Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Matthew 20:1-16): I understood this until the last sentence. To me, this is like welcoming people to the Kingdom of God: It doesn’t matter when they come in as long as they do their work and believe. They will get the same reward. But, why would the last be first and vice versa? Just because the first workers complained? I would think they would all be equal.
A. In the general sense, it is talking about the great reversal of the Kingdom: many who were first (first picked in this story) will be last (paid last in this story). Jesus is pointing out that not only will there be a reversal, but there will be some surprises along the way.
Q. (Mark 10:32-34, Matthew 20:17-19, Luke 18:31-34): I just noticed, of these three, Luke’s account is more intimate. I like how Luke 18:31-34 reminds the disciples that Jesus is just going through what the prophets foretold. So, really, no one should be surprised — except that they did kind of talk in generalities.
A. Note what Luke 18:34 tells us: that the minds of the disciples and Jesus’ followers were kept from seeing what was going to happen clearly until after it was over.
O. (Mark 10:35-45): I bet if all the leaders and bosses realized that they should be humble to those whom they oversee, the world would be a better place. So, when anyone of authority is chosen, their relationship abilities should be heavily factored in to their selection. Also, I notice another difference between the OT and NT. While most of the OT was trying to get the Kings to behave in a godly manner — remember that God never wanted them to have a King, because He was their King and their need not be any other — but they very rarely did (maybe David did a little, but I can’t recall a time). He wanted them to serve the people, not their own desires. And, here, Jesus doesn’t a complete 180° and reaches out to the sick, blind, crippled, prostitutes, children — the ones who are totally overlooked by the vast majority of leaders. As a modern aside, there have been areas that take on welfare themselves by empowering people and it works. Why not use this model and roll with it. Perhaps it’s a threat: The powerful think they have to have people under them.
Q. (Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-52): Jesus way of being a leader is so far different than any other we have seen. While those with Him are hushing — I guess out of supposed respect for Jesus — these two blind men who are shouting to Jesus for help, Jesus goes to the blind men. He is really there to serve everyone, and the more humble the better. Also, when someone calls to Him because they believe, He reaches out to them. Many — I would say most — leaders just have this air about them that doesn’t consider the suffering of the lowly.
A. Perhaps in reading through the Gospels it becomes more apparent why people have followed after Him for more than 20 centuries.
Q. (Luke 19:1-10): A great story that I have heard since I was a child in Sunday school, and singing the familiar song, is Zacchaeus. I have never paid attention to the last verse though. What does Jesus mean by “lost”? Is it everyone who is not following Him or just those who haven’t realized the power of God? How about those who are sinners, but not seeking change?
A. I rather doubt Zacchaeus was seeking change before he met Jesus, so that certainly could qualify as being “lost”. Zacchaeus was a corrupt tax collector who had taken advantage of his position to exploit the people of Jericho. He was driven by greed and not by compassion, and I suspect this is what Jesus has in mind when He said that Zacchaeus was lost.
Q. (Luke 19:11-27): The Bible says that Jesus used this story to explain to the people that the Kingdom of God will happen, but not for some time. So, I gather Jesus was telling the people to use their time wisely and make a much larger yield to His harvest (rapture).
A. Honestly, I am not completely sure what He means, but I don’t put a ton of stock in the idea of the rapture, and I hope to be able to share with you why as we continue our readings. But as to your suggestion of using your time wisely, I would say that this is profound Biblical truth.