Devotion Text

February 23, 2018

Luke 2018-02-23

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  • Bible Text

    Luke 14:25–35 (ESV)

    25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

    34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 

  • Reflection Questions
  •  Luke 14:25-27
    • What does it mean for a person to “hate” his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, and even his own life?
    • What lessons can I learn from the parable of the Great Banquet about why Jesus asks for such radical commitment?

    Luke 14:28-34

    • Jesus does not hide the cost of discipleship.  Why does he tell the crowd to count the cost of following him before they follow?
    • Compare the salt that loses its saltiness (v. 34) with the fellow who began to build but was not able to finish (v. 30).
    • What warning does this provide for those who claim to be disciples of Christ but have not counted the cost? What would be the outcome?
    • In this passage, Jesus says, “You cannot be my disciple,” three times. Given that every Christian is by definition a disciple of Christ (cf. Acts 11:26), what does this reveal about the nature of Christian discipleship?
    • Have you counted the cost of following Christ?
    • What cost have I paid since following Christ? Is following Christ worth the cost?
    • What is the cost of not following Christ?
    • What have I gained in Christ?


February 22, 2018

Luke 2018-02-22

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  • Bible Text

    Luke 14:15–24 (ESV)

    15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 14:15–24
    • Reflect on the fact that in this story that Jesus told, he shows the primary impediment to responding to God’s invitation to be things that everyone recognizes as good. What are some “good” things that I am seeking (or experiencing) that get in the way of responding to God’s invitation to fellowship with him at the banquet?
    • What good thing can potentially deafen my ears to God’s calling?
    • Think about how the owner of the house might have felt in v. 17, v. 21, and then v. 23.
    • What does this reveal about his heart?
    • What did these people who did not come to the banquet gain?
    • What did they lose?

February 21, 2018

Luke 2018-02-21

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  • Bible Text

    Luke 14:1–14 (ESV)

    1 One Sabbath, when he went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. 2 And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3 And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4 But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away.

    5 And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” 6 And they could not reply to these things.

    7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,

    8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 14:1-6  
    • The Pharisees and experts in the law use a man suffering from dropsy to scrutinize Jesus.  What does this reveal about them?
    • What did the Pharisees and experts in the law maintain by not answering Jesus’ questions?  What did they forfeit through their silence?

    Luke 14:7-11  

    • How is the scene of the guests vying for the place of honor at the table a portrait of the world today?
    • How much do I value status and reputation?  How is this manifested in the way I relate to people around me?

    Luke 14:12-14

    • Who are “the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” that God is asking me to take care of without being repaid?
    • What does it mean to be “repaid at the resurrection”?


February 20, 2018

Luke 2018-02-20

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  • Bible Text

    Luke 13:22–35 (ESV)

    22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

    31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33 Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35 Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 13:22-24
    • Jesus says being saved is like entering through a narrow door.  Why would this be the case?  Or, in what ways is this true in my life?

    Luke 13:25-30

    • To Jesus’ audience who believed that only Jews could enter the kingdom of God, what would be their response to what Jesus said in v. 29?
    • Who are the “last who will be first” and who are the “first who will be last” in v. 30?

    Luke 13:34-35

    • Who are the “prophets” sent to me today?
    • Do I welcome or resist Jesus’ longing to gather me under his wings?

February 19, 2018

Luke 2018-02-19

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  • Bible Text

    Luke 13:10–21 (ESV)

    10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17 As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

    18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

    20 And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 13:14-15
    • What can we conclude about the state of the synagogue ruler’s heart?
    • The synagogue ruler became indignant at Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath.  Is there a relationship between what angers a person and what “cripples” a heart from functioning as God intended?  How does this apply to me?

    Luke 13:10-16

    • What is revealed about Jesus—his heart, his power—from this incident?

    Luke 13:18-21

    • What is the similarity between the mustard seed and the yeast?
    • How has this parable worked out in history and in my life?

February 16, 2018

Luke 2018-02-16

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  • Bible Text

    Luke 13:1–9 (ESV)

    1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

    6 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 13:1-5
    • What false notion was Jesus addressing by asking two rhetorical questions about the victims of these tragic events?
    • “Unless you repent…”  With these words repeated twice, Jesus emphasizes that the issue of ultimate importance is that they repent.  In what ways do I need to heed this warning?

    Luke 13:6-9

    • Why was the owner’s reaction to the fruitlessness of the fig tree appropriate?
    • The gardener represents Jesus, whose intervention helps us avoid judgment. The gardener says that he’ll dig around and fertilize the tree.  What would it look like for me to respond to these efforts of the gardener?

February 15, 2018

Luke 2018-02-15

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  • Bible Text

    Luke 12:49–59 (ESV)  

    49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

    54 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

    57 “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 12:51-53
    • Why would living a life for Jesus cause division?
    • Why does Jesus use the family context to describe the division he brings?

    Luke 12:54-59

    • What is the proper interpretation of the present time, according to v. 58?
    • If going before the judge refers to the final judgment at the end of one’s life, what does settling with your accuser “on the way” to the judge refer to?

February 14, 2018

Luke 2018-02-14

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  • Bible Text

    Luke 12:35–48 (ESV)

    35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

    41 Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 12:35-40
    • What is surprising about the master’s reward for the servant who is ready when he returns?
    • What does this response reveal about the master’s heart?

    Luke 12:41-46

    • What is the master’s expectation of his servant?
    • What might have been the unfaithful servant’s thoughts as he was saying to himself, “My master is delayed in coming”?
    • How is my sensitivity to consequences?  Does my sensitivity diminish as long as it won’t happen today?  Or not until next month?  Next year?  The next decade?

February 13, 2018

Luke 2018-02-13

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  • Bible Text

    Luke 12:22–34 (ESV)

    22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

    32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 12:22-23 
    • What is Jesus saying about the nature of humanity here?

    Luke 12:24-32 

    • According to this passage, what truths about God and about life show the folly of being anxious?

    Luke 12:33-34

    • What suggestions does this text make about concrete ways I can shift my heart heavenward?

February 12, 2018

Luke 2018-02-12

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  • Bible Text

    Luke 12:13–21 (ESV)

    13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’   20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

  • Reflection Questions
  • Luke 12:15
    • If a man’s life “does not consist in the abundance of his possessions,” what does it consist of?

    Luke 12:16-21

    • Count the number of times the words “I” and “my” appear in this passage.  What does this reveal about this man?
    • What made the man feel so confident and secure?  On what basis do people feel confident and secure?  On what basis do I feel confident and secure?  How strong or permanent is that basis?
    • What does it mean to be rich towards God?
    • In what ways can I be rich towards God?

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