Have you ever found yourself taking someone or something for granted? Were there consequences or did you get it corrected before it became a serious problem?
In Luke 17:11-37, Jesus is traveling towards Jerusalem from the border between Galilee and Samaria. He will spend some time here and in Perea before heading to Jerusalem for the Passover and His pending crucifixion. As He enters a small village in His travels, He is approached by ten lepers who ask Him to heal them. There is a lesson in this encounter for us about the dangers of taking God for granted.
Ten Healed, One Grateful – Luke 17:11-19
As Jesus is about to enter a village on the border between Samaria and Galilee, ten men who have leprosy, a contagious, degenerating and deadly skin disease, approach Him and ask to be healed. Jesus tells them to go show themselves to the priest who can confirm that they are healed and allow them to again worship in the local synagogue. As they go to do as they were told, they are immediately healed. One of them, who is not a Jew, turns back and thanks Jesus. The others (Jews) take Him for granted. Jesus tells the grateful Samaritan that his faith has saved him.
How much do we go to church and do our religious routine without considering what God has done in our lives? In what ways have you taken God for granted? Of course, God wants us to call on Him when we need healing or help, but shouldn’t we also notice the beautiful things He has created and praise Him? Wouldn’t it be appropriate to praise God for all of the good things that have happened in your life?
The Kingdom of God – Luke 17:20-24
Jesus has quite a crowd traveling with Him at this time, plus the people from the village. A Pharisee asks Him when the Kingdom of God will come. Jesus advises him that the Kingdom of God is not like an earthly Kingdom, but is one that resides in the heart of all who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It is internal and personal.
We get into all sorts of speculation about the second coming, Kingdom of God and Jesus reigning on earth. What Jesus is saying here is that He reigns NOW (not in some future event). His Kingdom is within all who believe in Him. That is why no government can overcome or suppress it. The Kingdom of Christ is not like the government of the United States or any other country. There is no “capitol city”, no legislature, no place to go or physical person that constitutes the Kingdom of God. It exists inside of and is comprised of all believers. You are a part of the Kingdom of God NOW! Don’t take that for granted!
Wages of Rejection – Luke 17:25-32
Jesus now warns His disciples that they will not always have Him around. When He is gone, they should not be fooled by people trying to tell them where He is or how to get closer to Him. They will all be wrong. Since His Kingdom is in us, He can be like how a bolt of lightning lights up the entire sky as opposed to being one man in one small location.
This is why I reject most of the stories that I hear about the second coming of Christ. They all mean well and are well studied in their view. They have searched the Scriptures, but too much is being made of some future coming and not enough is being placed on Him living in us. We need to remember that we are in His Kingdom NOW and you and I need to be ready NOW!
Jesus also talks about His being rejected by people (Christians included) who are taking Him for granted. We become complacent and routine and don’t always think about what we are doing or why we are doing it. Some will become so careless as to step outside of God’s grace. They will take their salvation so much for granted that they return to their life of sin while still attending church and thinking that they are Christians.
You and I should constantly remind ourselves of who God and Jesus are, what they have done to win our love. We should also examine our behaviors to make sure that we are taking His salvation and our relationship with Him seriously and not get careless about fighting temptation. It is the giving in to temptation out of carelessness that will destroy us.
You Must Lose to Win – Luke 17:33-37
Jesus makes one more comment that we want to look at. The only way we can attain eternal life is to give up trying to keep this life. We can’t earn our way to heaven. We can’t be good enough to get God’s favor. We must surrender and trust God’s grace and promises to do what He says He will do. One person will trust God and be taken with Him. The other will try to earn their way to Heaven and be left behind (for Hell).
Often times, the only way we can get our way is to quit trying to get our way. This is true in love. You can’t make another person love you. You can only let them go and if they choose to love you, then you are loved. If they choose not to love you, then there is nothing you can do to make them change their minds. With God – salvation is on His terms, not ours. We can’t win our way to heaven unless we lose our power to do it ourselves. God bless you and have a great week!