There are lots of different ways to think of or to describe what Jesus came to do. However, this text in Luke 7 gives us one of the most simple and beautiful ones imaginable. Jesus came to stop death in its tracks.
I suppose there is a bit of truth there; it is good to give an offering, to give money away. It does help keep money from being an idol; you don't give an idol away. But it misses the point of what Jesus is talking about here and through the rest of the text.
He had asked a law question. He has asked what he had to do to inherit eternal life. It was a silly question: you don't do much to inherit. Someone else dies and then they give you something; that's not really you doing something.
The deaf man was probably utterly confused. He couldn't hear; couldn't talk either because he was mute. But the people had seen Jesus of Nazareth coming, so they bundled the deaf man up and brought him to Jesus.
A tree is known by it's fruit. If the tree has a bunch of apples on it, it's an apple tree. If there's a bunch of cherries, it's a cherry tree. And when Jesus tells us that a false profit will be known by our fruits, he gives this example.
The second oldest trick that Satan has is making us think that God will only love us if we do good things. As the oldest trick is making us think we know better than God, this puts us in a world of hurt.
Sinful people like to turn the blessings God has given them into idols. It's sort of our sinful heart's go to thing to do. Consider the parable of the banquet. The master has offered one fantastic blessing – the banquet to end all banquets.
The Magnificat, Mary's Song given when she visits Elizabeth, is utterly wonderful, and yet I wonder if sometimes it isn't misunderstood. I wonder if sometimes we don't view it through a veil of false pretense.
So often today when we hear that word “keep” we simply replace it in our minds with “do” or “obey”. Which is a shame, because that puts the focus on our actions, when in reality the word “keep” points to something other than ourselves.
Jesus never says that Christians will always be “happy”. Quite the opposite! Jesus tells the disciples that they will have sorrow, that in fact the world will rejoice over the things that cause them sorrow.
Jesus being a shepherd is a familiar idea. It shows up all over the place in the scriptures, in some of the most familiar passages (the 23rd Psalm), or alluded to with some of the most famous people (King David was a shepherd).
There was so much confusion. Mary didn't know what was going on. She runs to Peter and John for help; they don't know what's going on either. Even when the angels ask her what's wrong, Mary's still confused.
Why? It's a simple enough question to ask. Why is Christ forsaken upon the Cross? So that He doesn't forsake you. As much as we might try to deny it or pretend it isn't real, sin has consequences. The wages of sin is death.
Now this was the sort of Messiah the people wanted! It was great. Think of all that could happen if you have a King who could just hand out free food whenever you wanted. The luxury, the ease that we could have!
“What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him?” The disciples were certainly impressed with Jesus. He had just stood up and rebuked the winds that were roaring on the Sea of Galilee... and they stopped. Things went still. And so they ask, “What sort of man is Jesus?”
So, what sort of people do you fear and hate? Seriously! If you close your eyes and think of a “bad guy”, what sort of prejudiced thoughts float to the foreground? It's just one of the things we sinful folks do: categorize and vilify people. Sin rears its ugly head once again.