There were crowds of people eager to hear everything he had to say and Pharisee's doing their best to trip up Jesus in front of the crowd and making themselves look foolish at the same time. Jesus even directly spoke against the Pharisees in the seven woes passage and taught a lot about what the Kingdom of Heaven was really like, what would happen to him in the coming days and about his second coming. He taught that his servants wouldn't know the time of his return so we should always be ready and should be prepared to give an accounting of the work done here in his name.
He talked about the King who gave the wedding feast for his son and the invitees refused to attend and went about their own business. Even one of the people from the street (second list of invitations issued) didn't even give the groom honor enough to dress appropriately for the occassion.
There are so many principles from the passages this week that I have read (I haven't even gotten through them all) but I have taken the following for action in my upcoming weeks, months and years to put into practice:
- Am I investing what the Lord has given me with an eternal perspective? Am I investing my time, talents and resources in a way that would honor the Lord and bear fruit for his Kingdom?
- Is there someone I can touch today to encourage a soul and help them trust in the Lord too?
- Am I guilty of hiding my allegience to Jesus Christ and not boldly standing as one of his disciples?
- Am I investing myself to learn about the Lord's character so that I can pattern my choices after his?
- Am I willing to risk opposition in order to stand for Christ or will I be like the church leaders who believed but were afraid if they confessed their belief they would be thrown out of the synagogue?
- Are their limits I have placed on what I am willing to yield for the Lord? Are there hindrances of self indulgence, comfort or pride that I am hanging on to that prevent God from fully using me as his servant?
- Do I weep over the people who have not yet come to accept God's offer of salvation? Do I use opportunities to share God's character with those who don't have a clear understanding?
- Am I guilty of being blind to the work of God in my own life? Have I acted without faith?
- Am I content with a mere physical healing from pain or do I want the abundant life promised in scripture? Is it reflected in the prayers I offer? Do I go beyond the physical and ask for spiritual insight and forgiveness of my sins?
- Faith allows for no doubt: am I asking for something in prayer and not acting in belief?
- Am I bearing fruit for the Lord? Will I be proud to give an accounting of my work here?
- Do I keep an eternal focus or do I let momentary trials and unkindnesses affect my responses?
- How much of my faith is compromised: to keep a job? to keep peace at home? to keep friends? to maintain security? to be thought of well? Do I love the praise of men more than God?
- Do I treat my Lord in a casual way and not give him the respect he deserves? Do I not do my best?
- Do I allow anything to come between me and my love of the Lord? Are there any habits or idols that need to be removed from my life? When it comes time to pray and to spend time with the Lord, is there anything that comes to my mind that I would rather do? Is my time appropriately allocated to give the Lord priority place?
- Do I give God all that belongs to him?
- Are my thoughts and actions centered on loving the Lord my God with all my heart/soul/mind?
- Do I really show love for my neighbor? How can I make my neighbors know they are loved?
- If Jesus returned today, am I ready? Am I prepared like the virgins with the oil or have I allowed other distractions to consume me? Have I put off something that I should do to get ready?
As you can see there are a lot of applications to be taken from the instruction Jesus gave during his last week on earth before his crucifixion. More than can be learned or put into practice during a mere week.
God Bless you as you seek him and as you serve him!