Opening Prayer Thoughts.
Praise God for the warnings he gives us in his Word concerning our need to seek and trust in him. Praise God that he has not left man ignorant of what awaits those who reject him, nor of the need to pursue after him with hunger and thirst.
Confess the sin of frequently hearing these warnings, but not taking them to heart, or minimizing them. Pray that the Holy Spirit would help you to heed these warnings with seriousness.
Look at the signs - it is clear. Please read Luke 12:54-59.
Please ask God the Holy Spirit's help as you come to his Word.
V54. You can see the clouds and feel the wind but...
It's not clear whether the teaching here is at the same time as what preceded as there is no obvious connection. Luke seems to record what comes into his head as he is writing under the Holy Spirit's influence, which is, after all, the way of life, where things never flow in straight lines.
We tend to think of Jesus giving illustrations from everyday items of life, as well as from the world around him, animals and plant life, but here he is using the weather for illustrative purposes. It is not the only time he does so; in Matthew 16:2 in teaching similar to what he is going to give here, he uses the appearance of the 'red' sky at night, and then in the morning, as a sign.
In Palestine, rain, not surprisingly, comes from the Mediterranean Sea, which is to the west. Although there are two parallel mountain ranges in eastern Palestine, the Judean Desert in the east and the Negev Desert in the south obviously produce no rain. So, if you see clouds forming in the west, it doesn't take a meteorologist to work out that it's going to rain.
The same is true regarding the wind, especially so when it is coming over the hot southern Negev Desert in the south. Again, when the south wind blows, you don't need to be an Einstein to work out that it was going to be a very warm day, and by warm, I mean scorching.
What is Jesus' point? It is, 'You don't have to overthink to read the signs, and work out what is going on with the weather. Clouds in the west – rain. Wind from the south – scorching hot weather. So, if you can do that, why can't you read the signs regarding who I am and why I am here?'
The Old Testament was teaming with information about the coming of the Messiah. That he would come from the line of Abraham, Genesis 22:18, be a descendant of Isaac, Genesis 21:12, Jacob, Numbers 14:17, come from the tribe of Judah, Genesis 49:10, as an heir to King David's throne, 2 Samuel 7:12-13, Isaiah 9:7; should this provoke thought? Yes, the first two or three could have applied to countless young men, but when you get into the tribe of Judah and an heir of David, well, it is narrowing things down considerably. Putting it all together should have raised some questions about Jesus, who he was and what he was doing. That Bethlehem was his birthplace, Micah 5:2, shouldn't have been too hard to find out. And given the talk about his mother not being married when she conceived, although uniquely exceptional, the prophecy that he would be born of a Virgin, Isaiah 7:14, should have at least begged the question – could this be the Messiah? The fact that he was called Immanuel is telling in Isaiah 7:14. Then there was the prophecy of time to be spent in Egypt, Hosea 11:1, and the massacre of children that would take place at his birthplace, Jeremiah 31:15. That a messenger would prepare the way for him was clear from Isaiah 40:3-6, Malachi 3:1-5, as was the rejection of the Messiah by his own people, Isaiah 40:3-5. His role as a prophet was declared in Deuteronomy 18:15, as a priest in the order of Melchizedek in Psalm 110:4, and as a King in Psalm 2:6 and Zechariah 9:9. That he would be 'marked' as a Nazarene, Isaiah 11:1, who would be called the Son of God, Psalm 2:7, should have been known. His teaching in parables, Psalm 78:2-4 and Isaiah 6:9-10, his healing of the broken-hearted, Isaiah 61:1-2, and his being lauded by children, Psalm 8:2 – none of this should have been a surprise to anyone. It was all there, just like the clouds in the west and the wind from the south, it just had to be read and the obvious conclusion drawn.
Why did they not see what was patently clear? Because they were hypocrites. They were living for their outward religion. They weren't seeking salvation, because as far as they were concerned, they had found salvation in themselves, in their basic keeping of the law. Regardless of what they said about how much they were waiting for the coming Messiah, in reality, they had worked out their religion and were happy with it. They didn't need him. The 'clouds' and the 'winds' spoke to them, and they took heed, but the Word of God, and matters of eternal significance, well...
V57. Judge for yourselves what is right.
It is this ambivalence that Jesus now picks up on and confronts. He is saying to them, 'why did you', that is in contrast to others (possibly Jesus is thinking of it in contrast to the Pharisees who were even more engrained in their religion of self-adulation), 'not look at the prophecies and judge for yourself what God had revealed'. There was no reason why they could not have done so. The right thing was clearly there to be seen.
He doesn't leave it at that; he continues to develop this challenge through a typical everyday life example. He envisages two men going to court to settle a dispute. His counsel is – do your best to settle the dispute before you get to court. If you have ever been to court, the advice that you settle it before you reach the courtroom will ring true. Having your day in court sounds good, but it can prove to be a very costly experience, and Jesus' hearers knew that. No one listening to him would have said, 'that's nonsense'. They would have all agreed. But Jesus isn't giving them free legal advice; he is taking what they know, and applying it to their standing before God. His point is – you need to sort out your life with God. The 'clouds' in the west and the 'wind' from the south are there for a reason. They are there to warn you that the rain and the scorching heat is coming. All the signs, the prophecies about Jesus, were for a reason. The Messiah was coming for a reason. Man enters the world condemned in his trespasses and sins, and no amount of religious activity will save him on the Day of Judgement. Jesus is saying to all who will hear – get it sorted with God before the courtroom on the Day of Judgement; otherwise, the evidence presented will be so damming that payment will never be made. The only hope is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Only in Christ can the penalty be paid. Only in Christ is the righteousness necessary to enter into heaven imputed, literally placed over one's life.
The signs are clear and must be heeded. Salvation alone is in Christ. The way of sanctification, holy and blameless living, is stated simply and clearly in the Bible. We just need to read and respond, just as we do with the weather, and take a coat with us when the skies are thick with clouds and put sunscreen on when it is a scorching hot day.
A Psalm to Sing.
Psalm 62A - Link to the words. Link to it being sung. Sing with joy in your heart to God.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God"
Truth for the Mind and Heart.
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 92 - What is a sacrament?
Answer - A sacrament is a holy ordinance appointed by Christ, by which, by visible signs, Christ, and the benefits of the new covenant, are represented, sealed and applied to believers.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Thank God that he has clearly revealed in the Scriptures the truth concerning our need of salvation, and that the only way of salvation and life is through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Pray that as we read the Word of God, we would do as we do when we see what the weather is going to be like and respond.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC