Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

The Teacher is the Savior too. And in the excruciating agony and public humiliation of the cross, He reaches out to one of the two thieves suffering alongside of Him.

Luke pictures the ridicule of the mob surging and taunting at the foot of the cross. In pain and despair, even one of the two thieves adds to the chorus of jeers.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"

But the other thief defended Jesus - We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."

Demonstrating faith in difficult circumstances is perhaps the greatest test of one’s trust. And this penitent thief calls out for Jesus to remember Him when He comes in His kingdom.

His belief in the power of Jesus to provide a life after death is nothing short of amazing.

And it is equally incredible that in physical agony and surrounded by death, Jesus is able to reach out to one more person with words of healing and encouragement.

He promises Paradise.

For a few more hours they will share the cross. Then that very day they will meet again in a place of joy and comfort. He will be with Jesus…in Paradise.

This is the promise every student of Jesus holds most dearly in times of trial and pain. If we endure suffering with Jesus for a few hours now, then we will surely be with Him in paradise.

Forever together with Him!



Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

Pilate wanted to do the right thing and release Jesus. For a while he was listening to his conscience. As he said, neither he nor Herod found any basis for the charges against the Teacher.

But there was something drowning out Pilate’s better judgment. It was the voice of the people shouting for Jesus’ death.

And there was something Pilate wanted more than a clear conscience. He wanted to please the people, keep the peace and advance his career as a good administrator for Rome.

To his credit, Pilate tried. Three times he appealed to the people to change their mind. And yet, to his eternal shame, he gave in when it mattered most.

But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand.
And their shouts prevailed.

Students of Jesus take note. In the din of voices, they listen for one still small voice. The voice that is always right in every circumstance of life.

Not the voice of the people, but the Voice of the Teacher.



That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

Jesus unites two feuding politicians. It is said that politics makes strange bedfellows. Never truer than the reconciliation of Pilate and Herod over the trial of Jesus!

By all rights, Herod is the true king of Israel. Not the occupying force ruled by Roman Pilate. It is only natural they should be bitter political rivals.

Ambitious, power-hungry, ruthless! There isn’t much to commend either of these two leaders. But now they have a mutual problem – Jesus

Pilate sees the effort to condemn Jesus as mere religious infighting. Not worthy of Rome’s attention. When he learns that Jesus is a Galilean, he tosses the political hot potato to Herod’s jurisdiction.

Herod gladly accommodated, because he wanted to meet Jesus and to see one of the miracles all the people were talking about.

However, none of the many accusations leveled against Jesus found any resonance with Herod. He asked Jesus many questions to no avail, had Him beaten and sent back to Pilate’s court.

It’s still happening today. Opposition to Jesus unites disparate interest groups and creates strange friends.

This is actually the result of a much larger process. God, through Jesus is dividing people. Those who are for Him and those who are against! There is no middle ground!

Both Pilate and Herod found themselves on the same side, but on the wrong side. One axiom explains their newfound friendship - The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

However, students of Jesus are taught to love even their enemies. But it is also true - any friend of Jesus is a friend of every other student of Jesus.



They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied, "You are right in saying I am."

The Teacher is on trial for being more than a teacher.

Although His radical teaching has fired the animosity of the religious establishment against Him, it is the question of who He is that keeps them up nights.

Now apart from the adoring crowds they have Him alone and unprotected. They will have their answer - If you are the Christ," they said, "tell us."

To their surprise Jesus bypasses the question, and makes what to them must have been the most outlandish claim possible - But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.

Jesus knows His time has come. So He makes a direct claim to be God, knowing He will be charged with blasphemy and condemned to death. Certainly, if they have rejected Him before – even though He did notable miracles – they surely won’t accept this claim now.

No, their response was predictable - Then they said, "Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips."

Earlier in His ministry, the religious leaders asked for a special sign to confirm His credentials. Now they ask for none. The claim that Jesus would soon sit at the right hand of God, while true, was beyond their wildest imaginations.

Never could they have imagined that this time God did not call a man to be His prophet, but sent His Son to become a man.

This is the incredible privilege of being a student of this Teacher. He is The Son of God.



But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.

We’ve already seen how Peter disconnected from Jesus when the mob came for the arrest. He wasn’t paying attention to the Teacher. Didn’t wait for Jesus’ answer before acting!

That’s how Peter finds himself warming at the fire of the enemies of Jesus.

Now we see how helpless a student of Jesus is when disconnected from the Teacher.

Now alone, Peter denies His Lord. Not once, but three times. And each time more emphatically!

Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times."

Here we see the steps of regression that lead a student away from the Teacher. And where such a course leads! From a student in the inner circle of Jesus to huddling in the enemy camp and total denial of Him!

When the rooster crowed, Peter woke up - And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Eventually, Peter will also show us the way back to Jesus. His remorse will lead him back to resuming the daily business of listening to His Teacher once more!

Jesus will do what He does for all wayward students. He will seek Peter and restore Him in love.



Peter followed at a distance.

When Jesus was forcibly arrested, Peter made a violent attempt to save Him. It was misguided – contrary to the principles and purposes of the Teacher – and it failed.

Now Peter hangs back. Disconnected and no doubt discouraged. It will get worse for him before it gets better. He will deny Jesus, curse and swear he doesn’t even know Him.

What happened? How does one go from Jesus’ inner circle to almost total disconnection?

Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens at one time or another in the life of almost every student of the Teacher! It happened to Peter because he wasn’t paying attention. He ran ahead of His Teacher!

Earlier that night Jesus warned him that he was a target of the devil’s attack. He instructed him to watch and pray. But Peter, along with the others, fell asleep. But…

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?”

When the mob suddenly appeared, the only voice in Peter’s head was his own. He didn’t wait for the Teacher’s answer. That’s when he made the mistake of acting precipitously and detachment was the result.

Maybe, like Peter, we think we are defending the faith, beginning some new excellent project. Then it happens. We fail.

We fail because it wasn’t the Teacher’s idea for us at all. We didn’t wait for His answer. It was our own voice we were following.

That’s when we too get discouraged with our Christian walk. Disconnect, follow at a distance.

Staying connected is about sustaining our relationship with the Teacher and that is all about paying attention to Him. And sometimes waiting patiently for an answer from Him.



…and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Extreme duress! Palpable stress! Acute anguish!

Perhaps even these words to not approach the true magnitude of suffering Jesus faced the night of His betrayal.

At some point in life, most people know what it is to be in deep trouble. Even to be driven to their knees in prayer for deliverance.

But while everyone in the world knows sorrow and pain, Jesus’ circumstance is uniquely horrible. That’s why this moment in Jesus’ life must, to some extent, remain shrouded in mystery.

Nor is anyone else qualified to understand it. Nobody else, only Jesus! He alone was one with the Father. Only He is eternally perfect and came to earth and lived a perfect human life as well.

And now He must become intimate with sin. Not just some sin, but every sin of every person who ever lived or would yet live! The full implications of this are beyond our grasp, but He prayed…

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly…

Perhaps we can only identify slightly wiht an anguish that sweats blood.

But anyone can certainly fully appreciate the benefits of the victory He won in prayer that night. A decision that propelled Him forward to give all His blood on the cross!

A choice that opened heaven for all who believe and obey Him!



…and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

Why does Jesus tell His students to buy a sword?

Does this instruction contradict His teaching about turning the other cheek? Does He actually intend for His students to fight?

We know Jesus will rebuke Peter when he attempts to use one of the swords against those who come to arrest Him.

Obviously He isn’t building an arsenal of weaponry - The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords." "That is enough," he replied.

So why buy a sword?

The key to understanding is in the phrase following the advice - It is written: "And he was numbered with the transgressors"; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me.

The Scripture must be fulfilled in me.

Perhaps Jesus knows that merely the appearance of a hostile intention will play into the plans of God. He will be arrested and killed as a transgressor – perceived to be a leader of a band of insurrectionists.

Maybe it is simply a metaphor for the violent struggle that He knows now looms before Him.

But it’s a change. This isn’t like before, like all the times they peaceably travelled about preaching the good news. No, now everything is marching to a brutal conclusion.

So Jesus says - "Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."



Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.

The Teacher reveals to His students a shocking fact - the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.

Unbelievably, one of His closest students will be the agent of His betrayal to death. Immediately, His students begin to look around and discuss which of them it might be.

It is in the context of this impromptu investigation that an argument takes place. Interestingly, the controversy is not over who is the traitor - a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.

At first they are focused on what is going to happen to Jesus. They want to expose their Teacher’s traitor. Who could it be? The Teacher has said it is one of us, but which one?

How does it happen that their focus turns so quickly from the concern Jesus has placed before them – His betrayal – to an argument about number one status?

They got sidetracked. Turned their attention from the Teacher to themselves!

The Problem shows up right on cue. It nearly always does. This pride that turns away from the critical work Jesus wants us to care about. Moves back to concern for self!

How many students of the Teacher continue to be distracted by The Problem?How many good works suffer because of it? How many dissentions and divisions are created by it?

But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.

Focus on what the Teacher is saying or The Problem always shows up!



When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.

The Teacher not only teaches His students the wisdom of God. In a few hours He will give up His body for them on the cross. Now He purposefully provides a perpetual memorial of that sacrifice.

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
Everything the Teacher does is for His students. That’s why we remember Him.

In the bread and fruit of the vine, students of Jesus remember what He did for us. But we know He is not gone from us. He is present every time we take these emblems of His body and blood.

He is the Teacher who was dead and is alive.
Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.



Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple… and all the people came early in the morning to hear him.

What a beautiful sight it must have been.

People rising early in the morning, coming eagerly to the place where they could hear the voice of the Teacher!

Is there yet any better reason to get up in the morning?

Whatever else these students might have done those mornings is no longer important to them.

The truths they gained from Jesus remain timeless.

Ironically, while some were enthusiastically listening to the teaching of Jesus, one of His closest students made arrangements to betray Him.

And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money.

Listening to the voice of the Teacher anytime is still the most beautiful choice a person can make.



Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

When it comes to what the Teacher says – you can count on it!

And here He is talking about the end of time and how to prepare for it.

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth!

Only those true students of this Teacher will be able to stand up before Him on the Day when He comes to judge the world. Because only they will be keeping His word and paying attention to what is going on.

That’s why He specifically warns against the perils of inattention. He warns of entanglements of the world that distract us from that Day. For those who are not vigilant will be surprised by it.

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.

That day is approaching. Each new day brings us closer to the final day.

Count on it!



Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Jesus said nobody knows the day or hour of the end of the world. But that doesn’t mean He gave no signs to indicate when the end would come.

Here the Teacher tells His students that Jerusalem will be inhabited by Gentiles (non-Jews) until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

What is He talking about?

History tells us in Acts of the Apostles that the gospel was first preached to the Jewish nation. In fact, the early church was comprised entirely of Jews at the first.

In time, the message broke out and was preached and accepted by peoples of the entire world – the Gentiles.

Today, this process continues as the Message of Jesus continues to permeate the remotest parts of the globe and rapid entry into the last strongholds of resistance.

When this process is complete, the times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled.

There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.

Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.



All men will hate you because of me.

Here the Teacher informs His students of the coming destruction of Jerusalem. Naturally they want to know when this terrible event will happen.

At that time the event was yet thirty plus years in the future! Jesus tells them of many things that will happen between now and then - These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away."

Most importantly he prepares them for the rejection they will receive in the meantime - But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you.

They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them.

Then the Teacher gives His students some very timely promises.

But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

This is a promise every student of Jesus can rely on. When we stand and speak for Him, He is with us. He promises words and wisdom to carry us through.

Then Jesus gives what seems to be a contradictory statement - and they will put some of you to death…But not a hair of your head will perish.

Incredible! Some will be killed but not a hair of their head will perish?

The Teacher is promising a resurrection. Death is not the end after all! Those who die for their testimony will never perish!



While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples…

Jesus only speaks to those who are listening. Who are they? His students of course!

Today it’s the same. Jesus is speaking to those who are willing to hear Him. It wasn’t easy then and it isn’t any easier today.

Messages vie for our attention everywhere we turn. Signage on the roadsides. Voices of those around us. Even our own busy thoughts of the day rise to drown out the voice of the Teacher.

And we even purposely choose much of the distracting and competing messages that bombard us. Television, computer screens, ipods…

To really listen to the Teacher requires shutting out the noise of our lives. Taking time – finding time – to hear the voice of the Teacher!

That’s what good students of Jesus do. Not only in special times set aside for that purpose, but even in the moments of our busy schedules.

Why do we do this? Because we have come to realize the value of the Teacher’s wisdom!

He is constantly available and always teaching.

Are we listening?



He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.

Here the Teacher affirms the coming resurrection of the dead. And He reveals that while the dead are temporarily separated from their bodies, they are in some sense still very much alive!

Jesus quotes Moses who referred to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yet at the time, all these men were dead. How then could God still be their God?

The obvious answer? They still live. At death their spirits returned to God and wait with all others who have died for the day of the resurrection from the dead.

But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection.

Some of the teachers of the law responded, "Well said, teacher!" And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Everyone who ever lived still lives!



They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.

After all the failed attempts to trap the Teacher in some inconsistency in His teaching and life, you would think His enemies would know better.

But here they are again. This time they are hoping to trip Him up on the question of paying taxes to the Roman occupiers. Here’s their proposed dilemma.

If Jesus simply says everyone should pay taxes to the enemy occupiers, He will lose some favor with the people. His questioners would gladly settle for this.

But if Jesus says they shouldn’t pay taxes to the Romans, then they will promptly report His insurrectionist tendencies to the authorities and He will be in big trouble. This is their hope.

Instead Jesus gives a perfect principle – Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.

Their reaction?

They were unable to trap him in what he had said. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.

This is the Teacher we follow. He knows our hearts, our intentions. And He has the wisdom of God to guide us.

Answers that often astonish us too. Pure genius!



Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.

Here the Teacher is surrounded. He always is. Surrounded by those who either love Him or hate Him!

That’s why Jesus says some will be broken by Him and others crushed. Some hang on His every word. Others want to kill Him.

Little has changed. There are those who still seek His life. Nothing would make them happier than to have every reference to Jesus expunged from their culture.

Like those who sought His life long ago, today there is a growing sentiment that Jesus is the problem. They want Jesus to just go away so they can continue with their own misguided agenda.

Jesus reveals what will eventually happen to those who accept Him and to those who oppose Him.

Jesus either breaks or crushes.

And if His message breaks our hearts, He also has power to create in us a new one – more like His. That’s what being a student of Jesus is about. Hearing, mourning, breaking, turning, and in turn being healed and uplifted to be more like Him!

The Stone rolls on…



…all the people hung on his words.

First, the people must have been transfixed by what they saw Jesus doing.

Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. "It is written," he said to them, "’My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it 'a den of robbers.'"

Surprised by his bold action, but riveted by His teaching! The religious leaders – whose playhouse He had upset – wanted to kill the Teacher. But…all the people hung on his words.

Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him.

Spellbound, the people couldn’t get enough.

Ever experienced this?

Context is everything isn’t it? If we can’t identify with these people’s enthusiasm for the Teacher, maybe it’s because we aren’t as desperate for change as they.

But we know better. People today are just as desperate for change as those who heard Him teach in the temple.

More likely, most people mistakenly think they know all about this Teacher. Isn’t there a Bible which contains His teaching in every home in the country? Isn’t ours a Christian nation?

The fact is, today there is a dearth of knowledge about what Jesus actually says. Why don’t we hang on His every word?

That’s a question people must ask and answer for themselves. And a question of particular importance to those who call themselves students of this Teacher!

Are we spellbound?



As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.

Here is one of the three times we see Jesus’ weeping. The other two are the death of His friend Lazarus and in the Garden of Gethsemane as the cross loomed before Him.

What one cries about is a window into the very heart of a person. Here our Teacher weeps over a lost city. The people!

How tender is the heart of God! And by contrast, how indifferent and callous the hearts of those who follow Him!

How sensitive Jesus is to the course of the lives of those around Him! He sees beyond today, out into their futures.

And He cries…weeps for them.

His heart is deeply saddened as He contemplates what will befall the people of Jerusalem. He sheds tears for the pain and suffering they will endure because of their rejection of His Message.

If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.

If Jesus were to come to our town today, would He not weep once more? The rejection of the message of Jesus would be a cause for tears today.

What do students today learn from the Teacher? Do they not learn how to see the world through His eyes? With a vision that looks far beyond today!

Is this not a cause for tears? That some do not recognize the time of God's coming.



The Lord needs it.

The Teacher sends two of His students to get a colt. He plans to ride it as He enters the city of Jerusalem.

Ok. This makes sense, but the instructions Jesus gives the two are puzzling.

Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” tell him, “The Lord needs it."

Sure enough, they find the colt and as they were told to expect, the owners ask why they are taking the colt.

As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" They replied, "The Lord needs it."

Had Jesus made prior arrangements with the owners to use their property? Or did Jesus know the owners were the kind of people who would acquiesce to a simple request for help in the name of the Lord?

Regardless, the fact remains. The Lord needed it, and to their credit they responded to His request for help. Gave up something of value, if only temporarily.

This suggests another puzzling question. If the Teacher were to send two of His students to our house, what would they tell us He needs from us?

The answer to this question is found in being a student of Jesus every day. Finding out how to use what we have to serve Him. We only need to ask – Does the Lord need this or that?

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.



I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away.

Here the Teacher says something contrary to our natural assumptions. The one who has something will get more and the one who has nothing will lose even the little he has.

Shouldn’t someone who has nothing receive something? And why not take the excess from one and give to the other in need?

Of course, the answer is that Jesus isn’t talking about things. He’s talking about types of servants in the kingdom of God.

One uses what the Lord has given him to be profitable for God. The other does not.

Consequently, one is proving to be a trustworthy trustee and the other isn't. One made gains for the Master, the other let life's opportunities pass by.

According to the Teacher, what we do with what we have will matter someday.

Students of Jesus learn to make the most of their time, talents and gifts to serve others. They expend effort to produce increase for the Lord. They look forward to hearing…

Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.

The University of Jesus is the school for life. A time to learn how to be more effective managers of all God has given us to use in His service. As students, we learn from Jesus how to be faithful in doing this.

Apparently, we are in training for service in eternity. How we advance in the principles of the kingdom and what we learn, may in some measure determine our place and level of service in heaven.



For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

Here Jesus does not restore sight to the blind or heal the sick. No visible miracle. Yet the story of Zacchaeus is about healing – the healing power of love!

So what’s Zacchaeus’ wound that needs a healing touch?

He’s a social outcast. He’s traded the respect of his countrymen for the money the Roman Empire pays him to collect taxes.

Still, he climbs a tree to get a look at Jesus as He passes by. So what does Jesus do when He meets Zacchaeus?

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

Jesus’ acceptance of him is not popular - All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a 'sinner."

But look at the effect on the heart of a sinner!

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.

There isn’t any indication that Jesus said anything to Zacchaeus about repenting. So what caused the change in his heart?

Could it be that Jesus simply gave to Zacchaeus what was missing in his life? What his sin had stolen from him. Love and fellowship!

What a great example of how students of this Teacher should approach those who seem out of touch with God! Address the specific need their own sin has created in their lives.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.



As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging… He called out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

It’s not surprising. This blind man begs for mercy.

There’s no room for false pride or shame. From the depth of his soul he cries out repeatedly – and loudly - have mercy!

He’s unstoppable!

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

In a way this man is not unlike every person in the world, because everyone is in dire need of God’s mercy.

The difference is this man fully realizes his need for it.

Perhaps it is time today to more accurately assess our position before God and ask Him - If we weren’t blind to the spiritual realities of life, what might we see that would drive us to such desperation?

Cause us to cry out – have mercy on me!

In a way, this blind man sees very clearly.

Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God.



Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again."

Who is this? The One who knows the future! Can predict everything that will happen to Him!

Here – with unerring accuracy - the Teacher tells His closest students exactly what is going to happen to Him.

He accurately predicts the city of His death – Jerusalem.

He tells them when it will happen – on this trip to the city.

He foretells the details of his torture and death.

He even predicts His resurrection from the dead!

Of course, we now know everything happened just as He said it would. That’s because it’s history now. But when He made these predictions, even His nearest friends didn’t understand at all.

The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

Who is this? This One who knows the future!

He is obviously who He claims to be.



Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

If the Teacher is right, why then is everyone trying to get rich?

Here a rich man wants to be with God forever. He asks Jesus - Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? When Jesus told him to keep the commandments of God, the man said that he was doing this from childhood.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.

This response caused Jesus to remark - Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

If the Teacher is right, why is everyone still trying to get rich?

Are most motivated by a desire to make money to give to the poor? Do people seek wealth primarily because it can be used to help others.

The fact is - the Teacher is right. Money is a burden. Riches and the gaining of more of them usually becomes an obsession that interferes with the pursuit of God
Making money, managing money, spending money consumes more and more of our time. And time is the stuff of which life is made! Then, before we know it time is up and riches are left behind.

Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!"

“I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”



Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

Here pride goes to church. It still does. In the hearts of those who are confident of their own righteousness and look down on everybody else!

The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”

The Pharisee was proud of himself. That’s because he compares himself to those who are more sinful. Then for good measure, he reminds God of some good things he does.

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

The tax collector, on the other hand, knows who he is. He knows this because He is honest about his own life. And He is focused on the holiness of God.

Pride withers away when faced with the absolute rightness of God. The only way pride goes to church is when we don’t see God there. For if we focus on Him, we all know who we are.

It's true. Some Christians live more holy lives than others. But the greater truth is everyone lives so very far below the standard of God’s perfect holiness that comparisons with others are silly.

No doubt, a person standing on top of Mt. Everest is higher than a person standing at sea level. Yet if the distant surface of the moon is the point of reference, then the difference in height between the two people standing on earth is negligible.

I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.



Grant me justice against my adversary.

This is the widow’s plea to an unjust judge. The judge doesn’t care about the woman’s case. But she kept coming and begging her cause.

For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, “Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!"

Here the Teacher uses this story to contrast the concern of God for the pleas of His people. Unlike the unjust judge, God is attentive and open to their prayers.

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.

The Teacher wants us to know the heart of the Heavenly Father. There is a day of reckoning coming for those who oppose the faithful. And there is a day of justice for the oppressed of God.

Jesus closes with a question. It isn’t a question about the ultimate faithfulness and justice of God. It concerns our faithfulness in the face of delayed justice. It is a question of our persistence in the face of our adversaries.

God will be faithful. Will we?

However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?



The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you.

The Kingdom of God is not out there somewhere. According to the Teacher it comes within the human heart.

It seems people are still looking around. Going from place to place, from church to church, seminar to seminar! Hoping to find God out there somewhere!

And unfortunately, as Jesus indicates here, there are always those who seem to be advertising – Here it is!

The Teacher advises - Do not go running off after them.

That’s because they don’t have a monopoly on God. Only Jesus does. And only a personal relationship with the Teacher can bring the Kingdom of God into our hearts.

This is how the Kingdom comes! Into one heart at a time!

But when will Jesus return to earth and usher in the Kingdom of God in Heaven? Jesus says that time will be unmistakable when it comes.

For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.

That day will come – Jesus will return - and everyone will know it.

How do we prepare for that Day? By allowing the Kingdom to increase in our hearts day by day! That’s what being a daily student of the Teacher is all about.



Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?

Here Jesus heals ten lepers.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him…

Surely the other nine where equally happy to be healed, but only one came back to thank Jesus for what He had done for him! Only one exhibited true gratitude.

Jesus wondered - Where are the other nine?

Everyone agrees the one who returned to fall at Jesus’ feet and thank Him profusely did the appropriate thing.

Most scratch their heads and question the neglect of the nine who failed to thank Jesus.

Yet, this is a picture of most of us, most of the time.

Everyday we are blessed in so many wonderful and even marvelous ways. We know the source of our good fortune. And still, we often find ourselves in the company of the nine.

Gratitude is such an attractive quality. Saying thank you everyday is the right thing to do.