Joshua 13:1-14:15 ~ Luke 18:1-17 ~ Psalm 85:1-13 ~ Proverbs 13:7-8
Today is the 16th day of April. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. Guys, today is the day of days. I mean, today is the day that represents freedom for the human race. Today is Easter Sunday. Today is a day of resurrection. What was hopelessly lost has come back to life again and salvation is offered to each of us. Victory over the darkness has been given to us. Jesus has won the victory and then given the victory to you. It’s yours. Take hold of the promise and never let it go. Hold onto it for dear life because this, my friends, is the good news. Thank God. Thank you, Jesus. We worship you and we rejoice in your victory, the very victory that you have given us.
1st SONG on Easter’s DAB “Easter Song” 2nd Chapter of Acts http://apple.co/2oo0Qdi
This week we’ll read from the English Standard Version and most of the land of the promise has been conquered. It has been conquered because great kings of the regions have banded together to attack Israel and Israel has been able to attack and destroy these armies and so they’ve capture the majority of their land, but there is still more, and we’ll pick up with that story. Joshua chapter 13, verse 1 through 14, verse 15 today.
So in Luke 18, which is what we read today, there are two stories that kind of funnel themselves into this final thing that Jesus is saying. The first story is about this widow who is going before an evil judge or at least an indifferent, completely indifferent judge, doesn’t respect God, doesn’t respect people, has become cynical, just checked out. But this widow keeps coming to him, keeps coming to him day after day after day after day asking for justice and he doesn’t give her justice because she deserves justice, he gives her justice because he wants her to stop bothering him. She wants this thing bad enough that she will be relentless in its pursuit and she gets what she’s after.
The other one is about a Pharisee, a very, very religious, devout person and a tax collector who is very not pharisaical. He’s the other side of the equation. He’s just very carnal. They are both at the temple to pray, the Pharisee prays this lofty prayer, drawing attention to himself, even comparing himself to this tax collector as something that he is not and will never be, and then the tax collector won’t even lift up his eyes. He’s humble. He’s humbled. He’s just asking for mercy. And Jesus said, “This is the posture of heart. This is the one. This is the way.” That man went home justified. He went home forgiven, not this other thing, this other display, this other façade and show.
Leading us to the children, people are bringing their babies to Jesus now to bless them. The disciples are running them off and Jesus is like, “Not so fast. No, no, don’t hinder these. The kingdom of God belongs to these. Whoever doesn’t receive the kingdom of God like a child can’t be in it.”
Jesus has been talking about the kingdom and we talked about that yesterday. There’s this paradigm shift to know that the kingdom isn’t something that you’re going to find and the kingdom isn’t something you’re going to point to. The kingdom is here. It is everywhere. It is now. It is us and what we do matters. And so he’s continuing with that conversation and with the widow who wants justice, he’s using the example of her relentless pursuit of it and that is the posture we must take. This relentless pursuit day after day after day of this one thing, God’s kingdom, bringing it, being in it, being saturated with it, longing for it to advance while being present in it right now.
And this posture with the Pharisee, this religious person, this person who should own the kingdom of God isn’t even near it, but it is this humble person who won’t even lift up his eyes to heaven who is simply understanding the hopelessness of his own plight, saying “God have mercy on me.” That emptied out, poured out heart, knowing that there is no way to attain justification any other way but the mercy of God, that is the posture that puts us in the equation.
And then the children, the children. God’s kingdom belongs to those who receive it like a child. And we know what this looks like, those of us who have been parents, but I don’t think there is anybody listening to me right now that can’t grasp this. Little kids, little toddlers think of themselves as indestructible. Nothing can touch them. Anything is possible and they have the rest and the comfort knowing that they are cared for, that they are loved, that they are nurtured, that they are safe when they are in the presence of their parents. It just starts all clicking. When we are in the presence of our parent, our Father, we are safe. We can do anything if we will simply believe.
These are beautiful postures of the kingdom, but they are not suggestions. This is what it is supposed to look like. Jesus is unpacking what life is supposed to look like as a normal person. So we need to look at our own lives. Is this what they look like? Because if it is not, then we’re off by degrees or miles or kilometers, but we’re off. This is what we’re invited into and we can look at it as a really, really hard thing, like how can a person do that? But what kind of rest would this be to our souls to live this way? And yet, this is the invitation. This is the beauty of the kingdom that is now. This is the beauty of the kingdom that is in and among us. I want that. Do you want that? Because that is the hope of Easter. That is the hope of the resurrection. Every breath we take is a gift because of the resurrection.
Jesus, we thank you for staring in the face of death and then entering its dark hold on our behalf, trusting in your Father and coming back with what we could never achieve – life eternal. Thank you, Jesus. You are the victor. You are the victorious one and through you we can also participate in this same victory. This is ours because of you. May we treat it humbly, soberly and rejoice at the top of our voices. This is jumping up and down material. We don’t have to live lost and floundering anymore. You are here. You are present in and among us. You are always, always with us. So we rejoice on this Easter at this very unspeakable and good news. We love you, Lord. We rejoice in your resurrection. We invite your Holy Spirit today and every day to make us new again, to deepen our awareness of what a colossal shift this day represents in the world. We love you and we thank you for your sacrifice, oh, but we rejoice in your resurrection. Come Holy Spirit, well up within us. We pray in the mighty and victorious name of our beautiful Savior, in the name of Jesus we ask, amen.
2nd SONG on Easter’s DAB “The Victor” Keith Green http://apple.co/2o3pEF1