Luke 12:13-13:21: Greed, Need & Judgment
A Christian yuppie? Is it possible to be Jesus' disciple on his terms and at the same time be a yuppie, for whom material values and the latest exotica are priorities? Some try to have it both ways and don't make it—either way. One such Christian yuppie described her experience. "For ten years I skillfully juggled both sets of values—Jesus' and Madison Avenue's. Then I collapsed." We are constantly tested in our value system, because we live between earth and heaven, time and eternity. Jesus gives us guidelines and solemn warnings on how to live productively in this creative tension.
Warming Up to God
Think about the past few days. In what ways have you been enticed by the material values of the world? Confess them before the Lord.
Discovering the Word
- Nowhere does Jesus condemn possessions. But he has much to say about how to use them. From 12:15, 22-23 and 31, how could you summarize Jesus' teaching about life and material goods?
- What view of God do worrying Christians apparently have?
- The parable in 12:35-48 illustrates priorities Christians should have in view of Jesus' return after his departure—or in any crisis situation. (That Jesus was referring to his Second Coming would not be obvious to his listeners, as it is to us.) What are these priorities that apply to all servant disciples?
- All three parables above speak or hint of God's judgment on the choices we make (12:20, 40, 46-48). The language and imagery of our present text also point to that judgment. In the midst of these warnings, what hope does Jesus offer to the wise (12:57-59)?
- Provoked by Jesus' teaching on judgment (13:1-9), some people raise a question about a well-known atrocity. In reply, how does Jesus both correct their wrong assumption and still extend hope?
- This is the last time we see Jesus teaching in a synagogue (13:10-21). In what ways does this sabbath conflict with the synagogue ruler summarize the priorities and values of Jesus' total ministry?
Applying the Word
- The obviously rich are not the only ones in danger of being fools. How do poor and middle-class people also face the same dangers?
- Recall again your past week's activities and personal concerns. To what extent do they reflect the priorities and values of God's kingdom?
Responding in Prayer
Ask God to mold your values and priorities into his own.