The timeline for events during Holy Week are not certain. So we don’t know specifically if the following discourse happened Monday or Tuesday, but today we will discuss them. As we talked yesterday, Christ is showing the religious people that on His way to death He wants this to be a resent. He desires that they see truly what God would have them do. Yesterday He cleared the Temple and taught about prayer and the desire that they meet and PRAY!! Today we see how He openly rebuked people doing religious things for show. In Luke 20 we read:
Luke 20: 45 And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 47 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
Jesus openly rebukes these leaders who think that their religion is something they outwardly flaunt and even gain praise for. Jesus simply says that this point of view will cause them to endure great condemnation. In these statements He drives home that the focus on religious success is incorrect… the idea that following God/Jesus will result in some sort of prestige or benefit from the world in this life is wrong. The crowds denied Christ because they gathered gathered on Sunday and cried out “Hosanna” hoping they would receive worldly gain, comfort, or whatever else. This was not what following God looked like. The scribes were in the same trap, but it was a daily action… THEN He says:
Luke 21 1 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 2 and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
God isn’t looking for people who can honor Him when things are great. He is looking for people who can embrace suffering, hurt, and lowliness yet still honor our Lord. Out of our poverty we give all we have to Him, our lives, our education, our careers… it’s all His. Yet again He is turning the normal understanding of the people upside down. They had always thought of God’s chosen people as prosperous since God had made promises to bless them! Now, Christ shows us, that we are not looking for blessings in this life. Over and over again He talks about how we must look past the “here and now” and strive towards what is ahead of us. Then a somber warning about His second return:
Luke 21:34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
The things the great crowd was focused on, the Scribes were focused on, and the rich people abounded in, it is all a distraction. The things of this life are used as tools to distract us from the purpose Christ has set before us. They make it radically harder to focus on what God has called us to do! Yet we still have churches preaching health, wealth, and prosperity (the very things Christ spoke out against as He traveled to the cross). Our churches are more focused on blessings today than glorifying Christ. Instead of looking for more “blessings” which act as a distraction from the mission let us embrace our lives, in whatever state we are in, and glorify Christ for what He came for: salvation and freedom from spiritual bondage.
Spend 1-2 minutes thanking God that He shows us the truth that even in worldly poverty we are rich! Then spend 2-3 minutes asking God how this can change your life.
Which of these examples are you in?