PARABLES DAY 18 - 25 May 2018

Ben Fourie

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, there is no way to make it salty again” Luke 14:34

In our modern times salt is one of the cheapest commodities, but it was not always like that. In ancient times salt was very expensive. Soldiers of the Roman legions were often paid with salt. The word salary is actually derived from the Latin word for salt; salarium.

Jesus was busy talking to his disciples about the demands that will be made on them if they want to be his followers even to the point of saying: “Those who do not carry their own cross and come after me cannot be my disciples.” All of this was because of the huge crowd that was following Jesus, as we read in verse 25. With his preaching in the eastern part of the Jordan region, Jesus became a celebrity and many people started following him. They had great expectations of a Messiah who would free them from the Roman yoke and some were starting to ask if Jesus might be the one. 

Jesus knew, that amongst this horde of followers, many were there for the wrong reason, like curiosity or a hankering for something sensational to happen. That’s why He told the parable about the man planning to build a tower.

Think about the cost of becoming my follower, Jesus told them. If you want to build a tower you first calculate the cost, otherwise you might run out of money and become a laughing stock. As in  building a tower one should calculate the cost of being a Christian. Being a Christian can be costly. In our modern times people from other religions still find that they are rejected by their families when they convert to Christianity. To become a Christian one needs to be very sure that you will be able to see it through. In Matthew 5 Jesus calls us the salt of the earth. In this sense we are invaluable to his Kingdom working against the great decay brought on by evil, but if we do not persevere, we are like the salt that lost its saltiness, absolutely worthless.

Prayer: Please help me to persevere. Amen

PARABLES DAY 17 - 24 May 2018

Ben Fouire.

“For all those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great.” Luke 14:11

In this chapter from Luke we read how Jesus healed a man who was suffering from swollen arms and legs. The Pharisees with their myriad of laws looked down their noses at other people and usually categorized them according to their possessions, status and especially their religious standing. In their eyes Jesus was not very high on the social ladder.

In spite of this a leading pharisee invited Jesus for a meal on the day of the Sabbath, probably out of curiosity to hear his preaching. The miracle healing happened at the meal. Some of the pharisees that were present frowned upon what was happening but refrained from any comment. Right after the healing they moved to the table and Jesus saw how some of the guests chose the best places.

He then told the parable of the wedding guests who did not wait for the host to seat them but arrogantly chose the best places. For this story Jesus actually used a similar idea from the Old Testament. In Proverbs 25:6-7 we read: “When you stand before the king, don’t try to impress him and pretend to be important. It is better to be asked to take a higher position than to be told to give your place to someone more important.”

The parable is not about being modest. What Jesus wants to emphasize is that life is not about how you see yourself, but how you look in the eyes of God. It is the privilege of the host to assign seats. Does this mean that in his kingdom some believers are more important than others, maybe because of their stronger faith. No! That is not the message of this parable. Nowhere in the Bibles do we find any mention that God has favourites. When God looks at us, he does not see our good works or our good way of living, God only sees the blood of his Son who died on the cross for us.

Prayer: Thank you that my place in the Kingdom is not determined by who I am, but by who You are.  Amen

GELYKENISSE DAG 18 - 25 Mei 2018

Ben Fourie

“Sout is ‘n goeie ding. Maar as sout verslaan het, waarmee sal dit weer sout gemaak word” Lukas 14:34

Sout is vandag spotgoedkoop, maar dit was nie altyd so nie. In antieke tye was dit duur. Die Romeinse soldate is dikwels met sout betaal en die woord salaris kom van die Latynse woord vir sout: salarium.

In die voorafgaande gedeelte praat Hy oor die eise van dissipelskap en gaan so ver om te sê: “Iemand wat nie sy eie kruis dra en agter My aankom nie, kan nie my dissipel wees nie.” Dit alles is na aanleiding van die groot menigte wat saam met Jesus gereis het soos Lukas 14 25 dit uitspel. Met sy optrede in die Oos-Jordaan streek het Jesus skielik baie gewild geraak en talle mense het Hom begin volg. Daar was natuurlik in daardie tyd groot verwagting dat die Messias sou kom om die juk van die Romeine af te gooi en mense het begin vra of Jesus nie dalk die Messias is nie.

Jesus besef dat daar onder hierdie menigte aanhangers maar baie is wat met verkeerde motiewe soos blote nuuskierigheid of sensasiebelustheid agter Hom aan kom en daarom die gelykenis van die man wat die huis wou bou en verder.

Bereken eers wat die koste van dissipelskap is waarsku Jesus hier. As jy wil huisbou begin jy tog nie sommer blindelings bou nie, want as jou geld halfpad opraak lag en spot almal met jou oor die halfvoltooide gebou. Dit is net so maklik om Christen te word as wat dit vra om ‘n huis te begin bou, maar albei vra op die lange duur baie volharding. “Kruisdra” noem Christus dit self, as dit nodig is selfs afstand doen van familie en selfs van jou eie lewe. Kyk maar hoe selfs in ons moderne eeu mense wat uit ander gelowe na die Christendom bekeer word uit hulle families verban word. Om Christen te word vra dus om baie mooi te dink of jy vir die gevolge kans sien. In Matteus 5 noem Jesus ons die sout vir die aarde dit wil sê ons is kosbaar vir die koninkryk, ons moet die groot bederf van die bose teëwerk. As ons nie bereid is om te volhard nie verslaan die sout egter en is ons niks vir die koninkryk werd nie.

Gebed: Help my asseblief om te bly volhard. Amen

GELYKENISSE DAG 17 - 24 Mei 2018

Ben Fourie

“Elkeen wat hoogmoedig is, sal verneder word en elkeen wat nederig is, sal verhoog word.” Lukas 14:11

In Lukas 14 word vertel hoe Jesus op die Sabbatdag ‘n man wat aan watersug gely het gesond gemaak het. Die Fariseërs met hulle talle wette het graag uit die hoogte na ander mense gekyk en hulle beoordeel op grond van besittings, status en natuurlik godsdienstige oortuigings. Jesus was in hulle oë nie hoog op die rangleer nie.

Tog het ’n vooraanstaande Fariseër vir Jesus vir die sabbatsmaal genooi, baie moontlik uit nuuskierigheid om sy boodskap te hoor. Die genesing vind dan in sy huis plaas. Van die teenwoordige Fariseërs het afkeurend, maar stilswyend toegekyk. Net na die genesing sit almal wat daar was aan vir ete en Jesus merk dat hulle die vernaamste plekke aan tafel uitsoek.

Daarop vertel Hy die gelykenis van die bruilofsgaste wat ook so ewe nie gewag het vir die gasheer om plekke aan te wys nie, maar wat voorbarig die voorste plekke ingeneem het. Vir hierdie verhaal put Jesus waarskynlik uit die Ou Testament waar ons in Spreuke 25:6-7 lees: “Moet jou nie vernaam aanstel by die koning en op die plek vir hoë mense gaan staan nie. Dit is beter dat hy vir jou sê: ‘Kom op hiernatoe!’ as dat hy jou laat plek maak vir die vername mense”.

Die verhaal gaan nie oor oordrewe nederigheid nie. Wat Jesus wel hier onder die aandag wil bring is dat die lewe nie daaroor gaan oor wat jy van jouself dink nie, maar wat God (die gasheer) van jou dink. Dit is immers die gasheer se voorreg om te laat sit waar Hy wil. Beteken dit dan dat daar in God se koninkryk ook ‘n ranglys is waar sommige gelowiges meer aansien het as ander, dalk omdat hulle meer gelowig is. Nee! Dit is nie die bedoeling van die storie nie. Nêrens in die Bybel kry ons die indruk dat God witbroodjies het nie. Wanneer Hy na ons kyk, sien Hy nie ons goeie werke, ons goeie lewe raak nie, Hy sien die bloed van sy Seun raak wat aan die kruis vir ons gesterf het.

Gebed: Baie dankie dat my plek in die koninkryk nie bepaal word deur wie ek is nie, maar deur wie U is. Amen

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