they hoped to use to trick Him, but now, their own beliefs were exposed as being contrary to the very Scriptures they accepted as truth.

His arguments were causing the religious leaders to question their own beliefs, and they were not successful in swaying the crowd away from Jesus. In fact, within a short period of time, after the Temple curtain was torn in two at the death of Jesus, Luke records in the Book of Acts, that “The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). What caused many priests to become obedient disciples? Was it witnessing the temple curtain torn from top to bottom (Mark 15:38), or was it Jesus’ answer to the Sadducee questions? Even the teachers of the law said, “Well said, teacher!” (v. 39).

What about you, dear reader, are you convinced yet that this life is not all there is. That beyond this life, if you have received the free gift of salvation, and turned your life over to Christ, and had your sin forgiven, you too will bear the likeness of the Man from Heaven mentioned in verse 49 above. I hope to see you there.

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. To view, click here. Click on study 54. Luke 20:20-47. Questions About Eternity. Keith Thomas

They Will be Like the Angels in Heaven

We are continuing our meditation from yesterday on the topic of Jesus’ words in Luke, chapter 20, where Jesus was talking about the eternal state. To the Sadducees who had scoffed at the thought of a resurrection of the dead, He had four thoughts for them. We looked at the first one yesterday, we’ll look at the second and third today. Here’s what He said:

34Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Luke 20:34-38).

2) The Lord speaks of the resurrection as a fact (v. 35), and although the Sadducees only use the five books of Moses, Christ used those books to prove the patriarchs are very much alive at the time He spoke these words, they are at the present time with the Lord. Jesus stated to them, “Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive” (vv. 37-38). When God spoke those words to Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been dead for more than 400 years. The Lord reminded the Sadducees that God didn’t say, “I was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but they were very much alive after they had passed from this world, and He used the present tense to speak of them.

The Sadducees could see no evidence of resurrection in the five books of Moses, but they had a moment of revelation at the insight of Jesus. After this debate, no one dared to ask Jesus any more questions. His arguments were causing the religious leaders to question their own beliefs and they were not successful in swaying the crowd away from Jesus.

3) There is no death in the eternal state, for those who are considered worthy will be like the angels (Verse 36). If we are to be like the angels, what does that mean? Angels are trusted with great power. When the Assyrians attacked Jerusalem, King Hezekiah of Israel cried out to the Lord to deliver Jerusalem. God sent one angel. The power of one angel was enough to defeat a whole army!

36Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! (Isaiah 37:36).

The word angel literally means messenger. They were described as having a brilliant appearance. Often, the reaction when people encountered them in Scripture was to be afraid and to fall to the ground (Daniel 10:5-9). Meeting an angel is overwhelming to our physical state. We could say much about the holiness, power, and character of the angels, but suffice it to say that the believer in Christ, if he is to be like the angels, will be an awesome personality that will radiate the likeness of the Lord. Paul the Apostle told the Corinthian Church that God’s people would be “sown in weakness” but “raised in power” (I Corinthians 15:43). We are told in the book of Daniel the prophet, that those who are counted worthy, or wise, will radiate light when the end shall come and the dead are raised:

2Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever (Daniel 12:2-3).

I don’t know about you, but I want that! Are you helping those around you to come to receive the righteousness of Christ? If you are, then you are wise!

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. To view, click here. Click on study 54. Luke 20:20-47. Questions About Eternity. Keith Thomas

Jesus and the Eternal State

We are continuing our meditation on the last week before the crucifixion of Christ from Luke’s Gospel (Scroll down for yesterday’s meditation). The Jewish elite that had control (Matthew 23:2) were very angry at Jesus when He upset the money-changers tables in the temple courts. They felt they had to undermine Christ’s spiritual authority by attacking His teaching. After using a simple coin to illustrate giving to Caesar what was his, and to God what was God’s (Luke 20:25), the Sadducees could not remain quiet about a future accountability. Jesus’ ideas of the Kingdom of God and an accountability in eternity were unacceptable to them. Now, it was their turn to try to discredit Christ. They prided themselves as being more intellectual and superior in their understanding. The pro-Roman Sadducees were a small aristocratic group that held sway over the Sanhedrin, the Jewish eldership that comprised the seventy elders and law makers of Israel.

It is thought that the name Sadducee comes from the name “Zadok,” the High Priest at the time of David and Solomon. Other scholars believe that the name Sadducee comes from the Hebrew word saddiq, translated into English as “righteous ones” (saddiqim is the plural).[1] They approached Messiah with their carefully prepared question. It was a hypothetical situation that, in their minds, proved that there could be no resurrection. They considered the idea of a bodily resurrection too ridiculous to be true.

27Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28“Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. 29Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30The second 31and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32Finally, the woman died too. 33Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” 34Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” 39Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40And no one dared to ask him any more questions (Luke 20:27-40).

We may live in a physical world, but we are spiritual beings having a human experience. The Sadducees rejected the idea of eternity and heaven. They also rejected belief in angels, spirits, and the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:8). They only believed in the physical world. They regarded such a question as the kind of thing that made belief in the resurrection of the body a preposterous idea. Furthermore, they could see no evidence of an afterlife in the five books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. They were comfortable in their worldview, and Jesus’ teachings challenged their thinking. The Lord replied to the Sadducees with four different thoughts. We will look at just the first one today.

1) There will be no marriage in the eternal state for the believer. “But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage” (Luke 20:35). There will be no need for a covenant of marriage in the eternal state. Our covenant this side of eternity is “till death do us part,” but there is no death in the eternal state. The Lord gave us a covenant of marriage as a means of procreation and a means of filling the earth, but eternity is not populated in the same way. The only way to get there is for a person to receive the gift of eternal life through the substitutional death of God’s Son in full payment for our debt of sin. Have you received the gift of God—new life in Christ? (Romans 6:23).

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. To view, click here. Click on study 54. Luke 20:20-47. Questions About Eternity. Keith Thomas

[1] https://bible.org/seriespage/3-sadducees

Give to God What is God’s.

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We are continuing from yesterday (Scroll down for yesterday’s thoughts), thinking on the attacks on the Lord Jesus by the religious elite, who were upset that Jesus had put a stop to their money-making schemes in the temple courts. They tried to discredit Him before the people. They asked Him: “Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” (Luke 20:22). Along with the property taxes that were due, the Romans also required an annual tax of one denarius. The coin was about a day’s wages for a common laborer that every adult had to pay. When Jesus was just a child, the heavy tax issue had caused the deaths of many people. Josephus, the Jewish historian, records a serious revolt against heavy taxes.[1] The Jewish leaders sought to bring Jesus on one side of the issue or the other. If Jesus said that it was right, He would alienate the Jewish people listening to Him. If He said that it was not right, then the wrath of Rome would be brought down on Him.

He saw through their duplicity (Verse 23) and responded to them by requesting that they show Him a denarius coin, and He then asked them whose portrait and inscription was on it. The request was a simple one, “Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?” 25“Caesar’s,” they replied (Luke 20:24).

Why do you think Jesus asked to see a denarius coin?

This coin was detestable to the Jewish people. It had an image of Caesar embossed on it with an inscription around the image declaring him to be divine. Most Jewish people at the time did not even like to have a denarius in their possession due to the image of Caesar and all it represented. The religious leaders, though, came up with a denarius, more than likely obtained from the ill-gotten gains of the money-changing that had gone on in the Temple Courts. They had no qualms about an image of Caesar in their pockets! Perhaps, as He looked at the coin, He was focusing on the fact that there were “two sides to the coin.” The image of Caesar on the coin was understood to be a property symbol: it belonged to Caesar. When they replied that it was Caesar’s image, He said: “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Verse 25).

If Caesar’s image was on it, then it surely belonged to Caesar. The other view was that, in the same way, what has God’s image on it, give to God. We are told that, at the beginning in Genesis the first chapter, verse 26, God created man in His own image. The divine image is stamped on every human being on planet Earth, though marred by sin. Within every one of us there is a missing piece, a God shaped void, a divine imprint that can only be filled with God Himself. He is our Creator, and we are His treasured possession. We are made in His image! Just as Caesar had right of possession over the coins, God has the right of possession over our souls, and we do well to give to God what belongs to Him. We are “made in His image!” While we live in this world, we are to be subject to the authorities, but we are not to serve them when their law conflicts with God’s moral law. The Sadducees were astonished with His answer and became silent. Again, the religious elite had been publically out-witted with their attempt to discredit Christ, and it was brought to nothing. Give to God what is God’s and let Him fully stamp you with the character of Jesus.

Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke, found in the middle column near to the top. To view, click here. Click on study 54. Luke 20:20-47. Questions About Eternity. Keith Thomas

[1] R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word, Luke, Volume 2. Published by Crossway Books, 1998. Page 265.