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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

God Makes The Possibly Impossible Possible


Luke 18:1-43 NIV



The Parable of the Persistent Widow


1Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’ ”

6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? 8I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”


The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”


The Little Children and Jesus


15People were also bringing babies to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”


The Rich and the Kingdom of God

18A certain ruler asked Him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

19“Why do you call Me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’a 

21“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

22When Jesus heard this, He said to him, 

“You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.”

23When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24Jesus looked at him and said, 

“How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”

26Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

27Jesus replied, 

“What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

28Peter said to Him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

29“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God 30will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”


Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time


31Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him and spit on Him; 33they will flog Him and kill Him. On the third day He will rise again.”

34The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what He was talking about.


A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight


35As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

38He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to Him. When he came near, Jesus asked him,41“What do you want Me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

42Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.




What is impossible with man is possible with God


At least two sins were revealed here:

First, the young man was not as blameless as he thought he was because he was guilty of loving himself and his possessions more than his neighbor, (which was a broken commandment according to v.19). And second, he lacked true faith which requires an unparalleled devotion to Jesus. 

This is when Jesus called over His disciples to teach them a lesson.  He said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God” (Luke 17:25; Matthew 19:24).  The disciple’s response was, “Then who can be saved?” or, “Then how is it possible for anyone to be qualified to enter the kingdom of God?” (Luke 17:26; Matthew 19:25).

This is where the famous and oft quoted verse comes in, which is the inspiration for our question.  Jesus replied, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” ( Luke 17:27; Matthew 19:26).  This answers our first contextual issue, for we can now see that the “this” concerns salvation.  It is impossible for man to save himself by his own merits, or for the law to grant eternal life.  The grace offered only by Jesus Christ is necessary.  The question now is, “What did Jesus mean by ‘all things?’” 

This part of the question concerns God’s omnipotence, or, His power.  It is important to understand that omnipotence does not mean that God is capable of doing anything including the irrational or imperfect. There are things that God is incapable of doing, such as lying or denying Himself (Hebrews 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:13; Titus 1:2).  Because God cannot do certain things, however, does not mean that He is less God because the things that He cannot do would actually take away from His perfect nature. 

Instead, Omnipotence refers to God’s Power, Which is unlimited (Job 11:7-11, 37:23; Revelation 4:8).  That is, God can take the things that are impossible to man, and make them possible because His Power is unlimited, while ours is limited.  The context of Jesus’ statement in Luke 17:27; Matthew 19:26 is a perfect example of His unlimited Power because while it is possible for man to be saved, it is impossible for man to accomplish the goal on his own.  God’s unlimited power is needed to make the possibly impossible, possible.

Scripture is full of verses that portray God making the possibly impossible possible.  When Abraham and Sarah were awaiting the promise of a son, even after they were well past child bearing years, God told them, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14

In the book of Numbers when the Israelites were complaining to Moses about food, the Lord told Moses that He was going to feed over 600,000 people for an entire month.  Moses was skeptical, but God said, “Is the Lord’s Power limited?  Now you shall see whether My Word will come true for you or not” (Numbers 11:23). 

In the book of Job, after forty-two chapters of trials, Job was able to answer God and say, “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). 

The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Behold, the Lord’s Hand is not so short that it cannot save; Nor is His Ear so dull that it cannot hear” (Isaiah 59:1). 

Jeremiah said, “Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You” (Jeremiah 32:17). 

Finally, in Luke 1:37, in foretelling the Birth of Jesus, the angel Gabriel told Mary, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

It is easy to get hung up on the word “all,” but it is best to remember that the context of this statement is in reference to salvation.  God made a way when the way was impossible for us.  This is what it means that “with God all things are possible.”



Amen and amen!

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