Month: January 2018

January 19, 2018

Luke 2018-01-19

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 7:36–50 (ESV)

    36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

    41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

  • Reflection Questions

    Luke 7:39 

    • While Simon was quick to notice this woman’s sinful past, what did he fail to take notice of (in himself, in her, in Jesus)?  
    • What is my response when others around me show an extravagant devotion and zeal toward God that far outstrips my own?

    Luke 7:41-42  

    • Why would the one who had a smaller debt love the merciful moneylender less?  
    • In what ways do I feel that my sins are “not that bad”?  What are some obstacles that I have in understanding the depth of mercy and grace that I have received?   

    Luke 7:43  

    “If our lives have been changed by an experience of God’s grace, we can never get over the fact that we have been forgiven. God’s love, experienced in forgiveness, becomes the controlling force in our lives. The gratitude of the forgiven is also the source of new life.”[1]

    • How has my experience of God’s forgiveness become a controlling factor in my life?  
    • Are there areas in my life that I have kept away from God’s forgiveness and grace?

    [1] R. Alan Culpepper, “Luke,” New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. IX (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1995), 173.

January 18, 2018

Luke 2018-01-18

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 7:18–35 (ESV) 

    18 The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, 19 calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” 21 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

    24 When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25 What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. 26 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is he of whom it is written,

    “‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,

    who will prepare your way before you.’

    28 I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” 29 (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30 but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

    31 “To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

    “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;

    we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

    33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

  • Reflection Questions

    Luke 7:18  

    • Compare John the Baptist’s expectation of what Christ would do (Luke 3:7-9) with what Jesus ends up doing (Luke 7:21-22).  What might have caused John to question whether Jesus was the “one to come”?  
    • What can I learn from John’s approach to dealing with such doubts?  

    Luke 7:28 

    • Consider the implication of this statement: every Christian in this generation is greater than John the Baptist because we now “have clearer knowledge of the purpose of Jesus’ death and resurrection.” Thank God for bringing me the privilege of knowing such truth.

    Luke 7:31-34 

    • Consider the words by which the religious leaders rejected John and Jesus: “he has a demon” and “a glutton and a drunkard.”  What were the real reasons they rejected John and later Jesus, about whom John had testified?
    • What kind of rhetoric and reasoning did the religious leaders engage in?  Is this something I need to be careful about?
January 17, 2018

Luke 2018-01-17

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 7:1-17 (ESV)

    1 After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” 10 And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

    11 Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

  • Reflection Questions

    Luke 7:4, 6 

    • Note the contrast between the elders’ words “he is worthy” and the centurion’s own “I am not worthy.” What does this contrast in perspective reveal?   
    • Are there some ways in which I feel that God “owes me?”  In what ways?

    Luke 7:9 

    • Note Jesus’ praise of the centurion’s faith.  How is his faith demonstrated?  
    • What is the relationship between humility and faith?  

    Luke 7:11-12  

    • Two “crowds” meet at the town gate: one headed by Jesus, and the other by a coffin.  Reflect on this scene as a picture of two kinds of processions in life.  Which procession am I in, and what does this imply about my life’s mission?  
January 16, 2018

Luke 2018-01-16

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 6:46-49 (ESV)

    46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

     

    Reflection Questions

    Luke 6:46-49

    • Reflect on the disparity between calling Jesus “Lord, Lord,” and not doing what he says. 
    • What are some ways in which Christians today take comfort in their spiritual jargon and rhetoric, or define their spirituality on things other than actual obedience to Jesus’ words?
    • If I call Jesus “Lord,” to what extent is there divergence between my words and my life?
    • How can I avoid being like the foolish builder?
January 15, 2018

Luke 2018-01-15

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 6:37-45 (ESV)

    37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

    39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

    43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

  • Reflection Questions

    Luke 6:41-42 

    • What is the “speck of sawdust” that I am quick to point out in other people?  
    • What “logs” have I not paid attention to in myself?

    Luke 6:42-44 

    Note that Jesus does not forbid all judging. According to this passage, we are called to judge properly.

    • What are we to judge, and how can we do it?

    Luke 6:43-44 

    • What fruit am I bearing?  

     

January 12, 2018

Luke 2018-01-12

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 6:27-36 (ESV)

    27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

    32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.     35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. 

  • Reflection Questions

    Luke 6:27-36

    • How did Jesus himself live out these teachings?  
    • What can I do to practice these verses in my life?   

    Luke 6:34-35

    Consider how God treated us even though we were enemies against him (cf. Col. 1:21).

    • According this passage, how should we, as Jesus’ followers, treat our “enemies”?  
    • How can the gospel message of reconciliation be communicated through my interaction with those who mistreat me?  

    Luke 6:36   

    • How has God been personally merciful to me?  
    • What sins or shortcomings in others do I find particularly difficult to be merciful toward? 
    • How can I become a person of greater mercy?
January 11, 2018

Luke 2018-01-11

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 6:17-26 (ESV)

    17 And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19 And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.

    20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:

    “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

    21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

    “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

    22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

    24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

    25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

    “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

    26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

  • Reflection Questions

    Luke 6:20-22

    Note the radically countercultural definition of being blessed.

    • Why would these be the ones who are blessed in Jesus’ eyes, and what does this say about the values of the world system?   

    Luke 6:22-26

    • What may come to those who follow Jesus in this world?  
    • What kind of difficulties and opposition have I faced in following Jesus?  
    • Where does my joy come from during those times?  
January 10, 2018

Luke 2018-01-10

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 6:1-16 (ESV)

    1 On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grainfields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. 2 But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?”            3 And Jesus answered them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him:   4 how he entered the house of God and took and ate the bread of the Presence, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those with him?” 5 And he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

    6 On another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered.  7 And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. 8 But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” And he rose and stood there. 9 And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” 10 And after looking around at them all he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored. 11 But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

    12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

    Reflection Questions

    Luke 6:1-4

    • Have there been occasions in which I rigidly followed rules and, as a result, failed to love others?

    Luke 6:8 

    • How would a person with a withered hand normally feel about being singled out and told to stand in front of people? 
    • What areas of my life are “withered”? What do I need to do to receive healing in these areas?

    Luke 6:12-13  

    •                Note what Jesus did before the choosing of the twelve apostles.  What can I learn from Jesus’ example?

January 9, 2018

Luke 2018-01-09

  • Journal
  • Bible Text

    Luke 5:27-39 (ESV)

    27 After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.”  28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.

    29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

    33 And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” 34 And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” 36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”

    Reflection Questions

    Luke 5:27-28  

    • Describe Levi’s response to Jesus’ calling.   
    • What did Levi leave behind in order to follow Jesus?  
    • What are the things I am struggling to leave behind to follow Jesus?

    Luke 5:31-32  

    • Whom does Jesus say needs a doctor?
    • How do I react to the assertion that I am “sick” or that there is something not right about me?  

    Luke 5:36-39

    “Those who like old wine do not try the new, for their minds are already made up: ‘The old is good.’ So Jesus expects many not to respond to his new way. They are comfortable with life and piety as it is. Jesus’ remark is both a description and a warning. John the Baptist came to tell the people that a new era of change was coming, but Jesus knows that some do not want change.”[1]

    • Why does the new wine need to be poured into a new wineskin?
    • What do the new wine and new wineskins symbolize?  
    • Are there some ways in which I have been resisting God because I don’t like to come out of my set “old ways”?

    [1] Darryll L. Bock, Luke, NIV Application Commentary Series, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996) 170-171.

January 8, 2018

Luke 2018-01-08

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  • Bible Text

    Luke 5:12-26 (ESV)

    12 While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

    17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. 18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus,    19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts?                 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.”

    25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.      26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

    Reflection Questions

    Luke 5:12-13

    “The regulations concerning leprosy are in Lev. 13-14. The most terrible thing about it was the isolation it brought. The leper was to cry ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ wherever he went; he was to dwell alone; ‘in a habitation outside the camp’ (Lev. 13:45-46). He was banished from the society of men and exiled from home. The result was, and still is, that the psychological consequences of leprosy were as serious as the physical.” [1]

    • Note that the leper doesn’t doubt Jesus’ power but his willingness.  What is the significance of Jesus touching the leper in response to his request? 

    Luke 5:18-19   

    • Who brought the paralytic to Jesus?  What obstacles needed to be overcome for the paralytic to come before Jesus?  
    • How can I bring people to Jesus? 

    Luke 5:20-26  

    • What kind of authority does Jesus have?  
    • What is more amazing to me: forgiveness of sins or healing of paralysis?  

    [1]  William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. (Philadelphia:  Westminster Press, 1975).

     

     

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