After nearly 70 years of exile, Daniel reads the prophetic writings of Jeremiah that their time of discipline is almost over... or so he thinks. His response and the message God sends him might come as a surprise!
Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of Man, a title he took from this very chapter. In chapter seven, Daniel wrote about a dream he had of beastly kingdoms and the hopeful future of a perfect human finally taking his rightful place as King over all creation on the throne with the Most High God.
Many of us have heard of the amazing story of Daniel being thrown in the lion's den and his miraculous rescue. Many of us have heard of and wished for his great faith. But is that really the point of the story? Is Daniel the hero of this story? Who else shows up in that den of lions to bring rescue? Who is the hero of this story, really?
All humans live our lives with daily rhythms that shape us. Everyone eats. Everyone listens to something or someone. Everyone has something to say. In light of who God is, what He has done for us in Christ, and who He has made us to be, what does it look like for us to do those things in line with our new identity? What if we did those things with an intentionality of sharing the good news of Jesus? Because of Christ, we can live out our BLESS rhythms of Blessing, Listening, Eating, Speaking, and Sabbathing for the glory of God.
Our doing flows out of our being, and our being comes from God's doing, not our own. Who are we now that God has brought us out of darkness and into light? Now that we who were once dead have been made alive? Now that Christ has given us a new identity? We have been made a family of servant missionaries, continually learning to follow Jesus in all of life.
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.
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.
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?
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?