The disciples listened to Jesus – but had their own agenda as to what they wanted to hear and so they frequently misunderstood him. The same is true of those who say they believe in Jesus and in the Father, for this reason some aspects of the Bible are misunderstood by many; it is dangerous to reduce God’s inspired to humanly worded creeds. Paul sums up the true understanding for us very well in 1 Cor. 15 v.20-28.
Our thoughts on this were prompted by our reading today of Luke ch. 18 and the reaction of “the twelve” when Jesus said, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.” [v.31] He told them plainly what was to happen to him (v,32,33) “But they understood none of these things … they did not grasp what was said.” [v.34]
Ezekiel had the same problem, the messages God gave to the people through him – were not what the people wanted to hear! Today we read how he was caused to prophesy, “Thus says the LORD: Behold, I am against you and will draw my sword from its sheath and will cut off from you both righteous and wicked … And all flesh will know that I am the LORD” [21 v.3,5] That is, God means what he says! The prophet himself would himself “with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan before their eyes.” [v.6]
We can see the parallel with what Jesus knew was to happen to Jerusalem and the Temple as we will read on Monday in Luke 21 v.20-24. Their pride in the Temple was what hindered the people from accepting both his and Ezekiel’s warnings . In Luke we see that it was especially those who had riches or were puffed up with their own sense of self-importance caused them to ignore, even scoff at, the warnings. It is evident that the same spirit is among so many today! Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, was caused to prophecy “”In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” [1 v.18]
Let us all heed the lessons in today’s chapter in Luke for they surely have an application to the situation around us today! Jesus said; “when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified … There will be great earthquakes … there will be terrors and great signs from heaven … By your endurance you will gain your lives … for these are days of vengeance to fulfil all that is written.” [v.9,11,19,22] The Jews have had their “days of vengeance” – but soon, maybe very soon, it will be the Gentiles turn.