Today Jesus tells the multitudes it is going to cost them their lives to follow Him – “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple… So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”
Again Jesus reveals His heart for the lost with stories about a lost sheep and a lost coin. Once the sheep and coin are found, the owners rejoice greatly. Jesus says, “likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” To further illustrate the joy that occurs when a lost person is found, Jesus tells another story about a prodigal son who wasted all of his inheritance on harlots. When the son finally hit rock bottom and humbly returned home, the father celebrated with a feast for the son. When his brother heard about the celebration he said to his father, “Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.”
The father responded, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.” The father’s response illustrates that it doesn’t matter how far away from God you are in any given moment. The Lord will rejoice over anyone who humbly repents and turns to Him, regardless of past sins.
We end the reading with two different stories about two different men named Lazarus. The first story gives us some insight into heaven and hell; the second story glorifies the Son of God.
First Lazarus – There is a rich man who enjoys all his earthly possessions and ignores the suffering beggar named Lazarus who lies at his gate. When both men die, Lazarus goes to heaven where he is comforted by Abraham, and the rich man burns in hell. The rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to him for some relief from his torment, and Abraham responds, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.” Therefore, now is the time to seek the kingdom of God through a relationship with Jesus Christ because once you die, it is too late.
Second Lazarus – Jesus’ friends, Martha and Mary, have a brother named Lazarus who is very sick. Jesus says, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” So two days after Lazarus dies, Jesus goes to his tomb in Bethany. There He is first greeted by Martha, and Jesus assures her that her brother will rise again. Jesus says to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
Although we are all guaranteed to die, only those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior will rise again to eternal life in heaven.
Tomorrow Jesus will raise Lazarus from the grave, proving that He has power over death which can only come from the Lord. Keep reading. (Luke 14:25-17:10, John 11:1-37)