Have you ever found yourself taking someone or something for granted? Were there consequences or did you fix it before it became a serious problem?
in Luke 17: 11-37, Jesus travels toward Jerusalem from the border between Galilee and Samaria. He will spend some time here and in Perea before heading to Jerusalem for Easter and his pending crucifixion. Upon entering a small village on his travels, he is approved by ten lepers who ask him to cure them. There is a lesson in this meeting for us about the dangers of taking God for granted.
Ten healed, one grateful – Luke 17: 11-19
As Jesus is about to enter a village on the border between Samaria and Galilee, ten men with leprosy, an infectious, degenerative and deadly skin disease approach him and ask to be healed. Jesus asks them to go and show themselves to the pastor who can confirm that they are healed and allow them to worship again in the local synagogue. When they go to do as they were told, they are healed immediately. One of them who is not a Jew returns and thanks Jesus. The other (Jews) take him for granted. Jesus tells the grateful Samaritan that his faith has saved him.
How much do we go to church and carry out our religious routine without considering what God has done in our lives? In what ways have you taken God for granted? Of course, God wants us to call upon him when we need healing or help, but should we not also notice the beautiful things he has created and praise him? Wouldn’t it be appropriate to praise God for all the good things that have happened in your life?
God’s kingdom – Luke 17: 20-24
Jesus has quite a number traveling with him at this time plus the people from the village. A Pharisee asks him when the kingdom of God will come. Jesus advises him that the kingdom of God is not like an earthly kingdom, but is one that resides in the hearts of all who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It is internal and personal.
We get into all kinds of speculation about the Second Coming, the Kingdom of God and Jesus ruling on earth. What Jesus is saying here is that he reigns NOW (not in a future event). His kingdom is within everyone who believes in him. Therefore, no government can overcome or suppress it. The Kingdom of Christ is not like the government of the United States or any other country. There is no “capital”, no legislature, no place to go or a physical person who constitutes the kingdom of God. It exists within and consists of all believers. You are part of God’s Kingdom NOW! Don’t take it for granted!
Salary of rejection – Luke 17: 25-32
Jesus now warns his disciples that they do not always want him around. When he’s gone, don’t be fooled by people trying to tell them where he is or how to get closer to him. They will all be wrong. Since his kingdom is in us, he can be like how a flash of lightning lights up the whole sky as opposed to being a man in a small place.
This is why I reject most stories that I hear about the Second Coming of Christ. They all mean well and are well researched in their view. They have searched the scriptures, but too much is being made of a future to come, and not enough is being laid on Him who lives in us. We need to remember that we are in His kingdom NOW and you and I need to be ready NOW!
Jesus also speaks that he was rejected by people (including Christians) who take him for granted. We become complacent and routine and do not always think about what we are doing or why we are doing it. Some become so careless that they step outside the grace of God. They want to take their salvation so much for granted that they return to their sinful lives while still attending church thinking they are Christians.
You and I must constantly remind ourselves who God and Jesus are, what they have done to win our love. We should also examine our behavior to make sure that we take His salvation and our relationship with Him seriously and do not become careless in fighting temptation. It is to give in to temptation out of carelessness that will destroy us.
You have to lose to win – Luke 17: 33-37
Jesus makes another comment that we will look at. The only way we can achieve eternal life is to give up trying to preserve this life. We cannot earn our way to heaven. We cannot be good enough to thank God. We must surrender and trust in the grace of God and promise to do what He says He will do. One person will trust God and be taken with him. The other will try to earn their way to heaven and be left (for hell).
Often the only way we can get our way is to stop trying to get our way. This is true in love. You cannot make another person love you. You can only let them go, and if they choose to love you, then you are loved. If they choose not to love you, there is nothing you can do to make them change your mind. With God – salvation is on His terms, not ours. We cannot win our way to heaven unless we lose our power to do it ourselves. God bless you and have a great week!