Being a Good Neighbor (4 of 6)

Shane Willard

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Being a Good Neighbor (4 of 6) Luke 12:13 is the only time that Jesus' actually proclaims: God is going to kill you. It's not any of the sins you would think. It's not adultery, fornication, burning your children in fire, idolatry. Its greed!

Jesus is not impressed by what kind of car you drive, house you live in, or anything you possess; but with how much compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding-in-love, character is present in your homes.
We've been talking about demonstrating, and then announcing. Luke 12:13 - this is the only time in Jesus' whole ministry, that somebody does something so heinous, that God kills him; that Jesus' actually proclaims: God is going to kill you.

It's not any of the sins you would think - it's not adultery; fornication, burning your children in fire, or idolatry - its greed! I want us to examine this, because we're going to be a group of people who want to bring heaven to earth, and not just go to heaven one day.

Luke 12:13 - “One of the company said to him: Master, Rabbi, speak to my brother, to divide the inheritance with me; and he said to him: who made me judge, or divider over you?” So this guy comes to Jesus, and he says: “Tell my brother to do things my way”.

In those days, it was a rabbi's responsibility to create a yoke of a way of life; it was a rabbi's responsibility to teach the scriptures; it was a rabbi's responsibility to make sure we were living the right way. But in these matters, it was not a rabbi's jurisdiction to make legal decisions like this.

He says: who made me judge (or a divider) over you? He says: I can't make a legal decision here, but I can make a yoke.

Here's his yoke; then he said to them: “watch and keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man's life is not in the abundance of the things which he possesses”.

So in Jesus' yoke, Jesus is not impressed by: what kind of car you drive; what kind of house you live in; or what kind of anything you possess.

Jesus is impressed with how much “compassionate, gracious, slow-to-anger, abounding-in-love” character is present in your homes - and He spoke a parable to them about this, saying: “there was a certain rich man”.

Now any time Jesus starts a parable "there's a certain rich man", it is not going to end up good! “There's a certain rich man, who brought forth plentifully; and he thought within himself…” This is a very anti-Hebrew statement; a very white-person statement. It's a statement that the Hebrew people would look at us, and go: “oh, that's foolish”.

We use statements all the time like: “I just have to go work this out, with myself”; “I just have to work this out, in myself”; “I need to go think to myself for a while”.

Hebrew people would never do that, never. Hebrew people thought in communities. As a matter of fact, we even talk about studying the Bible, saying: “did you have your quiet time today”?

Now is that a bad thing to do? No, I'm just simply saying, that the Hebrew people were not even allowed to study the Bible alone - they weren't allowed to do that. The reason is: something as reverent, and something as holy, as God's word - they didn't want to open up people to error, by opening it up to them individually.

So you studied the Bible all the time, but you did it in groups, and you did it in the presence of a rabbi, who, if you got off-base, would say things like this. If somebody got off-base in the discussion, they would say: “you have abolished the Torah”. In other words, you've gotten off-base from the Torah. If somebody was on-base with what the Torah was saying, the rabbi would say: “you have fulfilled the Torah”.

So when Jesus comes, and He says: “I have not come to you to abolish the Torah, but to fulfil it” - that was a common rabbinical phrase, that just meant: I'm not coming to go off-base from the law. You think I'm threatening the law? I'm not coming to go off base from the Torah, I'm coming to show you what it looks like, lived out. That's what I've come to do.