As we come closer to a New Year, we typically begin by evaluating all the things we want to change in our lives. We make a list of goals that we believe will make us happier and a better person. However this is our first failure, to believe we can fix or transform ourselves.
It all begins with understanding we need Jesus Christ, we are broken, we are in need of change and we can’t save ourselves. Until we come to the realization that life is beyond us, we will continue to struggle in our sins and failures. Until we come to the foot of the cross and ask Jesus to be the Lord of our entire life, we will always be lost
God knows we need a savior, that’s why he sent his only begotten Son into the world to redeem us. The rescue mission has begun, but are you willing to get into the Ark? Are you willing to repent of your pride and deceit, and cry out to The Lord, because everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus shall be saved
If you want a change this year, if you want to start new, if you want to become renewed , come to Jesus Christ! Unless you are Born Again you will not see the Kingdom of Heaven, we must come to Christ and be made New. Jesus said “Come to me all who are tired and weary and I will give You Rest”, If you want a new beginning, come to Jesus because He is making all things new Amen!
And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? Luke 20:20-22
Again we see the religious leaders trying to test and trap Jesus, but again their ignorance and pride makes them blind enough to think they can trick the Son of God. Not only did they try to trap Jesus with a theological question, but they used a more political subject to get the Jewish people on their side. The used the topic of taxes, as we know the Roman Empire oppressed the Jewish people by making them pay extremely high taxes and leaving mostly all of them in poverty or debt to Caesar
So they asked Jesus “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar”? Now the religious leaders believed they had Jesus trapped, if he answered Yes, then the Jewish people would revolt and turn on him. If he answered No, then the Roman Empire would throw Christ in prison. They believed they had a bullet proof plan to finally eliminate this Jesus of Nazareth
But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar’s.And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s. And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace. Luke 20:23-26
Jesus being the Son of God and Christ, he knew the hearts and minds of these wicked religious leaders, so he responded with a question “Whose image is on the denarius” A denarius was the Roman coin used during this time period typically for a day’s wage. The crowd of course answered Caesar’s image on the coin. Then Jesus responded “ Give to Caesar what is Caesars and give to God what is God’s” basically Jesus was saying “pay your taxes and pay your tithes”
This response was so perfect , nobody could come up with a response. It also shows us Gods sovereignty as he is the one who establishes governments and allows them to operate (Romans 13) We as Christians are to be good citizens, we are to obey laws when they don’t conflict with God’s moral law and pay our taxes. The religious leaders had no response for Jesus, so they held their peace. Again Jesus wins another theological round with the religious leaders.
Render to God and to Country, while we are here on Earth, we are to be the salt of the Earth, we are to live as good citizens. If the salt is no longer good, what use is there for it? (Matthew 5) With that said , we are also to “Obey God and not Man” (Acts 5:29) when it comes to issues that conflict with God’s moral Laws. Give to your country what belongs to your country and give to God what belongs to God Amen!
Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him Luke 20:9-13
Today Jesus teaches us the parable of the wicked tenant, now here’s a spoiler alert, this parable is about Israel. The husbandmen or tenant is Israel, God gave them the land He promised to them and continued to send his servants/ prophets, but time and time again they beat or sometimes killed the prophets of God. This was confirmed by Jesus Christ himself in Matthew 23 “You are descendants of those who murdered the prophets” (Matthew 23:31)
So notice what God decided to finally do, He sent his only beloved Son, because He believed they would receive him. Now Israel claimed to be Children of God, however they didn’t even know the Son of God. As Jesus told them “You honor God with your lips, but your heart is far from him” (Matthew 15:8) Israel didn’t really love God or even know him, if they did , they wouldn’t have kill all God’s prophets and eventually kill the Messiah
But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. Luke 20:14-18
We see alot going on here , first Jesus is prophesying about his death again. This is important because first the Messiah had to die to be the ransom for the sins of the world. But secondly , because it appeared nobody including the Apostles understood Jesus had to die for our sins. Even after Christ predicted this over and over again, the message wasn’t getting through to his followers
Next we see the prophecy of the New Covenant, as Jesus said in this parable “We shall give the vineyard to others” The Kingdom of God is now not just for Israel but also the Gentiles through Christ. This is why the cross was so important, by the blood of Christ we can become Children of God
The stone the builders rejected is the Chief corner stone, Jesus is the Chief Corner stone, Israel rejected their own Messiah, but there is no salvation without Jesus Christ, he is our rock and foundation, Amen!
And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority? And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? Luke 20:1-4
All throughout Jesus’ ministry, he was challenged and tested by the religious leaders. The reality is, if these religious leaders actually knew God and the scriptures, then they would have known who Jesus is. But the truth is , the majority of the religious leaders hated Jesus, because he threatened their religious system and establishment. As Jesus said “You love God with your mouths but not your hearts (Matthew 15:8)
The religious leaders were hypocrites, and when they decided to challenge Jesus, he was going to show them how fake they are. The religious leaders asked Jesus “By what authority do you do these things”, remember the religious leaders accused Jesus of being possessed with a demon, so they were basically implying Jesus was working for Satan (Matthew 12:24)
So Jesus called them out “Was the baptism of John a calling from God or a tradition of men”? Now we know John the Baptist was a prophet, in fact Jesus called him the greatest of all prophets (Matthew 11:11) So again if these religious leaders really know God and the scriptures, then they should know if John is a true prophet
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not? But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. Luke 20:5-8
Now Jesus is challenging the religious leaders, and they painted themselves in a corner. If they believe John the Baptist is a prophet, then why don’t they listen to him that Jesus is the Messiah. However if they deny John is a prophet, then they will be stoned to death by the people. The fact they remained silent leads me to believe they knew John was a prophet and Jesus is the Christ, however they still rejected Him!
Since the religious leaders refused to answer, then Jesus refused to answer the religious leaders any longer. This should be a reflection of our relationship with God also, are we being honest with our search for truth? Do we allow God to answer us or do we just hear what we want to hear?
Be careful who your “religious leaders” are, Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, He is our High Priest, the Living Word of God, no person overrides the authority of Christ Amen!
And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him. Luke 19:45-48
Multiple times throughout Jesus’ ministry he “cleansed the temple”, Now again this is an event that has fulfillments of the past, present, and future. Again to understand the significance of this event, you need to understand the importance of the Temple. Before Christ, the Temple was the only place on Earth where God resided. It was a Holy Space filled with the Holy of Holies, it was the only place you could confess and sacrifice for your sin, because it was the only place that God dwelled with the people
However, much like today, the religious establishment corrupted the Temple. As Jesus said “You have made the Temple into a Den of Thieves” they corrupted this Holy Space and made it a marketplace to sell merchandise and make money. This is why during the “cleansing” Jesus flipped over the money tables and chased out all the merchants (John 2:14-17) Jesus wasn’t being rude, He was cleansing The Temple, he was removing sin from the Holy Space. And this is exactly Christ accomplished on the cross, paying the debt for our sins and purifying our temples
This event was prophesied by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:11) so again, Jesus was fulfilling more prophecy , but also Jesus prophesied “I will destroy this temple in 3 days and raise it up” (John 2:19) Now Jesus was actually prophesying about his death on the cross and his resurrection, however the religious leaders believed he was talking about destroying the physical Temple. However Jesus did prophecy about the physical temple being destroyed also, (Matthew 24:2) Jesus said “Not one stone will be left” and when Christ fulfilled his work on the cross, the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and was never rebuilt, even to this day as Jesus predicted.
The Apostle Paul then went on to teach us “You are the Temple of God and the Holy Spirit lives inside of You” (1 Corinthians 3:16-18) If you are Born Again in Christ and baptized by the Holy Spirit, God lives inside of You, and your body is now the Temple of God. It’s important to keep your body cleansed and purified of sin. Don’t allow your temple to become a “Den of Thieves” For through Christ we are a New Creation, Amen!
The years of silence are finally broken
The fulfillment of all the words the prophets have spoken
A messenger was first sent to prepare the way
To prepare us for Christ the Lord to be born on this day
When the time arrived the angels filled the sky
Glorifying God and proclaiming the battlecry
A Savior has been born this day to everyone
The shepherds went to Bethlehem to see what God has done
In the manger a baby wrapped in cloth is the sign
The virgin birth to the Christ child who is fully human and fully divine
The shepherds left sharing the good news the Christ has come
While the Gentile Kings journey where their from
Everyone bowed down and worshipped the newborn King
While angels filled the skies and continued to sing
Glory to God in the highest and peace on Earth
Salvation is possible now because of the Christ child’s birth
The incarnation of a virgin, foretold long ago
This is the sign of the Christ child, so we will all know
To be fully God and fully human, who can comprehend?
But the Kingdom of Jesus Christ will never have an end
So on this day remember what has been done for all of us
Jesus became flesh to prepare a place for You in paradise