“When the days drew near for Him to be taken up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem.” (Lk.9:51). The journey to the cross continues. And every stop along the way is like Confirmation Class. Each lesson purposely meant to build on the previous ones with the goal, that we would reach MATURITY – not physical but spiritual maturity. The goal is that we may interpret and evaluate things according to the mind of God, which is almost always contrary to the mind of man – as we’ll see here in just a minute.
Today's stop on the journey is a lesson on the subject of financial wealth and material possessions. I suspect that there may not be a clear-cut example in all the Scriptures of how the mind of God and the mind of Man are utterly opposed to each other than this one.
And so, I it is only fair to warn you that none of us is going to find this stop to be in the least bit pleasant or enjoyable. In fact, I will warn you right now that not one of us will survive this stop. It is going to be the death of us all.
We have come to the 12th chapter of Luke's gospel which opens by setting the stage for what follows. “As so many thousands of the people had gathered together that THEY WERE TRAMPLING ON ONE ANOTHER…” (12:1).
It's a dangerous and deadly mob that is TRAMPLING ON ONE ANOTHER and being TRAMPLED ON BY ONE ANOTHER. And we are all in that that mob – 'trampling’ and 'being trampled.'
Out of the mob one voice is raised above all the others. “Teacher, he shouts, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Here is a man who believes that he is being 'trampled on,' and by his own brother no less. And he wants 'justice' for himself. And he asks Jesus the Rabbi to get it for him, going so far as to actually command Jesus what He must do. “Tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
What happened is this. The father of these two brothers had died without a will. (Hint, hint!) According to middle-eastern law of the day, the inheritance could not be divided until the older brother agreed on how the estate is to be divided. And for some reason, the older brother was dragging his feet and the younger brother was anxious to get his hands on his rightful share. “Tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Jesus said to him, 'MAN, who made me judge and arbitrator over you?” And what the man should have answered was, ‘You are the Son of God and You will come again to judge the living and the dead.’
It is not that Jesus refuses to take this man's case. In fact, He has the same 'compassion' for this man as He has for the blind and the leprous and for the sheep without a shepherd and for you and me. In fact, our Lord wants more for this 'man' than this ‘man’ wants for himself.
Jesus raises His voice above the trampling mob so that He can be heard by ALL WHO WILL HEAR HIM – even loud enough to be heard in this very Sanctuary. “And he said to THEM,” “Take care, and be on your guard against all COVETOUSNESS, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Continue reading