When we start with God and what He has done, we gain a better understanding of ourselves, who we are, and how we are to live. This week we explore the power and purpose behind what God has done for us through Jesus the Christ, in the power of his Spirit.
Often we try to make our own way, create a name for ourselves, or find our identity. When we start there it is like frosting a cake before you bake it… we’re going backwards and it gets messy. Better yet, it’s like trying to be made without the Maker. Instead, what if we begin with asking the question, Who is God? From there, we can begin connecting the dots to see who we are truly meant to be and how we can live in this world.
In Luke 22 and 23 we see a number of different types of people as they participate in or look upon the death of Jesus. Some of them are calling for Jesus’ death, many attest that he is innocent, but two see him in light of the kingdom. Luke tells us that Joseph of Arimathea and one of the criminals on the cross next to Jesus were looking for the coming kingdom of God and saw Jesus as one entering into that kingdom. It seems most others in this story were looking to some other kingdom. Which kingdom are you looking to?
The night Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and taken away to his death, he shared one last meal with his friends. This wasn’t just any meal. This was the Passover meal; a meal which held great significance for the deliverance of God’s people. The bread, the wine, and the lamb were all signposts back to when God had saved them from slavery to Egypt, and signposts pointing them forward to when He would save them again from their slavery to sin. Jesus became the bread, the wine, and the Lamb at this meal, and he invites us all now to sit at the table and feast with him.
Chapter 21 of Luke shows us Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem, the week of his death. Everyone he is with is enamored with the beauty of the temple, but Jesus is not impressed. He is more concerned with what is going on inside of the temple and inside of the hearts of the people within it. He is more concerned with creating a new temple for him to dwell in. He is more concerned with establishing a kingdom and a throne that will last forever.
A simple question, 'when is the kingdom coming?', has sparked all kinds of debate and confusion. Jesus addressed two different groups as he answered this question; the pharisees and his followers. At the heart of his response we see the same message to both: don't miss the kingdom of God by building your own.
Long thought of by many as a depiction of the afterlife, Jesus once told a fictional story that had much more to do with how God's people were living their current lives on earth, and how they were treating others made in God's image. The call of God's people has always been to use their blessings to be a blessing to others, inviting all into the loving community and kingdom of God. The main audience for this story Jesus was telling had lost that calling. What about us? How are we living out this call?
What does prodigal mean? The reckless and extravagant use of resources.
Jesus once told a story of two brothers; the younger who ran away from home and squandered his father’s inheritance, the older who stayed home and squandered his father’s presence. But the story is really about the father, who lavishly spent all of his resources to bring both of his sons into his loving arms.
What is the Kingdom of God about? Luke seems to think Jesus was breaking it down very simply for us: love God, love people, be with the King Jesus. In chapter 11, Jesus teaches us how to pray for the way of the kingdom, and at the heart of the prayer is a reshaping of our own hearts toward loving God, loving people, and being with the King.
Parables, the Mandela Effect, Samaritans, and Lawyers.
This week we take a look at a familiar story Jesus told of the Good Samaritan. Though familiar to us now, this was a scandalous story Jesus told to his listeners. One that provoked a radical love for both God and people… even the people they thought were undeserving.
In chapter 9 of Luke's gospel account, we see Jesus begin to make his way toward Jerusalem, knowing he will meet his death there. At the end of this chapter Jesus has an interaction with three men who claim they will follow him... each with their own caveat. What is that thing keeping you from truly following Jesus through death into life?