As we wrap up our journey through the book of Luke, we pray that our eyes would be open so we could see Jesus as he truly is. For two of his followers who were ready to give up and go home after Jesus’ death, an encounter where they saw Jesus alive changed everything.
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.
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?
The more you recognize your need for forgiveness, the more love and gratitude it seems you will give back. At least, that's the economy of forgiveness Jesus tells about while a woman society shunned was serving him at the table of a highly respected religious leader. Which do you identify more with: the sinful woman in need or the self-righteous man who thinks he’s good?
This week we hear a story of a paralyzed man and his friends who do everything they can to get him to Jesus, because they knew he had the power to heal. Jesus does, but he first heals him spiritually. It’s our prayer that you would know the healing power of Jesus, which saves us from the sickness of sin! Only Jesus has the power and authority to heal physical (disease) and spiritual (sin) sickness.
The good news of Jesus is often not what we expect. His words were often shocking to people and difficult to understand. Jesus often approached what God’s people thought they knew, and revealed an even deeper and better meaning behind them.
In Luke 4, Jesus stands in the synagogue reading from Isaiah's words centuries before. He is the fulfillment of those long awaited words promised, and yet it is unlike anything expected.
The Christmas season is a time of looking forward to all kinds of things; presents, treats, time with family, time off from school or work. This story takes us to a time when God’s people were looking forward to His rescue and salvation. Still, when the time had come for this news, it was almost too good to be true. What is your response when you hear the good news of God?