Not next Sunday, but Sunday week, I need you to bring your written Bibles. I don't mean your Bible apps. I mean your written Bible. The reason is we will be talking about a somewhat controversial topic and I need to show you context. I can tell you. I can put verses on the screens, but you can't grasp the context with an app as you can by looking at it in your Bible. Please do this for me. This was life changing for me and I believe it will for you too.
A danger comes once a person becomes a Christian. We receive Jesus as Lord. We begin worshiping him in a church and we subject ourselves to be taught God's word. We know very little if anything about God's word, so we're pretty much at the mercies of people like me - preachers. We know we should read the Bible for ourselves, but it's a big book and shortly into it we don't understand anything it's talking about. We become discouraged and give up finding we are again at the mercies of people like me. Sometimes we'll listen to TV teachers, which is often bad. Maybe we'll order some CD's, or a book. We'll get some teaching here and some there. Eventually, we form a "patchwork" theology. This is great as long as it is true. You believe it's true because this is what you've been told. One day someone like me says something using scriptures and you say, "I don't think I want to believe this." Instead of researching and allowing the scripture to change what you believe, you reject the person and change the scripture to mean what you believe. We believe according to our own preconceived notions never knowing the truth and not wanting to know even if it means we're wrong. This is what we'll look at today.
It's the Passion Week of Christ as we study the Gospel According to Luke. The day is likely Wednesday afternoon. It was a day of extreme confrontation for Jesus. The Jewish national and religious leaders had lined up attempting to ambush Jesus with questions. It didn't work. After Jesus silenced them with his answers we read...
Luke 20:39-40 Some of the TEACHERS OF THE LAW responded, "Well said, teacher!" And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
They sort of patted Jesus on the back, but Jesus wasn't having any of it. These were the teachers who were supposed to know the scriptures and guide the people into truth.
Luke 20:41 Then Jesus said to THEM, "HOW IS IT THAT THEY SAY the Christ is the Son of David?
Matthew helps us understand more how Jesus set this question up.
Matthew 22:41-42 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" "The son of David," they replied.
Jesus set them up for his question. Everyone knew the Christ was to come through the lineage of King David and so be the son of David (2Sa 7:12-16). Many scriptures reference Christ coming through David's lineage and Jesus did through Mary and also through Joseph. We can be certain had Jesus not been in the lineage of David, Jesus would have been called out on it. Very lengthy and accurate genealogical records were kept by the scribes in the temple. The records were lost when the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, but until then every person was traced generations back. Jesus was from the lineage of David. We studied this in a lesson titled "I Come from a Long Line of Love." Also, a few studies back a blind man at Jericho referred to Jesus as the son of David (Luk 18:38). Others referred to Jesus this way also (Mat 9:27; 15:22; 20:30; 21:9, 15). It was know Jesus was of the lineage of David, but this Son of God and Son of Man thing Jesus kept referencing himself to be was more than they could tolerate. It was blasphemy to them, so Jesus posed the question.
Luke 20:41-44 Then Jesus said to them, "HOW IS IT THAT THEY SAY the Christ is the Son of David? David himself declares in the Book of Psalms: "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."' David calls him 'Lord.' How then can he be his son?"
The teachers of the law preconceived patchwork said the Christ/Messiah would be in the lineage of King David of old (1060 BC). David was the greatest king Israel ever had. David was a great military and national leader who formed a mighty army bringing the nation to the then world dominance, but David was a mortal man. The teachers of the law taught the Christ would come and do exactly what David did since Christ was the Son of David. He would overthrow the Roman Empire, establish the kingdom of God by making Israel the world power on the earth, and rule the world from Jerusalem. This is what they'd been taught and taught for hundreds of years from one generation to the next similarly to how we teach error and our preconceived notions to the next generation today. We've got our patchwork theology sown together. We need to do to ourselves what Jesus did to them and ask, "How is it that they say...?"
Jesus quoted from Psalm 110:1. Let's look at it.
Psalms 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."
I didn't accent "LORD" with upper case. When you see it in upper case in the Old Testament it's the Hebrew word Yehovah [pronounced Yah-weh] always put in upper case; the self Existent or Eternal; Jehovah. The second "Lord" in lower case is 'adown - sovereign, i.e. controller. Psalm 110 was written by David and has seven verses. "LORD" (Yehovah) is found three times and "Lord" (adown)is found two times. In Psalm 110 we have upper case LORD speaking of Father God and lower case Lord speaking of the Christ/Messiah seated at the right hand of God (Yehovah) and will be seated there until all enemies are defeated (Jos 10:24-27 - footstool). Yehovah is speaking to the Messiah/Christ and David says the Messiah/Christ is my Lord.
Psalms 110:1 The LORD [Yehovah] says to MY Lord [adown]: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."
By the way, Psalm 110:1 is the single most quoted Old Testament verse in the New Testament (7 times). The question posed by Jesus is how can 'adown/Lord - Christ - be only David's mortal son when David the king calls him Lord? The only answer is Christ cannot be only David's son and only mortal. The Christ must be the Son of God and the Son of David. He is the Lord (adown) seated at the right hand who became man - the Son of David. Christ must be both God and man. He's Lord and King.
Their answer to who's son the Christ is was there all the time, but this wasn't in the patchwork. They'd need to rip out the old and put in the new. Would they do it? No. Will we? Will you?
Luke 20:45-47 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, "BEWARE of the TEACHERS OF THE LAW. THEY LIKE to walk around in flowing robes AND love to be greeted in the marketplaces AND have the most important seats in the synagogues AND the places of honor at banquets. THEY devour widows' houses AND for a show make lengthy prayers. SUCH MEN WILL BE PUNISHED MOST SEVERELY."
Jesus didn't say, "These guys have their way of doing things and I have mine, but it's ok. Their way will work just fine." No! He said, BEWARE of these guys!There are some "ministries" you need to avoid and shun. My intent is not to blast any specific ministry, but the ministry we sit under is vital. He said you can identify wrong ministries by (1) how they dress, (2) how they want to be addressed, (3) how they want to be seated in public, (4) how they want to be honored, (5) how they take advantage of the weak, and (6) show how spiritual even when praying.
Luke squeezed this discourse down into three verses and gave a short overview of what Jesus said. Matthew gave us a blistering denunciation of these teachers filled with eight woes spanning thirty-nine verses. The entire twenty-third chapter of Matthew is dedicated to this and it all sprang from this question about the Son of David.
(KJV) Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents, ye GENERATION of vipers, how can ye escape the DAMNATION OF HELL?
Their patchwork theology was dangerous poisoning generations and would bring the most severe punishment on them, but not only them.
Matthew 23:36 I tell you the truth, all this will come upon THIS GENERATION.
The entire generation would suffer violently and did because of these teachers. A million people would die including children and infants as Rome destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70. How important is it we submit ourselves and our families to accurate teachers and constantly repair our patchwork theology?
It's always fascinated me how some of the most brilliant people place themselves and their families in and under condemned religious expressions. Jesus said, "Beware! Beware! Beware!"
It seems at the very moment Jesus vehemently condemned the religious system something caught his eye.
Luke 21:1-4 AS HE LOOKED UP, Jesus SAW the RICH putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also SAW a POOR widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in MORE THAN all the others. All these people gave their gifts OUT OF their wealth; but she OUT OF her poverty put in all she had to live on."
Our giving catches the eye of Jesus. Jesus does not only see what we give. He sees out of what we give. I struggled with this passage a little. I couldn't figure out why Luke placed it here as it seems so out of context. Is this somehow congruent with Jesus violently condemning the teachers of the Law and with what immediately follows - the violent condemning and desolation coming upon this very temple during their generation? Why is this story placed here?
Jesus didn't run over to the poor widow or to the rich saying, "Stop! Stop! This thing is coming down in a few years and those leading it are snakes." Neither did he tell the poor widow to not put in all she had to live on. One thing I was able to see is our giving grabs the attention of Jesus. It's not because God needs our money. It's because it reveals out of what, or out of where, we give. This was obviously the point he made and in direct contrast to the Pharisees and teachers of the law who were/are only in it for self gratification and those giving out of their love for God both out of wealth and poverty..
We need to notice Jesus condemned neither the rich people who gave out of their wealth nor the poor who gave out of their poverty. I've done both. Sometimes we feel we must do some gigantic thing for God when what he notices is from where - out of - we did it. The tiniest things we do for someone, or for God, sacrificially are often more than huge things we do easily from our abundance. This is what caught the eye of Jesus. I should give from my abundance and I should give from my poverty.
It thrills me when children want to give. They get a tithing envelope and give their pennies, nickels, and dimes. It tells me so much about their heart and definitely gets the Lord's attention. It should say something to you parents. We get to send them a giving report at the end of the year. Parents train your children to give. Over my three decades of ministry I've observed children do this. Today those have amazingly blessed lives. It obviously helps them develop under the watchful eye of Jesus.
Sometimes we adults think because we can't give a full tithe we can't give at all. Do you have two small coins?
Again, week after next, I need you to bring your written Bible. We'll be talking about a somewhat controversial topic and I need to show you context. Please do this for me.
How's your patchwork theology? We all have one. The danger is when we stop sewing and repairing and want to make the scriptures conform to our patches and not conform or patches to the scriptures. Don't do what the Pharisees and experts did and change the scriptures to match your patchwork? Beware of, avoid, and flee ministries about who Jesus warned. Never stop asking, "How Is It That They Say...?"