April 14 2019 Luke 19 - Ways to Center our Lives on Worship and Prayer
14th April 2019
Then they brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt, and had Jesus get on it. 36 As he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen: 38 "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" 39 But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples." 40 He answered, "I tell you, if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!"
As we have been looking through Luke – By this act of coming in on a donkey – he is fulfilling the story of Israel…
Do you like Marvel movies? One comes out every few months – and what it shows – the world is in such a mess – we need a hero to step in.
For Jesus, it was humble weakness where the ultimate King came in – the ultimate human in humility and gentleness, not needing to demonstrate His power.
45 Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling, 46 saying to them, "It is written, 'AND MY HOUSE SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER,' but you have made it a ROBBERS' DEN." 47 And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, 48 and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said.
Here is another action – boom boom -back-to-back – right out of Scriptures – setting the stage for the rest of Holy week – it is calculated – a living parable – these actions are planned.
How many of you like the table flipping Jesus? It’s okay to say…
See these walls? They will come down! There will be a new temple – and that new temple starts with Him. And there is another new temple coming – and that temple is us.
He wants to make our lives places of worship and prayer.
We tend to focus so much on the secular – but God wants us lives to be centered on worship and prayer.
To make this happen in our own lives, we need to find places of worship and prayer – as part of our daily routine.
One of the guys brought this up at Men’s Group – what I need to do, he said, is to turn off the radio.
One guy said that he had a 45-minute drive to work and had 3x5 prayer and memorization cards.
Second – we need to make TIME for worship and prayer.
If you are trying to FIND time for worship and prayer, you will never find it. It must become a priority. All of us CAN make time to center on God. Even at work, we can have places – it may be brief – where we bring God into our lives – maybe while walking from one place to another – to bring God in – even if it is just going to the men’s room! There are times when we come home from work and think – I didn’t think of God all day – so it is learning to introduce God into the moments of our lives.
Third – Develop patterns – it has to be a pattern that suits us best. Some are really into journaling and feel that if you aren’t into journaling, you must not be a Christian! But that is not how it works.
For me, it is using the psalms and other passages of Scripture to look to God.
I don’t sing much – but for some of you, singing may be the key to it all.
My wife likes to take the Book of Common Prayer and turn to the Lord. That suits her. What is it that turns YOUR attention to God? If you are thinking there is only one way – that is hard!
Fourth – it is important – when we get these moments with God – to let God speak first! That is really hard, isn’t it? When you only have a moment – it seems like there is no time to listen! But it is so important to have time to listen to God.
Luke 20: 9 And He began to tell the people this parable: "A man planted a vineyard and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey for a long time. 10 "At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 "And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. 12 "And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out.
Does this sound familiar – someone is going on a journey – and is going to come back! This should ring bells in our heads! Luke is extraordinarily detailed in the parables. Not so much in the actual stories, but the parables are detailed. In the other gospels, the writers gave the blind man’s name in the earlier story…. – not so much with Luke.
We have the extended version of the Lord of the Rings movies – and they talk about how much detail they go into making the props.
The owner is God.
The vineyard comes out of Isaiah 5 and Psalm 80. The vineyard is the nation of Israel.
The vine-growers are the Pharisees.
13 "The owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.' 14 "But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, 'This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.' 15 "So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 "He will come and destroy these vine-growers and will give the vineyard to others." When they heard it, they said, "May it never be!"
They knew what was going on here! May it never be, they said. This is the entire story of the Nation of Israel in a few sentences. Israel is constantly rejecting God and His prophets. What they do to the prophets – the servants who come – it intensifies.
In their understanding – it would be clear that the owner should bring about justice for these people. Why would the owner ask, what shall I do? He should just get an army and overthrow them! Instead – He is meek and gentle – and what does he do? He sends his beloved son. The owner seems gullible – sending the son with no protection, no army – totally vulnerable –
This story is the gospel, isn’t it?
Some theologians debate that Jesus never preached the gospel, but there it is, isn’t it? It is Philippians 2 – He was God, did not regard it as something to hold onto, but let it go, set it aside, gave up His privilege, His advantage – that He might become one of us – as the Son was sent by the father – vulnerable – to lay aside, giving himself up on the cross. He was taken outside the city, just like Jesus.
So who are we in this story? We could be the people – but we WERE the vine growers – those who had rejected God, and yet, God has forgiven us wholly for all we have done. He sent His son that we might have life.
The people here – say – may it never be! And they were thinking that God was going to take away the kingdom from them – but what it was saying – he is going to start something brand new – a new people of God, that includes both Jewish people and the rest of us – so that all people can become part of the kingdom.
We need to make sure this has happened in our lives – that we have truly become part of God’s family – and we do that through faith and this story – believing that God loves us so much that He sent His son to forgive our sons – and to believe that He has done that for you – so we turn ourselves over to Him – to give Him our allegiance – our hearts – and our souls. You can do that at any moment in your life. God comes to us in so many different ways.
17 But Jesus looked at them and said, "What then is this that is written: 'THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone'? 18 "Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust."
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it… 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 23 This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!