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Julie Ferwerda Christian Blog and Commentary

OYB April 17

  • Julie Ferwerda
    Julie Ferwerda
    Are you ready for change in 2009? Grab a One Year Bible (NLT), commit to reading it daily, and join Julie Ferwerda on an extraordinary adventure that will transform your life as you experience its relevance in a fresh, understandable way. In addition to 20+ years in Bible teaching ministry, Julie is a professional speaker and writer. Her works have appeared in publications such as Focus on the Family, Discipleship Journal, Christianity Today, Marriage Partnership, Brio, and Revolve Biblezines & Devotional Bible (for teens). She's also the author of "The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love," and also the upcoming book, "One Million Arrows for God: Raising Your Children to Change the World." Learn more at www.JulieFerwerda.com.
  • 2009 Apr 17
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Today's One Year Bible Reading

Joshua

15:19 She said, "Give me another gift. You have already given me land in the Negev; now please give me springs of water, too." So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs. If we ask our Jesus (Joshua-Yeshua), He will often give more. Often times, we have not because we ask not. But we should pray that He only give us that which we designate in our hearts to be obtained or used for His glory, or that which is in His will for us!

Luke 18

There is an important context and theme here that I'm in the process of studying out—one that we need to look at more closely. Let's look at the big picture of Luke 18, beginning with verse 1.

It appears Jesus' audience is still His disciples, Pharisees, and the crowds.

I notice from the beginning, Jesus is exhorting His dedicated followers (elect, vs. 7) not to lose heart about injustice, but to pray.

Then He randomly throws in, "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? (vs. 8).

Next He picks on the self-righteous people who think it's something in themselves that makes them righteous.

Then He exhorts His disciples not to prevent children from coming to Him because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these and "whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all."

Immediately (with the last thought), a ruler asks, "What should I do to inherit [age-during] life?" This is important because for the Jewish people, the Millennial Kingdom (Christ's reign on earth) was the inheritance that they had eagerly anticipated since the days of Moses and the "Promised Land." From what I understand, the MK was this "Kingdom of God," (still studying it out, but I think it's synonymous with "Kingdom of Heaven"), It appears that this ruler is following up from what Jesus just said about the Kingdom belonging to the childlike, and he's asking, "What do I need to do to gain this inheritance that we've all been anticipating for so long?"

So we see in verse 19 that right off, Jesus establishes His deity with the man, proclaiming the idea: "You are right in saying that I am good, and to remember that no one is good but God alone. Yes, I am God!" Next Jesus follows up by telling what the man must do to inherit this "Kingdom" that he and all Jews longed for as the joy and destination of their inheritance. This is why it's referred to as "age-enduring life!" Jewish people did not think in terms of eternity, they thought in terms of ages, and ever since the days of all the promises of the OT, they looked forward to an age of inheritance when their Messiah would come to set up His Kingdom on earth, to give them the land that was promised to Abraham, offspring as numerous as "stars," "sand," and "dust," and to conquer their enemies.

We've recently looked into what I believe it means to be the "elect" or "chosen" and to be resurrected for the Millennial Kingdom to reign with Jesus for an age (perhaps 1,000 years). Remember, to be considered as an elect according to this teaching is to live a life of Kingdom responsibility and sacrifice. The man is asking, "How do I inherit this age-enduring life for the age that has been promised to us?"

Jesus gives Him the answer (that now makes more sense to me), that yes, there are the usual commandments (Torah), but to be considered for the Kingdom, the man must choose the life of sacrifice. For him, that means selling all he has and giving the money to the poor.

After the man becomes sad about the cost, Jesus mentions the Kingdom of God twice to him (24-25). "And Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." These days I don't believe Jesus was saying this man wasn't going to be saved. After all, Jesus never told the man he needed to believe in Him. The man apparently had his belief in the right place, but he wasn't willing to live a life of sacrifice now in order to inherit the Kingdom later. Hence, he wasn't fit to serve with Christ during the promised age of Jesus' reign on earth for the Sabbath Millennium.

Get this, in the next verse: Those who heard this said, "Then who in the world can be saved?" I looked up the Greek word for "saved," and it says, "to save, to keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction, to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment, to save from the evils which obstruct from the reception of the Messianic deliverance." Whole different twist!

Continuing on: Peter points out that he and the other disciples have left everything to follow Jesus. Jesus affirms that anyone who has given up those things held dear for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will receive many times more, both now as well as life in the age to come (age-enduring life). If you think about it, it doesn't make sense in the context of the age to say, "You're going to inherit eternal life in that age." Since an age is a set amount of time, it makes more sense to say, "You're going to inherit life that will endure through the next age." This is not to say we are not going to inherit eternal life, just that the Jews were not thinking or dealing in eternity, but in the age to come.

31-34 Jesus fully and clearly explains to His disciples what is about to happen to Him. Yet they didn't understand. Why? "But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said." Is it possible that God reveals hidden truths to some and hides it from others for a specified purpose? It's ironic that Jesus' followers can't see the truth right in front of them, yet in the next few verses He walks past a poor beggar and gives him sight. It appears from this passage that God decides who to give sight to, and who to hide it from.

18:38 And he called out, saying, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" This verse is also significant for the fact that the Jews were waiting for a Messiah that was the "Son of David," but they did not recognize Jesus as the "Son of David." As we already discussed, this miracle is significant beyond physical site—here was a poor beggar (don't know if he was Jewish or Gentile) whose eyes were opened to the truth about the Messiah. That's why the crowd tried to hush him.

Psalm

86:9 All the nations - and you made each one - will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your great and holy name. This whole Psalm is very precious and comforting!