July 4, 2015: Daily Bible Reading with Commentary for Luke 17-18
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Context: Jesus, as He often did, turned to address the disciples. Jesus had to prepare them for what was to come after they reached Jerusalem. This time, Jesus is teaching His disciples to always forgive, again and again. The disciples feel that what is being asked of them is too much, so they ask for their faith to be increased. Jesus tells them to use what faith they have! A little faith can go a long way. When Jesus healed the lepers, they had to first demonstrate their faith before they were healed, yet it was only the foreigner who returned to give thanks. This shows that actions are more important than into what tribe (or class) you are born. The Pharisees again try to trick Jesus by asking Him about the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God resides in us. It is wherever Jesus Christ is, not in some far off place to be found. The end of days will come so suddenly, we will not be aware of it until it is upon us. We will not have time to prepare, we must always be prepared. Persistence pays off. Persistence prayer is what is expected of us. We must wait for God's timing, but, meanwhile, persistently pray. Jesus again tells that everyone sins and must humble themselves before the Lord. The rich ruler believed he had followed the Jewish criteria for gaining salvation, yet he still felt like something was missing. Jesus identified it: he put money above Christ. Jesus again attempts to prepare His disciples for His death.
World History: Child death rates were much higher during Jesus' time than they are today. Many parents were eager to see Jesus and have their children healed.