Apr 7 2019 Luke 18-19 - Parables to Make us Question our Warped View of God!
7th April 2019
Lord, thank You for the opportunity to be with You and worship You. Thank You for Urban Vision and the work you are doing through them. I ask that their fundraiser would be a success. Thank You for all the work they are doing for the immigrants in the North Akron community – our love for them shows our love for You.
The healing of the Blind Man – The Parable of the Minas
When we read a parable today – we tend to think of them as short stories with an easy to understand moral or lesson attached to them – like the Tortoise and the Hare – or Yertle the Turtle.
Last night – this morning – I go this thing on our family thing – about our grandsons – there was a little girl who was having a hard time – and the 4-year-old came up and told Bekah – I was the Good Samaritan to the little girl – and Judah was the priest!
That is not what Jesus was doing when He told the parable – telling good moral stories.
Why do you teach in parables?
To you, I teach plainly – but to them I teach in parables – so that they may not understand! That is an odd response! Why would you tell a story that the people don’t understand? For Jesus, the parables were meant to shock and disturb – to shake them up and wake them up – and each time He tells a parable, He is deconstructing their perspective!
That is not what we get with The Tortoise and the Hare – we aren’t meant to be disturbed by it!
9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." 11 While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.
When we go back to Luke 9, Jesus is in the farthest, most northern part of Israel and northernmost part of Galilee – and getting closer to Jerusalem. And the people are thinking that He is going to drive the Romans out – the Kingdom of God is coming! We will become the power of the world! But what Jesus is doing – he is going to take His audience and turn their understanding upside-down – first, in who is going to be part of God’s kingdom – and then, with the Minas – to surprise us with how and when the kingdom will arrive.
Sometimes we think – How in the world did God choose THAT person? We all have expectations of what we expect a proper disciple to be – and Jesus basically says, your view is all wrong – it needs some correcting – and ours does too!
My view is continually being corrected – and I hope yours is too! If you’re green you’re growing, if you’re ripe, you’re rotting!
35 As Jesus was approaching Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging.
This was their social welfare program – that’s all they had.
36 Now hearing a crowd going by, he began to inquire what this was. 37 They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he called out, saying, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!“ 39 Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Son of David – this was clear what he meant – that Jesus was the Messiah – God told David that there would be one who would come through him to sit on his throne forever. This blind man could see what others couldn’t! Physical limitations and weaknesses can make us available to all kinds of resources and strengths from God.
It is often our strength and skills that prevent us from experiencing God’s resources.
God’s grace is sufficient – because God’s power is perfected in our weakness.
And the crowd tries to silence the man. And it is typical to try to silence those whom we consider to be less worthy or defective.
40 And Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him; and when he came near, He questioned him, 41 "What do you want Me to do for you?" And he said, "Lord, I want to regain my sight!"
Jesus gives him a voice by asking – what do you want? The blind man knew what he wanted. And Jesus is asking us what do you want?
For us, we give general responses. For the blind man – he knew what he wanted because he was blind. If you have a significant health or job issue, you know what you want, but at other times – prayers just aren’t as desperate and clear! What we need to see – our spiritual health is always in a desperate situation – at any moment, boy, the battle can just hit us and knock us down – and we need a sense of urgency – yes, we are children of God and He loves us – but it is our response – the adversary prowls about seeking to devour. Some say you are not worth it to him – but no, he would love to devour you or me – but we need to be like the blind man – desperate to see.
Go back to Luke 5 – Peter – Lord, depart from me! I am a sinful man! Or the leper – master – and later LORD! And we see that here too – He is not just a great teacher – but LORD! They are just sort of understanding this. It took the Church years to figure out the concept of the Trinity.
For this guy – he is just beginning to get it – Some call this the Jesus prayer – Have mercy on me!
Short little prayer – simple, honest, crying out to God. There is value in learning to pray short scriptural prayers – ones that relate to you – phrases that connect with you! For some, it is ‘be still and know that I am God!
Have mercy on me!
It creates room for God to enter the situation at that moment – the opportunity to bring God into it.
It helps us to live in His presence.
We are also called to pray without ceasing. You can’t go through your prayer list constantly – but you can live with an awareness of His presence.
42 And Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well." 43 Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God.
12 So He said, "A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. 13 "And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, 'Do business with this until I come back.' 14 "But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We do not want this man to reign over us.' 15 "When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done.
This is similar to the story of the talents. We each think our way to read scripture is the right way – and that is why Jesus is doing these things – we learn in certain ways.
In this one – the nobleman goes to receive a kingdom. That would have been clear – but we think about it as Jesus going to receive His kingdom – but our tendency is to turn this into a free-market capitalism story – how to invest! This is not an investing story! But we would say – it is about investing our life – but that is not what the story is about!
This guy goes off to receive a kingdom.
For them – they might have thought of this as Herod the Great – going to Rome to get a kingdom – and that is what happened in 40 BC. He had two sons – one went to Rome to acquire it – but he was banished from that area.
Do business with this mina – it is about ½ year’s salary. Represent him – do his business – in the midst of a community that is in opposition and antagonistic toward their master! To openly declare their allegiance to him in a community that is against him. That would speak right to the disciples – because that is their life – and our life! Antagonism and opposition come from all sides – and sadly to say – sometimes it comes from Christians! We are to engage in our master’s business in the midst of antagonism and opposition, but not in the way the world does it. We need to do it with conviction – but not a defensive spirit, nor with an attitude of retaliation. We think our goal is to win the argument, but our goal is to win people.
Dallas Willard – Practicing the spiritual discipline of NOT HAVING THE LAST WORD! That is not in the Bible, but it sure is a good thing! Jesus talked about it a lot though, not responding in kind!
Then this is similar to the talents parable:
16 "The first appeared, saying, 'Master, your mina has made ten minas more.' 17 "And he said to him, 'Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.' 18 "The second came, saying, 'Your mina, master, has made five minas.' 19 "And he said to him also, 'And you are to be over five cities.’
They are faithful with little, material things – and God is making them responsible for much. It is not the investing – it is the representing the master in the antagonistic world.
20 "Another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.' 22 "He said to him, 'By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? 23 'Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?'
First – he was afraid – and his fear caused him to act inappropriately – to not represent his master – but he also had a twisted view of his master.
When we have a warped view of God, it impacts our behavior and manifests itself in further improper ways – and causes even greater fear!
It is so important to deal with that view of God. Sometimes that comes from a hyperactive view of something that is true about God – like God’s judgment – if you have a hyperactive view of judgment – you forget mercy – and mercy triumphs over judgment.
We need to identify the source.
Sometimes it comes from our family of origin – when we are young – our parents represent God to us. If you have a parent who was never satisfied with your effort – you will have a god who is never satisfied with your effort. – Parent who was restrictive – God will be restrictive.
You have to go back to go forward! Sometimes it requires counseling. Sometimes we were raised in very dysfunctional environment – and we don’t ask – what is wrong with this family? We ask, what is wrong with me?!
Our past experiences impact our present relationships. We often say, I’ll never do THAT – and we do the opposite and it is just as damaging.
Our religious foundation – if your foundational religious life was one of behaving properly or this bad thing will happen to you – guilt and fear – this will have an impact
Titus 2: 11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
Once we identify the wrong view, we need to understand the proper view – and the proper view comes from the cross.
24 "Then he said to the bystanders, 'Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.' 25 "And they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas already.' 26 "I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 27 "But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence."