interpreting the times

A few months back my wife suggested that we move away from reading a devotional book entry each night and instead go through a book of the Bible during our family devotional time with our grandson each night … her recommendation … the gospel of Luke (NIV).

We have been both surprised and encouraged in the ways the Holy Spirit has opened our understanding to passages of Scripture that we have read repeatedly through the years … actually through the decades. Also, from time to time we both find ourselves a little bit in awe of the questions and interpretations offered by our 12 year old grandson … out of the mouths of babes.

Wednesday night we were reading Luke 12:54-59 … this particular subsection is labeled ‘Interpreting the Times’ in the NIV. Let’s look at it in two parts …

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? (vs 54-56)

Now from the perspective of this post, it is important to glean from above exactly who Jesus is talking to … throughout the gospels, Jesus usually reserves the label hypocrites for the Pharisees and the scribes … remember that as you read the second part of this passage from Luke because Jesus is very specifically addressing the Pharisees and the scribes … and perhaps to a lesser degree the chief priests and elders. And without a doubt they would have seen Jesus as their adversary …

 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?  As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” (vs 57-59)

Based on context, it would seem that this continues to be part of the conversation on interpreting the times … or the times to come …  not simply another lesson on dealing with anger and resolving issues before you get to the courts (Matthew 5:25-26)

Consider this interpretation of that last passage …

Why don’t you judge for yourselves Pharisees and scribes what is right? As you are going with me (Jesus) to the Sanhedrin and later Pontius Pilate, try hard to be reconciled to God through me on the way, or one day I may drag you off to God for judgment, and God will turn you over to His angels, and His angels will cast you into hell. I tell you Pharisees and scribes, you will not get out … it will be too late to settle the debt you owe … a debt you can never pay.

Maybe I’m reading a bit too much between the lines … maybe not …

Why don’t you judge for yourselves, what is right?



About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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4 Responses to interpreting the times

  1. Julie Garro says:

    I don’t think you are reading too much between the lines. I think you are right. Please keep writing, I enjoy your posts. Blessings to you

    • bwebbjr says:

      Thanks for your agreement and your encouragement Julie … as long as the Spirit convicts and fills my mind with words to write, Lord willing, I will write. And blessings to you sister … blessings!


  2. jimdavenport says:

    Bernie, there is so much truth in this passage and it has significant meaning for us today. Admittedly there is a bit of the Pharisee in me. Living up to a predetermined set of rules established by myself and respected religious leaders can sometimes blind us to the truths Jesus taught.. The only (ONLY) way to be reconciled to God is to through Jesus. Man’s feeble attempts to reconcile himself to God ALLways fail. When will we learn? Jim

    • bwebbjr says:

      Well said Jim … well said … and I am a charter member of Pharisees Anonymous as well. So often we look down on the Pharisees as Jesus’ arch enemies in His earthly mission completely missing the point … there is a little bit, if not a lot, of Pharisee in all of us. When we read of Jesus’ encounters with the Pharisees … we are actually looking in the mirror. Came across an interesting quote last night by Bono, the lead singer of the rock group U2 … thought you might enjoy, “Religion is what happens when the Spirit has left the building.” We must always be cognizant of the fact that the Pharisees did not have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. At the same time we do … Bono’s point is quite insightful. Great comment Jim … thanks!

      Love you brother!


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