54 He also said to the multitudes, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, `A shower is coming’; and so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, `There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? 57 “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?58 As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper.”
Meditation: How good are you at reading warning signs? Jesus expects his disciples to accurately read the signs of the times! Farmers and seafarers know the importance of spotting weather conditions for safe travel and planting. A lot of effort is made today, with the help of science and technology, to discern potential natural dangers, such as tropical storms, hurricanes, floods, tornados, earth quakes, and erupting volcanoes, so that people can be warned to take shelter before disaster hits. Our need for accurately discerning spiritual danger is even more necessary if we want to avoid a spiritual crisis or a moral disaster. Jesus used a vivid illustration to point out the urgency of getting right with God before it is too late. If you got into serious trouble with your neighbor and did something that could get you severely penalized (like being thrown into jail and loosing everything you owned), would you not try to settle the case out-of-court to avoid the worst consequences?
None of us has the power and strength of will for overcoming sin and evil on our own. We stand in constant need of God’s grace, help, strength, and protection. That is why scripture uses vivid language to describe God as our rock, refuge, fortress, and mighty defense. We are also vulnerable to Satan’s lies and deceptions as well as our own spiritual blindspots for recognizing sin and moral weakness in our own lives. That is why we need God’s help and discernment for distinguishing between truth and error, right and wrong, good and evil. Fortunately the Lord Jesus, who is a just judge, is also a merciful advocate who pleads for us at the right hand of the Father in heaven. The light of Jesus Christ reveals what is in our hearts and his grace frees us from the tyranny of sinful habits, hurtful desires, and harmful addictions. God’s call is urgent and his grace is available for total freedom and transformation in Christ. If we want to turn away from sin the Lord is ready to give us the grace and help we need to choose for his way of love and holiness. Are you ready for his saving grace and healing action in your life?
“Lord Jesus, flood my heart with your love and free me for all that would keep me from doing your will. Transform my mind that I may discern what is right and have the courage to choose what is good and pleasing to you.”
1 The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein;
2 for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. [Selah]