54 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. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, 'It's going to be hot,' and it is. 56 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? 57 "Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. "
Being married to a farmer, watching the weather has become a daily practice. Watching clouds, sunsets, fog, sunshine, rain, no rain...waiting, hoping for the perfect weather to get the field work done or planning, rushing to finish the field work before the gray sheeting of rain in the distance reaches the field.
Here Jesus gives a compliment...ok...a compliment from a farmer's or a meteorologist's perspective...on the ability the people have developed for interpreting the activity in the sky far off in the distance, then turns it to press beyond the physicality of weather.
"How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?"
How did the crowd follow Jesus from place to place, hearing His words, watching miracles...body healings, spirit cleansings, soul renewals...and not see Him? They could not see that they were living, breathing in THE Kingdom for which they were waiting so desperately, begging God to come, to bring salvation.
How did they not knowing the King stood in front of them, smiling at them, holding their babies, laughing with their children, hearing their hurt and angst without a word being spoken.
Then Jesus segues from meteorology into law.
"...judge for yourselves what is right"...
Make my own decision? Step out of the crowd and choose for myself?
Now law, I know and do not know. I know that I need to live by certain rules or my neighbours might complain, my car might get stopped and the police might take me away in handcuffs. OR, not so worst case scenario, I might get sued and taken to court. All of these things terrify me. I do not defend myself well, if at all.
Knowing that about myself, would I not want to make amends, work out a deal, beg for forgiveness before we reach the court where an appointed judge might distribute a hefty fine, community service or a jail sentence?
"...I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny."
I know that I am a law breaker. I know that I can see just a little more clearly than many of the people in the crowd following Jesus. Is that because I have made a choice to follow Jesus? Maybe. I do know that I do not want to stand before the Judge; I definitely do not want to be turned over to "the officer"; and I know for certain that I absolutely do not have and will never have enough pennies to pay my debt.
Thank you Jesus for opening my eyes to see You and for bringing my heart to repentance that I may know Your salvation and see Your work in my life...and that You have paid my debt in full.
I feel like I'm seeing warnings in here, more and more. A warning to unbelievers to see now, while they still have eyes to see. Before their hearts are hardened to the point that they become unable, instead of unwilling, to see.
I think pride must be the biggest obstacle to the gospel. It's not easy to acknowledge how sinful we are, how utterly incapable we are of saving ourselves or attaining perfection or heaven on our own merit or power.
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