Summary: A look at two short verses where Jesus says He wasn't appointed a judge. Why did He say that? This leads us to a larger discussion of the dangers of coming to Jesus with a pre-existing agenda.
A CONFUSING STATEMENT: Why does Jesus say He’s not a judge?
- Luke 12:13.
- This is an odd statement by Jesus. Why does He say that He was not appointed a judge between them?
- It’s important to read the full sentence. Jesus doesn’t say, “I am not a judge” or “I will never judge.” He says that in this situation He has not been appointed the judge.
- The local rabbi or a local official was most likely the correct judge. Jesus was not the appointed judge in this dispute.
- So Jesus is correctly stating the specific truth to this man’s specific question: I am not the appointed person to judge this dispute.
- The other piece that needs to be addressed up front is why this man comes to Jesus.
- He comes to Jesus, not because he has studied the Scripture and considers Jesus to be the Messiah who ultimately has authority over anything He chooses to.
- No, this man most likely didn’t like the local judge’s verdict and so comes with a pre-conceived agenda. He just sees Jesus as another way to try to get what he wants.
USING GOD: Many treat religion merely as a way to get God’s approval for what they want.
- Luke 12:13.
- What do we want?
- Much of the walk of faith is about beginning to see the world the way that God does.
- Aside from doing what we want, even beyond that God is going to try to move us to viewing the world from His vantage point.
- Some examples:
a. Beyond not answering our shallow prayer for prosperity, God wants us to begin to see in Scripture where He’s concerned about oppressing the poor by charging interest and some of the other questionable capitalism practices.
b. Beyond not answering our shallow prayer for happiness, God wants us to begin to see in Scripture where He is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness.
c. Beyond not answering our prayer to bless building an unnecessarily large church building, God wants us to begin to see that His Spirit dwells in people, not buildings.
- Jesus’ question to us might be: “Who told you I would do that for you?”
- Jesus often answered questions people didn’t ask.
- You can’t just take the part of the Bible you like. You have to take it all.
JESUS WILL NOT BE MANIPULATED: Jesus will not be bound by you “claiming” the right Bible word.
- Luke 12:14.
- The way it usually develops is something like this:
a. We have a pre-existing agenda.
b. We pray carefully selected holy words.
c. Our prayer is not blessing by Jesus.
d. As we move forward, a mess ensues.
- Am I seeking the answer or my answer?
- Do I want my answer or God’s best?
- Am I after God’s will or my will?
- Using Bible words to get what I want.
- Jesus will not bless your manipulation.
- Using holy words as a means to an end.
- The end result (like Jesus’ rejection of the man here) is a mess because Jesus doesn’t come through for us.
- Claiming Bible words:
a. “Prince of Peace.”
- But that doesn’t mean He’s apathetic about you living with your boyfriend.
- But He doesn’t guarantee immediate healing when it’s serving the purpose of pushing and challenging you spiritually.
- Sometimes we cherry-pick our Scriptural foundation.
a. “God said not to judge.”
b. “God is a God of love.”
c. “God loves everyone.”
d. “God is a God of forgiveness.”
- Yes, there are Scriptures to back each of those up, but those are not the whole picture.
a. Jesus did say to get careful about judging, but He also said to “judge with a righteous judgment.”
b. God is a God of love, but He is also a God of holiness.
c. God does love everyone, but He also will not wink at sin.
d. God is forgiving, but He also knows that repentance that doesn’t involve changed behavior is merely empty words.
- Some examples:
a. Claiming pastoral authority to win an ugly church fight.
- There is pastoral authority, but you also have to love your enemy. You can’t accomplish Christian ends by non-Christians means.
HOW TO PRAY: It’s ok to ask specifically, but always want God’s will above all.
- You know that I’ve preached frequently about the importance of praying specifically. This message could be seen as pushing back against that.
- How the two truths co-exist has to do with how we pray.
- We should pray specifically. It’s important to have a vision for what we want God to do. We need to be on the lookout for what God is up to. Expectation of an answer is the evidence of faith.