“Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” – Luke 23:42-43 (NASB)
Today, our verse contains a Promise Jesus made to one of the two criminals being crucified at His side. One criminal on one side hurled abuse at Jesus the other asked to be remembered when Jesus came into His kingdom. Jesus promised; “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in” – what? – “paradise.” Some mistakenly say, paradise is a sense of limbo between life and resurrection. No. Consider how Jesus promised, “you’re going to be with me there today.” Wherever it is, if it has a physical location in our universe, it’s where Jesus is. Most everyone on earth longs to find “paradise”—a place of natural perfection, endless provision, no pain, no tears, no illnesses. In the beginning Adam and Eve lived in Paradise. At the end of history, there will be another paradise, the New Jerusalem. In Revelation 2:7 the Apostle John is told “To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.” The criminal on the cross next to Jesus who believed went to heaven immediately upon death. So it will be for every faith believer.
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.” – Luke 6:18 (NASB)
Persecution comes from many sources and for many reasons. It’s easy to feel persecuted. It’s more difficult to identify real persecution when it is happening to you. We may feel picked on, or demeaned without experiencing persecution for our faith. The unbelieving world is turning up the heat on believers with increased efforts to cancel, cause injury, grief, or suffering because of one’s Christian testimony. We too swiftly wrongly classify an unpleasant encounter unwelcome regulation as persecution. “The words of Jesus here embody a prophecy. They describe what’s going to happen to followers of Jesus after his departure from this earth. However, it’s not at all necessary to limit this entirely to the future. Right at this very moment, while the Master is still with his disciples, this hatred is already manifesting itself.” One essential element to understand persecution. Persecution is identified as when evil is spoken or acted against a Christian falsely for Christ’s sake or in His name. Persecution per se is not something to be sought but true persecution of believers happens it carries with it the blessing of God.
 William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke, New Testament Commentary, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 11:342.
“Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”” – Luke 15:2 (NASB)
This Man, who is no other than the eternal God, before whom angels veil their faces—this Man receives sinners. That any of us should be willing to seek after the lost is nothing wonderful—they are of our own race; but that he, the offended God, against whom the transgression has been committed, should take upon himself the form of a servant, and bear the sin of many, and should then be willing to receive the vilest of the vile, this is marvelous. “This Man receives sinners”; not, however, that they may remain sinners, but He receives them that He may pardon their sins, justify their persons, cleanse their hearts by His purifying word, preserve their souls by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and enable them to serve Him, to show forth His praise, and to have communion with Him. When Jesus receives sinners, He opens the gates of his royal heart, and receives the sinner right into himself—he makes him a member of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. This fact is still most sure this evening, he is still receiving sinners: would to God sinners would receive him.
Our verse today and selected commentary is shared from C. H. Spurgeon. The adversary of Jesus Christ had in his camp an elite group of Jewish leaders who were always quick to criticize and condemn Jesus. But it never caught Him unawares or knocked Him off balance.
C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings, (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).
“My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name.” – Luke 1:47-49 (NASB)
As we are approaching what some call “Christmas in July” we take this moment to remember again the words of Mary the mother of Jesus. After receiving the word from Gabriel, God’s arch angel that she would bear the Son of God in human form, Mary visited her cousin. Mary referred to God as “Savior,” demonstrating both that she recognized her own need of a Savior, and that she knew the true God as her Savior. Mary did not see herself as one free from the taint of original sin. She sang about the wonderful works that God was doing in her life. She had learned that she would become the Mother of Jesus, the Messiah and she realized that it was God doing it. We can praise the Lord just like she did. God does do great things for us and He is ready to do such things for us every day. We can remember that He is the Mighty One and His love for us is so great. So whatever we are facing today, you and I can know that God is able to take care of it for us. Let’s trust Him because He has promised.
“And blessed is she who believed for there will be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” Luke 1:45 (NASB)
Our verse today is one we read and hear often at Christmas time. But the truth and promise in the verse is good for us to remember and apply all year long. These words were spoken by Elizabeth, a cousin to Mary, the when Elizabeth learned that Mary was carrying the Christ child in her womb. Mary certainly did receive God’s blessing for believing what He had promised. For several reasons Mary deserved being called blessed. Mary is the most honored of all women because she believed what she had been told from the Lord. It was a profound expression of Elizabeth’s confidence that Mary’s Child would be the long-hoped-for Messiah. Each of us who believes that God does and will do what He has promised receives blessings through the many promises God gives us. As we think of some of his promises today let’s believe and trust that He does keep His word.
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.” – Luke 11:9-10 (NASB)
IIn need? Ask. Receive. Lost? Seek. Find. On the outs? Knock at the Entrance. This is a promise. But these are not promises we will receive substantive goods. Not promises of material prosperity. Jesus is emphasizing the effectiveness of prayer. A threefold promise. The triple exhortation is as follows: ask, seek, knock. Arranged in an escalating scale of intensity. Ask. Asking suggests humility and a mindfulness of our need. When we asks, we expect an answer. This demonstrates a faith in God the Father. Having such a faith makes the prayer warm and personal. Seek. Seeking is asking plus acting. We must be active in striving to obtain the fulfilment of our needs. For example, as we pray for a deeper knowledge of the Bible, we should also diligently search and examine the Scriptures. Knock. Knocking is asking plus acting plus persevering. We are doing the knocking again and again until the door is opened. Another translation would be “continue to ask, to seek, to knock.” We continue knocking at the door of the kingdom-palace until our King, who is at the same time our Father God, and our Savior, opens and supplies whatever is needed.
“When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19: 41-42 (NASB)
We are thinking this week about the events during the last week that Jesus spends before His death on the cross. We remember that the crowds sang praises to him as He approached and entered the City of Jerusalem. Even though people were eager to see Jesus come and were singing to Him, Jesus knew that the leaders of the city had rejected Him and were planning to kill Him. So when He looked at the city the next day it made him weep. The timing of this crying may seem incongruous with the triumphal entry, but it reveals that Jesus knew the true superficiality of the peoples’ hearts, and His mood was anything but giddy as He rode into the city. The same crowd would soon cry for his death (Luke 23:21). The very thought of Jesus weeping over a city like this reminds us that He is aware of our weaknesses and He is touched by our spiritual needs. That’s what encourages us to bring our needs to Him because we know He is praying for us in heaven even these days. Let us not neglect to bring our needs to God in Jesus’ name.
“As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Luke 19:38 (ESV)
Today is another special day for us who know Jesus Christ as our Savior. We call it Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday because as the people welcomed Jesus they laid down their robes and palm branches in the road in front of Jesus It is the day the people outside of Jerusalem followed him and sang praises to the Lord as he approached the city. Notice the words “the whole multitude of his disciples.” Many people were following Jesus hoping He would establish His kingdom and free them from Roman tyranny. But Jesus had a different plan. The verse we have for today is the message that God wanted people to proclaim on that day. When the Pharisees suggested that Jesus rebuke those who were singing, He replied that if these people did not tell the message, the stones would cry out. What the people sang was the truth which needed to be heard. It’s is a message which we all need to proclaim. This Jesus who was to die on the cross that very week is our King. We need to recognize Him as the King of our lives and we need to honor Him every day.
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks” – Luke 12:35-36 (ESV)
The boss is coming home! The owner of the estate is returning from his wedding and honeymoon with his new bride. It may be at any time so we need to be ready, dressed and with everything prepared just so. It is no time to be surprised. The owners will come at any moment but it is not specified by exact time. Certainly we want to be ready and not found doing other things in the meantime. Yes, other things that are happening now might seem more enjoyable than waiting for the return of the boss. It is in verse 37 that we have our promise. The importance here is to be in readiness at all times for Christ’s return. When He comes he will take the servant’s role and wait on them. This remarkable parable pictures Christ, at His return, ministering as a servant to believers. The parable describes a scene in which servants were waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet with his bride. They were to remain constantly vigilant so that the master would be able to come into the house whenever he might arrive at home.
“ And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” – Luke 2:51-52 (ESV)
The Bible gives us a good amount of detail about the birth of Jesus and who witnessed the Son of God coming to earth. Angels, shepherds, VIP’s from far East, and others became aware of the birth of Jesus. However, we have very little detail of his life between His parents’ presentation of him at the temple and the beginning of his ministry thirty years later. But we have one account when Jesus was twelve years old. His parents brought him to Jerusalem for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Jesus is not in the caravan back to Nazareth and it is discovered he is missing after the first day’s travel. Returning to Jerusalem Joseph and Mary find him in the temple with the teachers of the Law. It was logical to Jesus that He would be where He was for it was His Father’s house and He knew who He was. Other than today’s verses, nothing is said of His life until John the Baptizer announces him and Jesus is baptized by John. We know that Jesus was submissive to his parents and in favor with God and man.