daily biblical sermons

If the Jews could interpret the weather, why couldn’t they interpret that their times were the messianic age?
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, Th.D.
Homily of Friday, 29th Week of the Year, October 27, 2023
Romans 7:18-25, Psalm 118 (119), Luke 12:54-59

Biblical citations are from the Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted




“He [Jesus] 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. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, “There will be scorching heat”; and it happens. 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?



“‘And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 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. I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper’” (Luke 12:54-59).



Jesus points out today that the Jews were quite good at predicting the weather, because they knew the signs that indicated various types of weather. If they see a cloud rising in the West over the Mediterranean Sea, they predict that it’s going to rain, for when they see clouds in that direction, it usually rains.



In the same way when the south wind blows, they predict that it will be very hot, and so it is, for they have observed many times that heat follows the south wind. This is because this wind blows across the hot deserts of Arabia, and when it gets to Israel it greatly heats it up.



Jesus then concludes that the people are hypocrites, for how is it that they can interpret the weather so well, but are completely ignorant of the importance of the present time as the messianic age, and that he himself is the Messiah.



There were plenty of signs that the were given so that they could interpret that he indeed was the Messiah. The miracles that he performed prove this. An honest person should have concluded that God at least was with him enabling him to perform things that human beings cannot do, but only God can do. This alone should have indicated to them that he was the Messiah and the Son of God, as he had claimed.



So Jesus asks them why it is that they know how to interpret the weather, but not the present time. This historic time had come and would go and they would live and die, and most of them would be completely ignorant of its importance as the messianic age, the times of the Messiah.



But what should people do who are wiser than most of the Jews and who do see the signs of the times and the miracles that Jesus wrought and do have faith that he is the Messiah – what should they do? They should be reconciled to God and live in God’s peace, for this reconciliation was being offered to everyone through believing in Christ.



Just as a person going to trial with his accuser and doesn’t know how the case will be judged by the magistrate should try everything he can to reconcile himself with his accuser and pay him whatever he wants so that he is not thrown into jail by the judge.



In the same way we who recognize the signs of the times and know that they indicate that Jesus is the Messiah should settle with God and make peace with him before he judges us and casts us not into jail but into hell. We should do everything that God wants us to do to be reconciled with him before we die and find ourselves cast forever into hell for our sins.



And how do we reconcile ourselves with God in this life before it is too late? We as Christians know the answer to that question. We need to be justified by faith in Christ in order to be reconciled with God.



“Being justified by faith – we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. The claims of our adversary, are all satisfied by Christ’s blood. God can now be just – and yet the justifier of every one who believes on Jesus. A full atonement has been made. The debt has been completely paid. The judge can say, ‘Deliver them – for I have found a ransom!’ (Job 33:24)” (JC Ryle, 1816-1900).



This is a rich quotation. What does it mean? It means that we are justified by faith in Christ through his death on the cross that pays our price by his blood for our sins; that is, he suffers our punishment for our sins for us so that we do not have to suffer it forever in hell. Therefore we have peace with God through Christ because our sins are propitiated by his sacrifice on the cross, and God has forgiven them completely. Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.



“The claims of our adversary, are all satisfied by Christ’s blood.” (JC Ryle). That means that our adversary the devil cannot show God all our sins and claim that we are his [the devil’s] possession, because Christ has paid what we owe God for our sins by his death on the cross. Therefore the claims of the devil that we are sinners have been satisfied by Christ’s blood.



“God can now be just – and yet the justifier of every one who believes on Jesus” (JC Ryle). This means that God can justify us ungodly sinners and be just in doing so, because Christ has paid our debt and so justice has been done for our sins. They have been justly punished in the flesh of Christ on the cross. Therefore God is not unjust in justifying and pardoning us, because Christ has taken our part and paid our price for us.



Next JC Ryle says, “A full atonement has been made. The debt has been completely paid.” A full atonement has been made for our sins, meaning a substitute has come and taken our place in suffering our punishment for them on the cross. By doing that he has completely paid our debt of suffering in punishment for our sins.



JC Ryle next says, “The Judge can say, ‘Deliver them – for I have found a ransom!’” God declares that we who believe in Christ should be delivered from Satan, because God has found a ransom that has been paid for us, namely the death of his Son. Therefore we can live in peace once we are justified by faith in Christ.



So this is how to correctly interpret the signs of the times that we too, like Jesus, are in the age of the Messiah who has come. We must therefore correctly interpret the signs of the times and be reconciled with God through Christ lest we be dragged off into the pit, which is hell. We should therefore seek reconciliation with God now while we can, while we are still on the way with him to the final judgment. We do so, as we have said, by being justified through our faith in Christ.



So how do we live now in peace with God and not fear him nor fear his judgment of us? “Let us never rest until we know and feel that we are reconciled to God. Let it not content us to go to Church, to use means of grace, and to be reckoned as Christians – without knowing whether our sins are pardoned, and our souls justified. Let us seek to know that we are one with Christ, and Christ in us. Let us seek to know that our iniquities are forgiven, and our sins covered. Then, and then only – may we lie down in peace, and look forward to judgment without fear” (JC Ryle).



This is the peace that we are all seeking or should be seeking. Let our faith grow to the point that we can accept God’s peace and believe that our sins are truly forgiven and that we are united to Christ. Then and only then will we have peace with God.

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