Devotional – Luke 21:29-33

29 Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

Luke 21:29-33

The parable of the fig tree.  Jesus likens the signs of His return to the signs of summer indicated by the budding of a fig tree.  Seeing these signs and knowing what they are should be clear indicators of what is to come next.  Those who believe, know.  The choice of a fig tree is also used as a symbol of the nation of Israel here, budding with life and growing with further signs of the Lord’s eventual return. 

The signs will endure until summer comes and the figs grow just as the signs of eventual Revelation will continue in Israel (and our world) until the Kingdom is upon us at the end of the age.  He ends with one final contrast, how the heaven and earth will pass away (to make way for the new heaven and new earth of Revelation 21), but that His Word is eternal, as it was in the beginning and ever shall be.

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Devotional – Luke 21:20-24

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Luke 21:20-24

The destruction of Jerusalem.  Here Jesus foretells not the great tribulation at the end of the age, but the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD by the Romans, roughly 40 years later.  He warns all to flee the vengeance as prophecy is fulfilled.  The nation would disperse as Jerusalem is trampled by Gentiles. 

That situation would persist for nearly another 1900 years until Israel was declared a nation on May 14, 1948.

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The Chosen Season 4

We just finished season 4 of The Chosen. After the long delay due to legal issues (apparently the series and Angel Studios have parted ways) my Blu-Ray was delivered within days. The story starts with the execution of John the Baptist. Some artistic license is obviously used throughout the series and for the most part it has never really bothered me.

I know it’s a TV show. I also know that the reason I’m currently diving through Luke and studying it verse by verse every day is because of a scene from the trailer quoting Luke 11:40 was completely foreign to me. It’s been my opinion that despite its flaws, if this show gets people to pick up an actual bible and turn to God – I fully support it.

Like Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, (I am paraphrasing here, forgive me) whether in pretense or truth, if Christ is being preached, rejoice! Christ is most definitely being preached in this series. Now while I realize that some folks are going episode to episode as they’re released, I watched the whole thing and am just making a few observations.

If you’ve read the Bible, the only spoilers here are what is done via artistic license.

Characters not in the Bible die. Other characters who have a passing presence in certain chapters are woven into the series (Gaius, who becomes Praetor after Rema is killed by Quintus) in a wonderful way…

The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.

10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!

Matthew 8:8-10

In the Bible, that centurion played a significant but un-explored role in Matthew 8. In the show, it’s a character that I think has been around since season 1 and was very well written. The interactions with Peter (Simon), Matthew, and most importantly Jesus were exceptionally well done. A very good character ark explored.

But there’s a flip side to what started as scripture and got interwoven with some artistic license. Thomas. This entire storyline is woven together (perhaps in a way to explain WHY he doubts) but is completely awkward and un-necessary. The previous season invented a storyline with Peter (Simon’s) wife having a miscarriage. It worked.

This side-quest with Thomas just fell flat IMHO. Bad writing. Most of what they’ve done works well, and does not alter the message from what I’ve seen. Again, I realize it’s a TV show, there’s no risk of me idolizing the actors (I did see someone get a Johnathan Roumie tattoo and rolled my eyes, hard, before praying for them.

They did a good job on Judas though. Forgive me but he looks like a weasel.

One thing I would like to see here, and this is due to similar being done in a series of comic books I’ve read via Kingstone Comics (Job was excellent, I need to buy the rest) is that every page references the specific scripture that is the basis for it. I think that would be a great addition to the show… During the stoning scene, they could have had “John 20” on screen.

If I had to guess, that Thomas storyline may get dragged out to the point he witnesses the resurrected Jesus, but I really hope they don’t… It was a bucket of ice-water on otherwise wonderful moments.

Oh, and stick around after the last episode for a blooper reel that had me rolling.

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Devotional – Luke 21:7-19

So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”

And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ [a]Therefore do not [b]go after them. But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”

10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will [c]answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or [d]resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.

Luke 21:7-19

The signs of the times and the end of the age.  For those who believe it is near impossible to ignore the signs that Jesus is returning soon.  The utter chaos of the past few decades and years.  Covid.  Wars.  Riots.  Earthquakes.  Sin on parade at levels I’ve never seen in my lifetime. 

All of this book-ended by some voices preaching the end times but forgetting repentance, promoting legalism over eternity.  “Soon” in biblical terms may be days, weeks, years, even centuries.  This section of scripture closes with “By your patience possess your souls.”  I think this is one of the most important verses here. 

Jesus is warning us so we may be aware and avoid deception through all the signs and persecution, however He makes sure to remind us to be patient.  By that patience, we will take possession of our souls while others are lost.  Let us not be so focused on the end that we take our eyes off Him even for a moment.

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Devotional – Luke 21:5-6

Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was [a]adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, “These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

Luke 21:5-6

Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple.  As Christ came to Earth to fulfill the law and tear down the walls between God and man, so would the temple be taken down and destroyed.  In 70AD, within a time of rebellion of the Jewish people, the Romans plundered and destroyed the temple, decades after Jesus was crucified. 

He sought a one on one relationship between God and man for which no temple was required to maintain.  The old ways crumbled.  All of the worldly wealth and treasures would be lost to Rome and time while only God, who all should focus on, would remain.

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Devotional – Luke 21:1-4

21 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.[a] So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings [b]for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

Luke 21:1-4

The Widow’s Two Mites.  Those who are humble will be exalted, and those who are exalted will be humbled, Matthew 23:12.  That verse came to me while reading this.  Jesus highlights a poor widow giving all she had, two mites (roughly two dollars), to God.  He contrasts this with the wealthy who bring extravagant amounts that are only a small portion of their abundance.  He made it clear that the widow gave so much more to God than the wealthy did.

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Devotional – Luke 20:45-47

45 Then, in the hearing of all the people, He said to His disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

Luke 20:45-47

Beware of the Scribes. This chapter of Luke closes with a public admonition of the scribes of Jerusalem.  They want power, recognition, and are fully self righteous.  They abuse the position they hold for their own self interest and put that above the Lord in their lives.  For such things they will receive greater condemnation in the kingdom.

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Devotional – Luke 20:41-44

41 And He said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David? 42 Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
43 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’

44 Therefore David calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”

Luke 20:41-44

How can David call his descendant Lord?  Jesus asked this question of the Pharisees to try and make it abundantly obvious that the Messiah was both Son of God and Son of Man.  He clarified this distinction by quoting Psalm 110:1 where “YHWH said to my Lord” – the Messiah, Jesus Christ. 

The Pharisees completely missed the boat here, again.  So engulfed with their own image and self-importance the fact that their Messiah stood before them was completely beyond their understanding.

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Devotional – Luke 20:27-40

27 Then some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 28 saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second [a]took her as wife, and he died childless. 31 Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven [b]also; and they left no children, and died. 32 Last of all the woman died also. 33 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife.”

34 Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37 But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”

39 Then some of the scribes answered and said, “Teacher, You have spoken well.” 40 But after that they dared not question Him anymore.

Luke 20:27-40

The Sadducees: what about the resurrection?  The Sadducees, a wealthy and powerful sect within the Sanhedrin did not believe in the resurrection so they came up with a complex hypothetical situation to challenge Jesus.  I see this as less of a “lets trick him into condemning Himself” and more of a genuine intellectual challenge hoping to call into question the resurrection itself. 

Using historical biblical precedent, Jesus made clear that God is the God of the living, not the dead, and that in the resurrection there would be no more marriage or death.  This cut off the challenge at the knees and silenced the Sadducees (for now) after the scribes acknowledged His position.

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Devotional – Luke 20:20-26

20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.

21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, [a]“Why do you test Me? 24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?”

They answered and said, “Caesar’s.”

25 And He said to them, “Render[b] therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

26 But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.

Luke 20:20-26

The Pharisees: is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?  The Sanhedrin sent spies to test and attempt to outwit God.  How blinding worldly power is!  When Jesus asks “Why do you test me?” In these verses, I wonder if it was rhetorical or if He was genuinely curious as to how blind they truly were. He knew the answer, of course.

They asked Jesus if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar.  If He answered “no” they would have a case against Him with Rome.  Instead, He asked for a Denarius, asked them to admit whose likeness was upon it, and stated “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and render unto God that which is God’s.” 

The spies marveled at His response, yet still they did not truly believe.

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