Jesus finds great faith and humilty in a centurion.
When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 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. ” 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! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. Matthew 8:1-13 NKJV
I am always humbled to read of the widow in Luke 21. She was a widow, meaning that she had lost her husband. She was also poor. However, she still put two mites into the treasury. For her, that would have apparently been hard to come by – it required sacrifice on her part.
Jesus saw the woman putting the two mites into the treasury. He also saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. Jesus says:
“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 for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” (Luke 21:3, 4 NKJV)
Where are we putting our livelihood? Does our relationship with the Lord require much of our livelihood or not? This woman’s example humbles me.
Many times in my life I have needed a rock to anchor me or I would have been tossed to and fro. My rock is the Lord. He has always been with me, but I didn’t truly realize it until I was in college. Since that time, I have learned to lean heavily on Him and trust in God.
Psalm 28 starts with a beautiful statement:
To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock: Do not be silent to me… (Psalms 28:1 NKJV)
I also find comfort in the following prayer:
Blessed be the Lord , Because He has heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. The Lord is their strength, And He is the saving refuge of His anointed. Save Your people, And bless Your inheritance; Shepherd them also, And bear them up forever. (Psalms 28:6-9 NKJV)
The scribes probably knew the scriptures better than anyone because they knew the laws. To demonstrate how powerful of a contrast there is between believing in Jesus “Christ” or just the law, Jesus warns the people of the scribes.
“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, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” (Luke 20:46, 47 NKJV)
Long robes, greetings in the marketplace, best seats in the synagogues, and best seats at feasts. What do these all have in common? Status… If we live for status unto ourselves, we are not honoring God. In the NIV version, the scribes are actually referred to as teachers of the law. They knew the law and, therefore, they thought highly of themselves and were treated with great reverence.
However, our knowledge of the law or scripture should not be the end goal. The goal should be to give our heart to God. If we can do that, we can learn to walk in obedience. We can learn to care for others and see them as God does. Jesus is our Lord and Savior. It is good to understand scripture and law, but those who live by the law and not of the Son of Man are still dead. They have not taken on the new man.
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice that atoned for our sins. Let us not be as the scribes, for the punishment will be great.
God asks Jacob to return to Bethel. Jacob requests that all of his company to out away their foreign gods and to cleanse themselves for the journey. Goods, clothing and jewelry were put away.
The people from the surrounding cities did not pursue Jacob because they knew God was with Him. They were afraid of the wrath of God. Jacob returned to Bethel and God appeared to him again. Jacob’s name becomes Isreal and God continues the promise that was given to Abraham. Nations shall proceed from Jacob and he and his descendants will inherit the land.
Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land.” (Genesis 35:11, 12 NKJV)
Jacob has twelve sons and they become the twelve tribes of Israel.
Now it happened on one of those days, as He taught the people in the temple and preached the gospel, that the chief priests and the scribes, together with the elders, confronted Him and spoke to Him, saying, “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?” But He answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, and answer Me: The baptism of John—was it from heaven or from men?” (Luke 20:1-4 NKJV)
Is it from Heaven or from men?
This is a key question that is both relevant today and had to be answered by the Pharisees when Jesus walked the Earth. The answer was, of coarse, from Heaven. But, the Pharisees would not admit that Jesus was the Son of God. Men create rules. Men have gods. The God of Heaven and Earth will honor those rules and the consequences of those rules. However, we are ultimately accountable to God of Heaven. He is the one true God that created us.
I am always fascinated how the Pharisees knew the scriptures and missed that the actual Son of God was right there among them. It shows how we can be so totally consumed with our own actions and knowledge. The Pharisees would test Jesus again and again. Jesus made them uncomfortable because His very existence challenged their authority, their way of life. They spied on him, hoping to catch him saying something he shouldn’t have.
And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people —for they knew He had spoken this parable against them. 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. (Luke 20:19, 20 NKJV)
Their opportunity never came.
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 20:26 NKJV)