A Storm Is Coming

54 Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right.
55 When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is.
56 You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times.
57 “Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right?
58 When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison.
59 And if that happens, you won’t be free again until you have paid the very last penny. ”

INTRODUCTION

Before we get into this message: it is similar to last week. It is not a full sermon. With the brief time I have today, I want to stir your mind and imagination and ask you some probing questions and then make a challenge. 


There is a similar passage in Matthew:
1 One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.
2 He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow;
3 red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times!
4 Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. ” Then Jesus left them and went away.

NOTE: In Matthew, Jesus is addressing the Jewish Religious leaders while in Luke, He addresses the crowd. The religious leaders have influenced the people, the nation as a whole is on the verge of rejecting Jesus.

Jesus said to the crowd, you can predict the weather by simply looking at the sky, reading the signs. All rain storms came from the Mediterrian which was to their west. When they saw clouds in the west, they knew it was going to rain. When they put their finger in the air and felt the wind blowing from the South, they knew a heat wave was on the way. They were very accurate in reading these natural signs but when it came to the “Signs of the Times,” they had no idea what was taking place. I like the way the NIrV puts it, “Why can’t you understand what is happening right now?”

This is a great question. In effect, Jesus was saying, “Do you people know what God is doing right here today, before your very eyes?” Peter knew, ten other disciples knew but the Jewish Religious leaders didn’t have a clue nor did the masses. Many believe that there were only 500 true followers until the day of Pentecost when thousands were converted. So we are talking about a tiny remnant of Jews who actually understood [in part] what God was doing in Christ. The rest didn’t have a clue.

The Jews had been waiting for the Messiah for hundreds of years, He comes and they don’t recognize Him which Jesus makes reference to in Chapter 13–And now, look, your house is abandoned [desolate, empty]. And you will never see Me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD. Do you understand what Jesus is implying? “I was here folks, standing right in front of you and you did not recognize who I am.” As John so aptly stated in his gospel:


 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize Him. He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. I love the next verse [12]–But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.


Jesus was amazed: these Jews could read the signs in the sky and predict the weather but they could not read the signs in scripture and recognize what God was doing in their very presence and time [generation].


This leads me to the personal question: Do you know what God is doing right now? Do you see God at work today? What is He doing in DBC today?


The Jews could look at the sky and see a storm coming but they could not look at Jesus and see God at work or His judgment coming. What an opportunity this generation of Jews had and they blew it. The Messiah that Adam and Eve longed for was among them and they did not see God in HIM, did not see God working through HIM. They heard Jesus teach, saw Him work miracle after miracle but yet did not see what God was doing in HIM. What a blessed priviledge they squandered.

The Jews as a whole did not see God working in Christ before the crucifixion, so let us fast forward to after the resurrection and see what has changed: [Acts 5:29-39]

29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.
30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross.
31 Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven.
32 We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.”
33 When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them.
34 But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while.
35 Then he said to his colleagues, “Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men!
36 Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing.
37 After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered.
38 “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown.
39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!


Jesus saw their coming judgment, it was less than 40 years away. Rome would come with all its might and destroy everything. The Jews would be left with an empty house, nothing: Jesus saw it so clearly that He could describe it but they didn’t see it coming. Jesus begs them to repent in chapter 13 but they refuse to repent. They did not see the glorious gospel in Christ because they didn’t want to see. Jesus was light so light was not the problem. In their stubborn pride they refused to listen to what He said or understand what He was doing. He convicted them of their sins and they hated Him for it.


Jesus gives them one last warning in verses 57-59:

57 “Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right?
58 When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison.
59 And if that happens, you won’t be free again until you have paid the very last penny. ”

Jesus is not literally talking about a court of law although it is good advice to settle out of court: He is talking about the final judgment. Folks, the last thing you want to do is to approach the bar of God without Jesus. It was virtually impossible for a Jew to pay his debt once he was thrown into prison. An intelligent Jew would do what ever it took to stay out of prison. It was always better to go to the creditor personally and beg for more time or terms of payment than to go to the courts of law.


Friend, what you be willing to do to avoid going to hell? I am telling you now: you need to settle out of court. Come to Jesus today: He makes the message clear in Luke 13:3, “Unless you repent [turn from your sins], you will perish.”

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