Samuel Abbate MD

(One Perfect Life Chapters 134-137) In this portion of the Gospel we find several accounts that focus our attention on correctly valuing the things of God.

In Luke 17:22-37 Jesus discusses His return and the start of His Kingdom on earth. He teaches the disciples to value His kingdom over their present life on earth. He warns them to not focus on their current reality as the people in the time of Noah and those living in Sodom had prior to their destruction. Their failure to value God’s ways over their own caused them to miss out on the deliverance which they could have experienced.

Even more heartbreaking is Lot’s wife who initially followed the call to leave but was later punished for looking back – a symbol of her continued desire for her life in Sodom over God’s plans which she did not fully understand.

Next in the parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8) Jesus teaches the value of trusting in God to ultimately correct the injustices of this world. He reassures them that if an unjust judge will respond to repeated cries for justice, then a just and loving God will also.

The next parable contrasts a self-righteous Pharisee and a repentant tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). The Pharisee valued his self-righteousness over receiving God’s forgiveness. He saw no need to repent. The repentant tax collector was crushed by the realization of His fallen state and cries out for mercy. He wants forgiveness because of the value he places on his relationship with his Father. He wants to restore that relationship.

The value of women and of marriage is shown in Jesus answer to the Pharisees question about divorce (Matthew 19:1-12). Some teachers correctly followed the teaching of scripture that adultery was the only circumstance that permitted divorce. Others taught a man could “dismiss” his wife for any reason. A divorced woman would have a difficult time supporting herself in that culture. Jesus shows His high value for women and marriage by pointing the disciples back to the scriptures and insisting that they properly value marriage.

Finally, Jesus teaches about valuing God over money (Matthew 19:13-50). This is really a warning about making possessions a false god. Men look to their resources to meet their needs and not their heavenly Father. This is why Jesus tells the rich young ruler to sell everything and follow Him. He is challenging him to demonstrate His faith in God by making Himself dependent on God.

He goes away sad because he lacks faith. The people of that day thought God blessed righteous people with wealth. That is why the disciples were sad to hear it was hard for the rich to enter heaven. If it was hard for the rich how could be poor be saved. Jesus is teaching them to serve God and not money. If they properly value God and His Kingdom, He will take care of them.

We need to value our lives, relationships and possessions in accordance with the teachings of scripture.

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