Archive for the ‘Luke’ Category

John 2

John 2 captures the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.  He is at a wedding with His family at Cana in Galilee along with His disciples.  “When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”  His mother is the one who brings the problem to His attention.  Jesus responds saying “Woman, what does this have to do with me?  My hour has not yet come”.  Jesus says ‘not my problem’ and knows that He hasn’t yet begun to show the power that God has placed within Him as a man.  Yet He is compassionate and knows the importance of wine at this wedding feast.

So He instructs the servants, whom His mother had told to do whatever Jesus said, to fill a half dozen 20-30 gallon stone jars. “Fill the jars with water.”  Not sure how that is going to help, but it was Jesus’ instruction to them.  They do as they were told and then He asks them to take a bit out and serve it to the master of the feast – the man in charge.  He got quite a reaction from this guy who said “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now”.  Little did he know that Jesus had merely put water into the stone jars and it turned into wine.

This is the first of the signs that Jesus will do that show who He is and manifest His glory.  Jesus hadn’t planned on revealing that at this wedding feast, but responded with love to the circumstances He was involved in.  He could easily have said no to His mother, but after some short resistance, decides to quietly turn a situation that would have not only been embarrassing to the bridegroom and family who allowed the wine to run dry.  Does He always intervene in an embarrassing situation to change the outcome?  No, certainly not.  But He also is not oblivious to life and the little things that make it.  Jesus cares about us and what happens down to the details.

From the wedding, “he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples”.  They went to the temple and Jesus sees something that upsets Him – many were there selling animals and changing money and had turned the temple into a business.  This time He doesn’t quietly respond to the situation, but “making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen”.  Jesus can’t just ignore what is going on around Him.  He “poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables”.  Can you imagine the chaos.  He disrupts their economic system and says “do not make my Father’s house a house of trade”. Not a popular thing to do for this newcomer to the Jerusalem scene.  Principle comes ahead of tradition and Jesus makes it clear He won’t stand by and watch things that are wrong.

John 1

John 1 has the author taking us back to the foundation of the world and giving us a lesson on how the world came to be.  The Gospel of John was written for a specific purpose: that we might believe.  “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made”.  John is referring to Jesus Christ, as one of the Trinity who was with God and the Spirit back at creation. The Father and the Son (Jesus is known here as the Word) are equally God, yet distinct in their Person. The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father. Yet they are equally God, with God the Holy Spirit making one God in three Persons.

John tells us that “In him was life, and the life was the light of men”.  Life comes to all of us through Jesus Christ.  The ancient Greek word translated life is ‘zoe’, which means “the life principle,” not bios, which is mere biological life. Therefore, without Jesus, we are dead and in darkness. We are lost spiritually and need a Savior.  John the Baptist comes to teach the world that Jesus is that light.  John “came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him”.  John wasn’t the light, but pointed the world toward Jesus Christ, the Word, who was.

John’s message is clear and gives us much hope.  We simply need to come to the Light and receive it.  “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right  to become children of God”.  What a promise.  We can receive God’s provision of life through Christ and become a child of God.  Latch onto the power in those words.  Freely given through grace – we can become God’s son or daughter.  John proclaimed “the Word  became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth….from  his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace….the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”.

What a powerful set of truths.  Jesus was with God at the creation and all things were made through Him.  He is the author of life, and through Him we can receive that light and become truly alive.  As we receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, we become children of God.  As a child, we have ultimate security – God will always be our Father no matter how far we stray.  We may break the relationship, but we’ll never lose our place as a son or daughter of the King.  Grace covers all sin, and has been given freely to anyone who will receive.  What a glorious story from a loving God who planned it all from before the beginning of time!  Have you received that grace?  The next move is ours…..

Luke 24

Luke 24 begins on the morning of the third day after Jesus was crucified.  Some women went to the tomb to finish his burial preparation, and when they arrived “they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus”.  It was exactly as Jesus had told them – that on the third day He would rise.  The women were surprised, but two angels tell them “He is not here, but has risen”.  They ran back to tell the disciples what they had seen but “these words seemed to them an idle tale, and  they did not believe them”.  It didn’t seem possible but “Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened”.  He saw it with his very own eyes.

Two of them were going to a village named Emmaus and “While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them”.  These two guys were just walking along the road and Jesus comes alongside and joins the conversation, asking questions about what had happened in Jerusalem and getting the story through the eyes of two that were followers.  He walks with them until evening and they ask him to stay since it was late, but still had no idea of who He was.  Jesus was letting this discovery come slowly.

While they were eating and “he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight”.  Jesus reveals Himself, but then is gone. This was big news so “they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem”.  They brought the message to the eleven that Jesus was indeed risen and what the women and Peter had said was absolutely true.

The disciples were gathered together and Jesus shows up in the room with them.  At first they were overwhelmed, but He calmed them and showed His hands and feet.  He also ate a fish, which pretty well sealed the deal that He wasn’t some ghost or spirit but had indeed returned in human form.  Jesus reminded them that what had happened was the result of prophecy and had to occur.  And now, things were going to change as He was going to join the Father and the torch was being passed to them to be witnesses.  “While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven”.  Jesus had fulfilled prophecy and was on to His heavenly place leaving His disciples to carry the message!

Luke 23

Luke 23 has the religious leaders taking Jesus before Pilate.  “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to  Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king”.  They didn’t have much to charge Him with, so they came up with some charges to try and get the ruler to take action.  Pilate sees nothing worthy of more than some punishment, so he chooses to send him over to Herod who interrogates him and then returns him finding the same outcome.  Jesus had done nothing to warrant death.

You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him”.  The charges were all made up, and Pilate is ready to let Jesus go. “Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus”.  But the pressure of the crowd continued and they wanted Pilate to release a guy named Barabbas. Pilate caves to the pressure and decides to crucify Jesus.  It had to be in order to fulfill God’s plan, but it certainly wasn’t what the rulers of the day intended to have happen.

Jesus is sent to Gethsemane to be crucified. Simon carried His cross, and “there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him”.  Jesus didn’t make the trek alone, but had a host of people that were walking behind him.  He was still very popular with the masses, just not the leaders who were tired of Him disrupting their economic system and control of the people.  He was crucified on the cross and as He hung there, even in the midst of all the pain and suffering, He still loved the people.  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Jesus’ love for mankind was bigger than Himself.

Later in the day, He breathed His last breath and committed His soul to the Father.  “Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus”.  This is a brave move, given that Jesus wasn’t at all popular among the ruling leadership.  But Joseph was looking for the Messiah, and knows that an injustice has been done.  He wants to make things better and places Jesus into a tomb of his very own, which will become a focal point of the resurrection.

Luke 22

Luke 22 has the religious leaders stirred up and ready to take Jesus us.  “The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people”.  He’s disrupted things enough, and they are ready to end it.  This happens at the same time as the Passover, when Jesus is going to Jerusalem to be with His disciples.  He sends some on ahead to prepare a place, and then “when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him”.  Jesus spends one last evening with the Twelve, and as He does, He tells them that someone in the room would betray Him.

They began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this”.  It doesn’t seem possible, that one of the 12 that has lived with Christ the last three years would now betray Him.  So they argued about it for a bit but quickly lost themselves in a discussion about who was most important.  Isn’t it amazing how quickly we get fcosued on self rather than the things that matter.  “A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest”.  The disciples were worried about positioning themselves, not serving their Master.

Jesus uses the time to talk about what it means to truly be a leader.  “The leader as one who serves….I am among you as the one who serves”.  Servant leadership isn’t a discovery of the 20th or 21st century – Jesus painted that picture over 2000 years ago.  Real leadership is about serving those who are with you.  Jesus not only taught that lesson, He modeled what it looked like.  He washed the feet of His disciples and served them the bread and the cup.  Are you a servant leader?  You don’t need any more than a Bible and Jesus to find out what that truly means.

Jesus prays to God about what lies ahead.  “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.  Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done”.  He didn’t have to go to the cross.  He could have told God no.  But Jesus was tuned in to the Father.  He wants to do the Father’s will.  Jesus chose to go willingly to the Cross to pay the price for your sin and mine.  Peter had told Jesus there was no way he would deny his Lord.  But when he was sitting in the area where Jesus had been taken, three times he was confronted about being a Christ Follower.  Three times he denied it, and after the third time the rooster crowed exactly as Jesus had said.  Our faith in Christ will be challenged.  We have to be prepared to stand firm.

Luke 21

Luke 21 has Jesus continuing to teach.  He tells a parable about seeing“a poor widow put in two small copper coins” into the offering.  It wasn’t much at all compared to the rich, who put in large sums.  But Jesus said “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them”.  It isn’t the size of the contribution that Jesus cared about.  It was the heart behind the giving.  Jesus teaches us that “they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on”.  We mistake the external with the heart.  God cares about our heart.  It’s not what we do, as much as how and why we do it that matters.

Jesus goes on to share about the things that will happen before the end of the world.  He warns His followers that “before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake”.  There will be a price for being a Christ Follower as we approach the end times.  Jesus has warned about this throughout His teaching, but it gets pretty clear and real here.  That day continues to come ever closer, and He tells us what to do in order to be ready.

”This will be your opportunity to bear witness”.  We’ll be placed in front of authorities and will have a chance to talk about the Christ that we follow.  So how should we prepare?  “Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and  wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict”.  He tells us to settle our relationship with Him in our hearts – know who He is and how we are connected to Him – and then trust Him to provide the words when we need them.  We don’t have to spend our life preparing for the inquiry.  He’ll give us the words when we need them.  We merely need to have the relationship solid and in place.

There will be much chaos as that day approaches.  Jesus tells us that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away”.  But in the midst of the chaos, there is one thing we can cling to – His Word.  That means we need to be in the Word daily, studying and learning it, because it will be the rock to which we can cling as the world around us begins to fall apart.  Jesus tells us to “stay awake at all times, praying that you may  have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man”.  We aren’t to bury our head in the sand and ignore what’s going on around us.  We need to stay diligent and focused on walking with Him and watching what is happening around us!

Luke 20

Luke 20 has Jesus dealing with the religious leaders who are out to try and destroy Him.  Jesus uses a parable to illustrate their attack.  It was about a vineyard owner who sent servants to deal with those who were tending the vineyard for him.  In each case, these tenants beat the servant and sent him back to the owner empty handed.  So the owner decides to take a different approach – “? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him”.  Of course, this is a reference to God sending Jesus to us here on earth after the way His prophets had been treated for generations.

Unfortunately, the guys working the vineyard didn’t respond the way the owner had hoped.  “This is the heir.  Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours”.  Very flawed logic, but it’s exactly what happened to Jesus some 2000 years ago.  The owners response was predictable – “He will  come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others”.  We’re faced with the same question yet today.  God sent His Son to provide a way to overcome our sin – but we have to respond to Him.  What will you do with Jesus.

In that day, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”. That cornerstone still stands and we have to respond to it yet today.  Of course, “The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people”.  The religious leaders of the day were not happy with Jesus.  He was challenging their system and disrupting their world.  They want Him dead, but they are afraid of the fallout.

Jesus becomes more vocal in warning the people about the status quo.  “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation”.  It isn’t our place in society that matters.  It is how we live based on what we have been entrusted with.  These religious leaders used their power and position for their own gain.  Jesus says those who have been granted more will be held to a higher account.  God expects us to live in a way that aligns with Him.  If we have been entrusted with much, much is expected!

Luke 19

Luke 19 has Jesus coming across a short guy named Zacchaeus, who wanted to see Jesus so “he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way”.  This tax collector knew he needed a Savior, and he did what he had to in order to be able to see Him.  “And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today”.  Jesus invites himself to go and have a meal with this man, even though he was not highly thought of at all.

Of course, the religious leaders had a different view and “when they saw it, they all grumbled”.  They couldn’t understand why Jesus would associate with a sinner like Zacchaeus, who cheated people and took their money wrongfully.  But he repented and offered to give half what he had to the poor and repay those he had taken advantage of.  In that day, a tax collector had much power and could charge people whatever he wanted for the most part.  Zacchaeus knew he was wrong, and so did Jesus.  But the Savior, when challenged by the religious leaders, said “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost”.  Jesus came to save those who need a Savior.

He goes on to tell a parable about ten servants who were each given a mina.  Then the owner leaves, and when he returns his servants come and share what they have done with his money.  One made 10X, one 5X, and one just hid it returning it as it was given.  Jesus makes it clear that the servants who took the money and turned it into more were the ones who did what was expected.  He said “Well done, good servant! Because you have been  faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities”.  Not only did they make a return, they were rewarded with the opportunity to take care of much more.  God wants us to use all that He entrusts to us to maximize the impact.

Jesus comes to the temple and finds that they are selling all sorts of things there.  So “he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers”.  Jesus knows the scripture and He holds those accountable who were violating it.  Of course, this upsets the religious leaders as their source of funding was being threatened.  “The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words”.  But with each of the confrontations He has with these leaders, they become more determined to take Him out.

Luke 18

In Luke 18, Jesus shares some parables and lessons. His first is around how we “ought always to pray and not lose heart”.  One part of prayer is persistence.  Jesus tells the story of a widow who kept coming over and over to the judge seeking justice.  God wants us to persevere in prayer.  When we do, Jesus says “will not God give justice to  his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily”.  Jesus makes it clear that we need to continue to pray and not give up.  Throughout scripture, we’re told that God listens and answers.  We merely need to keep asking.

The question comes to Jesus about how we should prayer.  He gives two examples – one on how not to pray – on on how to do it:

  • “The PhariseeGod, I thank you that I am not like other men
  • the tax collectorbe merciful to me, a sinner”!

Jesus makes it clear that it is the tax collector who will be saved – “this man went down to his house justified”.  It wasn’t the religious leader that He was speaking about.  It was the tax collector who humbly prayed to God as a sinner who needed mercy, not a prideful religious leader that feels like he is good enough on his own.

Jesus is among the people and parents are bringing their kids to Him.  “When the disciples saw it, they rebuked them”.  Jesus was too busy to spend time with kids.  He had more important things to do.  But Jesus has a different plan.  “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God”.  Jesus was not only blessing the children but goes on to say “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it”.  These little kids were the example of the kind of faith that is needed to gain eternal life.  True, complete faith.

A ruler came and asked “what must I do to inherit eternal life”?  Jesus gives him the first bar – “You know the commandments”.  The first thing is to obey what God has told us in His Word.  And when the ruler said he was good on that, Jesus gives him the second requirement.  “ One thing you still lack.  Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor”.  Obedience is one thing, but a willingness to give up control to all we have is another.  We have to put our faith and trust in Christ.  Unfortunately, “when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich”.  He wasn’t willing to let go of his ‘stuff’ and follow Jesus completely.

There is a cost to being a Christ Follower.  In fact, it costs us everything.  But Jesus makes it clear that “there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life”.  Following Jesus will cost you everything, but it will return even more.  We have to let go to be able to receive all.  It’s a difficult thing to do, but the rewards are beyond anything we can imagine!

Luke 17

Luke 17 has Jesus teaching His disciples about sin.  He says “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come”! How we live matters.  Temptation is a reality of life.  We face a very real enemy that seeks to kill, steal and destroy, and temptation is part of his strategy to pull us away from living God’s way.  But Jesus makes it clear that we should not be part of the tempting.  And He goes on to tell us that when sin happens, we need to forgive.  “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him”.

Forgiveness is a difficult choice.  It is a choice, not a feeling.  Jesus teaches us over and over that forgiveness is a way of living that we need to embrace and choose.  People will fail us.  We need to set them free through forgiveness.  Jesus goes on to talk about the power of faith.  “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you”.  We have so much power available to us through faith.  But we have to truly believe, and live based on that faith.  We can do great and amazing things through Christ, but not based on our own ability or power.

Jesus tells the story of the ten lepers who he met on the road.  They asked for healing, and Jesus granted it.  But notice how He does it. Scripture tells us “as they went they were cleansed”.  It didn’t happen while they were speaking to Him.  It happened as they believed it and were heading toward the priests where they could be declared clean.  Healing came as they believed and had faith in what Jesus had told them.  All ten were healed, yet only one came back to tell Jesus thank you.  When we experience the power of God’s hand, we need to be sure we’re like the one who returned to say thanks.

Jesus ends talking about eternity and the end times.  He makes it clear that no one will know when that time will come.  It will happen like it did in the days of Noah or Lot – people were living life and then it happened as God moved.  The lesson is we need to be prepared and ready, and when we see it move toward God.  We must not turn back or try to preserve life as we know it.  “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it”. It is through letting go and trusting God that we’ll experience life in its fulness!

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