Getting to Know Jesus: Luke 2

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It’s the story of Christmas. The story of Jesus in a manger that we talk about every December. The one we sing about. The one we read about. The story that fuels the holidays and seasonal cheer. The story that initiated our salvation. The one story that matters the most.

But sometimes, we can become susceptible to not really hearing the story amidst the white noise of Christmas merriment. There are moments when we just don’t internalize it. The story meets our ears but not our hearts…it goes through one ear and out the other,  leaving behind the residue of Christianese idiom and misplaced worship in tidings of good cheer.

What if the idea of Christmas has managed to cement itself in our minds as a momentary, seasonal celebration but failed to effect real meaning and reflection on the all surpassing glory of our King? Have we missed the real story? The real point of it all?

I’m afraid of becoming desensitized to the majesty of who Jesus actually is. I’m afraid of my own attraction to the happiness of Christmas that Jesus becomes normal and boring. I don’t want Him to be a mascot of a fleeting holiday or a character in a Christmas play. I want Him to be more. To be all.

Reading this passage in Luke 2, I became ever aware of human nature’s propensity to see Jesus as ordinary, forgetting His identity as God. My heart was challenged in recognizing the interaction between Jesus and his earthly parents after he stayed behind at the temple complex. In this passage Jesus couldn’t help Himself but to remain in His Father’s house, the holy temple of Jerusalem. His parents had already left to return to Nazareth but Jesus remained in the temple for days, talking to the teachers and asking them questions. Though the passage doesn’t say this, I like to imagine that Jesus felt some kind of gravitational pull drawing Him to the house of God where he would finally be in the holy temple with His Father, communing together with Him and with others who had devoted their lives to His service, especially since this chapter tells us that His family only went to Jerusalem once a year for the Passover Festival. It makes sense that Jesus as a young boy would want to spend as much time in the temple complex as possible.

But towards the end of the passage when His parents realized that He had remained behind in Jerusalem, they just didn’t understand. They didn’t get it. They blamed Jesus for causing them anxiety, not recognizing how significant it was for Jesus who is fully God to spend time in the holy temple of God and His people. They just saw Jesus as an ordinary 12 year-old kid, disappearing from his parents. Doing what kids do.

They forgot in that moment who He was.

This challenged my heart because I realize I do this to Jesus too. And all too often at Christmas. Sometimes I can forget who Jesus is in the busyness of my own plans and in the activities of the holiday season.

Sometimes I can treat Jesus as too normal, forgetting who He is. I can forget that He is Lord and not just a baby in a manger in a Christmas play…my King and not just a good person who brought hope to the earth…my all-consuming sufficiency and not a slice of happiness in the modernist movement of religious universalism.

When we get complacent or routinely comfortable in our relationship with God we see Him as anything but God. He becomes ordinary in our minds. We start to assume He’s powerless. Or just a figure-head. Like the British monarchy…powerful and prestigious in name but incapable of actually doing anything. These lies permeate our minds when we fail to see Christ as King.

I’ve observed that Christmas can have the unfortunate potential to desensitize us to the glory of Jesus, making Him normal and routine…the usual object of the holiday season instead of the One true King of the universe. Jesus is the LORD and He deserves to be honored as such. He deserves our affection, our time, our trust, and our devotion.

And this is not to condemn Christmas completely. I myself love it the most of any holiday! But lately I’ve wondered if the holiday festivities contribute towards replacing the glory of Jesus. And I just don’t want that to happen in my heart. I don’t want the glamour of Christmas to eclipse the glory of the One due my affection. I want Jesus to remain glorified. Supreme. Majestic. More radiant than all.

So as we enjoy this season of Christmas and rest with our families, may we recognize Jesus for who He is. Not who we assume Him to be. Not who culture says He is. Not who the Christmas movies and songs say He is. Let us look at His word and get to know Him. Let us spend time with Him. Let us frame our Christmas around the glory of our King and not our King around the festivities of our Christmas celebration. May we discover who He truly is in the midst of this Christmas season.

And as as we get to know Jesus, we will find that where He is, is actually the place where we need to be also. Mary and Joseph found their son, Jesus, in exactly the place where they needed to be all along…in the presence of God learning His ways and meditating on His truth. Verse 51 of Luke 2 tells us that “Mary treasured all these things in her heart.” In that moment, I think Mary finally realized what was most important. May we do the same and treasure these things in our hearts as well.

May we seek Jesus this Christmas. For as we seek Him, we will find Him in the place that’s most important…the place where we need to be. With Him. Treasuring Him in our hearts. Discovering that He indeed is the most beautiful One and the true glory of Christmas.

Summary of Luke 2

Caesar Augustus sends out a decree to register the Roman Empire; Joseph returns to his hometown of Bethlehem in Judea along with Mary to be registered; Joseph is of the family line of David; Mary is pregnant; Mary and Joseph are engaged; Mary gives birth while they are in Bethlehem; Mary wraps her son in a snuggly cloth and lays him in a feeding trough, as there are no vacant rooms at the inn in Bethlehem; in the same region, an angel of the Lord appears to a group of shepherds who are out watching their flock; the angel tells the shepherds that the Messiah has just been born and then tells them where they can find Him; all the sudden there is a large group of heavenly hosts joining the angel singing praises and glory to God and proclaiming peace on earth to those He favors; the angel leaves and the shepherds decide to go and look for this Messiah; they go and find Mary and Joseph with the baby in a feeding trough; the shepherds tell them the message they were told by the angel; Mary treasures all these things in her heart and meditates on them; the shepherds return glorifying God about all that they saw and heard; the baby is named Jesus – this name was given to Mary by an angel before he was conceived; He is brought to Jerusalem to be presented to the Lord; while in the temple complex at Jerusalem, a man named Simeon finally gets to see the Messiah, just as it was revealed to Him that he would, by the Holy Spirit; Mary and Joseph are amazed at all that is spoken about Him; Simeon prophecies about Jesus; at this time a temple prophetess named Anna, a widow who never leaves the temple complex, begins to speak to everyone regarding the redemption of Jerusalem; Mary and Joseph return to Nazareth in Galilee; when Jesus is 12 years old, His family goes to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival and then leaves not realizing that Jesus is still in the temple; Jesus tells them He must be in His Father’s house but they don’t understand Him; Jesus is obedient and goes to Nazareth with them; Mary keeps all these things in her heart; Jesus increases in wisdom, stature and favor with God and people.

 

Jesus in Luke 2

Jesus was born in a day where Jews were subject to Roman rule (v. 1)

Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, was a descendent of David (v. 4)

Jesus is a descendent of David (v. 4)

Jesus’ mother was pregnant while unmarried (v. 5)

Jesus existed as a fetus in Mary’s womb (v. 5)

Jesus’ parents were engaged at the time of his birth (v. 6)

Jesus was born in Bethlehem (v. 6)

Jesus was Mary’s firstborn son (v. 7)

Jesus was wrapped in snuggly cloth once He was born (v. 7)

Jesus existed as a baby (v. 7)

Jesus came into the world vulnerable and needy for human care (v. 7)

Jesus was placed in an animal feeding trough (v. 7)

Jesus was born into lowly and borderline-unsafe conditions (v. 7)

Jesus’ parents were ignored by the folks at the inn (v. 7)

Jesus was born without glory or splendor (v. 7)

Jesus came into the world quietly and without attention (v. 7)

Jesus didn’t come into the world mighty and powerful although He is God (v. 7)

Jesus emulates humility and servanthood in the way God chose for Him to enter the world (v. 7)

Jesus’ birth was proclaimed by angels to shepherds (v. 9-12)

Jesus is the Savior (v. 11)

Jesus is the Messiah (v. 11)

Jesus is the Lord (v. 11)

Jesus was born for us (v. 11)

Jesus was born in the city of David (v. 11)

Jesus’ location was given to a group of faithful, on-the-clock shepherds (v. 12)

Jesus’ birth was proclaimed not to worthy or rich people but to ones considered lowly (v. 12)

Jesus was told to be found wrapped in snugly clothes lying in a feeding trough (v. 12)

Jesus’ birth was celebrated by the angels (v. 13-14)

Jesus’ birth was celebrated by heavenly hosts (v. 13-14)

Jesus’ birth brought glory to God (v. 14)

Jesus’ birth initiated peace on earth to the people God favors (v. 14)

Jesus’ birth announcement from the angel instigated interest and curiosity in the shepherds (v. 15)

Jesus was sought out by the shepherds (v. 15-16)

Jesus was worth the shepherds’ travel (v. 16)

Jesus was found by the shepherds (v. 16)

Jesus’ birth and message was reported by the shepherds to all who would listen (v. 17-18)

Jesus gave hope to the shepherds (v. 17-18)

Jesus’ birth was a message that amazed all who heard it (v. 18)

Jesus was treasured by His mother, Mary (v. 19)

Jesus caused the shepherds to glorify God as they returned home (v. 20)

Jesus’ name was given to Mary by the angel that appeared to her, before he was conceived by the Holy Spirit (v. 21)

Jesus was presented to the Lord in Jerusalem as per the Law of the Lord given to Jews (v. 22-23)

Jesus’ family followed Jewish law (v. 23)

Jesus’ family honored God (v. 22-23)

Jesus was dedicated to the Lord as the firstborn son (v. 23)

Jesus’ family offered a sacrifice according to the law of the Lord of 2 turtledoves, or 2 young pigeons (v. 24)

Jesus’ family’s sacrifice (for their firstborn’s dedication) of 2 turtledoves or 2 young pigeons distinguished them as a poorer family (v. 24)

Jesus’ family was not elite in status or wealthy in means (v. 24)

Jesus’ coming into the world as the Messiah was revealed to Simeon to occur in his lifetime (v. 25-26)

Jesus’ birth was anticipated (v. 26)

Jesus is brought to the temple complex by His parents to perform for Him what was customary under the law (v. 27)

Jesus’ dedication at the temple was typical Jewish practice (v. 27)

Jesus is noticed by Simeon (v. 28)

Jesus as a baby is held and celebrated by Simeon (v. 28)

Jesus causes Simeon to praise God (v. 28)

Jesus is the promised Messiah Simeon had been waiting for (v. 29)

Jesus gives Simeon peace and assurance (v. 29-30)

Jesus is God’s salvation (v. 30)

Jesus was prepared by God in the presence of all people (v. 31)

Jesus is a light (v. 31)

Jesus illuminates revelation to the Gentiles (v. 32)

Jesus is the glory of Israel (v. 32)

Jesus’ parents were amazed at all that was spoken of Him (v. 33)

Jesus and His parents were blessed by Simeon (v. 34)

Jesus is prophesied over by Simeon (v. 34-35)

Jesus would cause the rise and fall of many in Israel (v. 34)

Jesus would be opposed (v. 34)

Jesus’ mother would be pierced with sorrow so that many might be given hope (v. 35)

Jesus’ destiny is made clear from infancy (v. 34-35)

Jesus’ coming into the world coincides with Anna, a widow in the temple complex, declaring the redemption of Jerusalem in the temple (v. 36-38)

Jesus’ parents return with Him to Nazareth, their hometown (v. 39)

Jesus grows (v. 40)

Jesus functions like any other human (v. 40)

Jesus becomes strong (v. 40)

Jesus is filled with wisdom (v. 40)

Jesus experienced the grace of God upon Him (v. 40)

Jesus’ family traveled to Jerusalem every year for the Passover Festival (v. 41)

Jesus’ family faithfully practiced Jewish religion and customs (v. 42)

Jesus stayed in the temple complex for a few days after the Passover Festival when He was 12 years old (v. 43-50)

Jesus’ parents accidentally started to journey back without Him (v. 43-44)

Jesus’ parents didn’t notice that He was missing (v. 43-44)

Jesus’ parents come back to Jerusalem to look for Him (v. 45)

Jesus remained in the temple complex listening to the teachers (v. 46)

Jesus asked the teachers questions (v. 46)

Jesus astounded everyone around Him with His understanding (v. 47)

Jesus astounded everyone around Him with His answers (v. 47)

Jesus is brilliant (v. 47)

Jesus is wise (v. 47)

Jesus is an articulate communicator (v. 47)

Jesus is bold (v. 47)

Jesus spoke with authority (v. 47)

Jesus is not intimidated (v. 47)

Jesus is confident (v. 47)

Jesus’ parents were astonished when they found Him in the temple complex (v. 48)

Jesus was misunderstood by His parents (v. 48)

Jesus was treated like a normal youth by his parents (v. 48)

Jesus’ disappearance (in the minds of His parents) worried them (v. 48)

Jesus caused His parents anxiety because they didn’t yet understand what was most important (v. 48)

Jesus desired to be in His Father’s House above all else (v. 49)

Jesus belongs to God first and His parents second (v. 49)

Jesus reminded his parents that He had to be in His Father’s house (v. 49)

Jesus desires to commune with the Father (v. 50)

Jesus’ parents still didn’t understand what He was saying to them (v. 50)

Jesus was obedient to His earthly parents (v. 51)

Jesus shows obedience out of respect (v. 51)

Jesus shows honor, though He ultimately is due more honor than anyone (v. 51)

Jesus’ mother treasures all these things in her heart (v. 51)

Jesus’ mother finally begins to understand (v. 51)

Jesus increased in wisdom (v. 52)

Jesus increased in stature (v. 52)

Jesus wasn’t born with all fullness but grew into it (v. 52)

Jesus was human (v. 52)

Jesus increased in favor with God (v. 52)

Jesus increased in favor with people (v. 52)

“Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.” – Matthew 2:11 –

Questions for Today:

  • How am I navigating through the busyness of this Christmas season?
  • Why should I be intentional to elevate Jesus as my King?
  • What can I do to illuminate the glory of Jesus Christ to others this Christmas season?
  • Why is it so important to seek Jesus where He is at?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

“Peace Has Come” by Hillsong Worship

Getting to Know Jesus: Luke 5

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I love Luke’s gospel as Luke, being a medical doctor, writes with clarity and precision with a keen eye for detail. His meticulous writing only enhances our understanding of this gospel. Luke’s gospel also emphasizes Jesus’ humanity and His heart for people. In Luke chapter 5, we see Jesus initiating relationship with people as he calls some of His first disciples to come and follow Him. Jesus’ invitation is simple. No frills. No persuasive speeches. No convincing arguments. Jesus just says, “Follow me.” And Simon along with James and John leave everything they have to follow Jesus.

We can learn a lot from the disciples’ simple but bold decision to follow Jesus. They didn’t stop to consider the pros and cons of following Jesus. They didn’t take time to think about it or pray about it. Sometimes, those things aren’t necessary. Especially when you meet the Lord face to face. They knew that He was worth following. And worth trusting. They didn’t need anyone else’s opinion when met by the very face of the Lord Jesus… whispering their names to come and join Him in His mission on the earth. The very image of God awaiting their response. What honor and privilege. What an invitation.

How do we respond when Jesus asks us to follow Him? Do we recognize His offer as an honor and privilege? Do we abandon all we have to seek Him? Or do we continue on in dry religion doing things our own way, lifeless and without zeal? Jesus is the only One who can revitalize the emptiness of our lives and fill it with overflowing abundance. The disciples in this passage witnessed this first hand as Jesus filled Simon’s boat with an abundance of fish that he wasn’t able to catch by himself earlier in the day. Jesus was necessary for Simon’s flourishing. Jesus provided the fish. Jesus provided the abundance. Only Jesus can take the emptiness of our lives and fill it. We must decide how we will respond to Him.

Going through this passage again, I noticed a detail included by Luke that gives more depth to Jesus’ encounter with Simon. Verse 2 of chapter 5 says that “Jesus saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them (emphasis mine).” Then in verse 3, it says that Jesus got into one of the boats. At first, I just assumed that Simon’s boat was the only one He saw and consequently the one He went to. But the passage says that Jesus saw two boats and chose one. It doesn’t tell us why Jesus chose the boat he chose or what the significance was. But for some reason, Simon’s boat was chosen by Jesus. Perhaps Jesus knew that Simon had not caught any fish that day and He wanted to bless him after He preached. Perhaps He knew about Simon and wanted to pursue Him. Perhaps He had other reasons. The reasoning can be left up to speculation but the point is that Jesus pursued Simon when Simon didn’t pursue Jesus. Jesus chose to initiate a relationship with Simon.

It reveals Jesus’ purposeful pursuit of people. Jesus pursues people individually and intentionally wherever they’re at in a way that relates to their current needs, ultimately exposing them of their soul’s need of a Savior.

Simon never expected for the Lord, who was Jesus, to show up caring about his fishing haul. Simon probably thought…why would someone holy and in the middle of preaching the good news even care about my lowly fishing duty?

But Jesus did care. And He cares about the areas of your life that you think are too mundane for Him to be bothered by.

Jesus Christ wants to enter in to the mundane. He wants to fill the places in your heart that you can’t fill yourself. He wants to blow your mind with care and concern for you. Won’t you let Him in today? Won’t you let Him be Jesus… and love you like no one else can? For He is always pursuing your heart and drawing you near to Him in ways that are unique to who you are. Trust in who He is. Let Him be the Savior that your soul longs for…overflowing your heart with freedom and peace in the God who desires to rescue His people.

Summary of Luke 5

As Jesus is standing by the Sea of Galilee, a crowd is pressing into Him as they wait for Him to start preaching the Word of God; Jesus sees two empty boats while the fishermen are washing their nets; Jesus decides to get into one of the boats ,which belongs to Simon; Jesus asks Simon to put out the boat from the land so that He can preach to the crowd from the boat in order for all the people to hear fully – the Sea of Galilee is like a bowl, so Jesus’ voice from a boat in the water would echo more than on land and project His voice farther; after He spoke to the crowd, He asked Simon to take the boat far out into the water so that they could catch fish; Simon is hesitant at first to do so since he did not catch fish at all earlier in the day, but relents because of Jesus’ word to do so; they let down the nets into the water just as a swarm of fish come near the nets; they catch so much fist that the nets start to break; they ask some men in boats near them to come and help them haul the fish, and the other boats are filled with fish as well, almost to the point of sinking; Simon Peter all the sudden feels unworthy in Jesus’ presence and asks Him to depart from him because he is a sinful man; the men in the other boats that helped them are named: James and John, sons of Zebedee; Jesus consoles Simon, telling him not to be afraid because He wants him to start fishing for men; they all bring their boats ashore and leave everything behind to follow Jesus; Jesus goes to one of the cities and heals a leper who cries out to Him for healing; Jesus instructs the man not to tell anyone that it was Him who healed him; greater crowds started to come near Jesus to hear His teaching and to receive healing; Jesus would withdraw to desolate places to pray; one day Jesus is teaching in a man’s house where many Pharisees and Scribes from all over Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem had come to hear his teaching, so that they might critique Him; a group of men bring their friend to Jesus by cutting a hole in the roof and dropping him down into the house for Jesus to heal; Jesus forgives the man of his sins and heals him because of the faith that they displayed; the Pharisees and scribes are indignant that Jesus forgave him his sins and try to accuse Him of blasphemy; Jesus tells them that he has authority to forgive sins; the man walks home giving glory to God; all who saw what had happened were amazed; Jesus sees Levi, a tax collector, at his tax collecting booth and asks him to follow Him; Levi gets up and leaves everything behind to follow Jesus; Levi invites Jesus over to his house and cooks Him a great feast along with other tax collectors and sinners as well; the Pharisees and scribes grumbled at Jesus for eating with them; Jesus tells them that healthy people have no need of a doctor, but the sick do and that he has come to call sinners to repentance, not those who think they are righteous; they ask him why His disciples don’t fast and pray like the disciples of John, but Jesus tells them that this is because Jesus, the bridegroom, is with them right now so they have no need for fasting until he leaves.

Jesus in Luke 5

Jesus draws crowds (v. 1)

Jesus is known as the one who proclaims the Word of God (v. 1)

Jesus is aware of his surroundings (.v 2)

Jesus is observant (v. 2)

Jesus sees fishermen washing their nets (v. 2)

Jesus sees two boats (v. 2)

Jesus chooses who He will pursue (v. 3)

Jesus climbs into one of the boats: Simon’s boat (v. 3)

Jesus is bold (v. 3)

Jesus asks the man to let him out into the water in the boat (v. 3)

Jesus preaches from the boat (v. 3)

Jesus is innovative (v. 3)

Jesus is creative (v. 3)

Jesus never stops pursuing people (v. 4)

Jesus decides to meet a need (v. 4)

Jesus takes time to help Simon (v. 4)

Jesus tells Simon to let out the boat to catch fish (v. 4)

Jesus’ insistence and concern compels Simon to try again (v. 5)

Jesus cultivates tenacity in people (v. 5)

Jesus directs them towards an abundance of fish (v. 6)

Jesus provides what Simon could not find himself (v. 6)

Jesus exceeds Simon’s expectations (v. 6)

Jesus’ miracle blesses Simon’s friends (v. 7)

Jesus is recognized as Lord by Simon (v. 8)

Jesus’ work causes Simon to feel unworthy (v. 8)

Jesus astonishes all who saw the catch of fish that was brought in (v. 9)

Jesus immediately calms them (v. 10)

Jesus says don’t be afraid (v. 10)

Jesus calls them to pursue men just as they had pursued fish (v. 10)

Jesus inspires them to leave everything behind (v. 11)

Jesus inspires them to follow Him (v. 11)

Jesus is recognized as Lord by a leper (v. 12)

Jesus’ presence causes the leper to cry out to Him for healing (v. 12)

Jesus responds (v. 13)

Jesus stretches out his hand to heal the man (v. 13)

Jesus is always willing to heal (v. 13)

Jesus reveals compassion (v. 13)

Jesus instructs the man to tell no one (v. 14)

Jesus’ acclaim began to spread more (v. 15)

Jesus drew greater crowds (v. 15)

Jesus drew more people to be healed (v. 15)

Jesus would withdraw to be alone (v. 16)

Jesus would leave the crowds to go pray (v. 16)

Jesus drew even the Pharisees and teachers of the law to hear him from all over Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem (v. 17)

Jesus drew those wishing to critique Him (v. 17)

Jesus has power to heal (v. 17)

Jesus is the purpose of a bold display of faith (v. 18)

Jesus witnesses a bold display of faith (v. 19)

Jesus sees their faith (v. 20)

Jesus immediately forgives the paralytic’s sins (v. 20)

Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees and scribes for forgiving sins (v. 21)

Jesus sees through their thoughts (v. 22)

Jesus confronts the Pharisees (v. 22-23)

Jesus is the Son of Man (v. 24)

Jesus has authority to forgive sins (v. 24)

Jesus’ power enables the paralytic to stand up and go home (v. 25)

Jesus’ healing is made evident as the man arises, goes home and gives glory to God (v. 25)

Jesus amazes them all (v. 26)

Jesus causes them all to give glory to God (v. 26)

Jesus sees Levi, a tax collector as he leaves (v. 27)

Jesus calls Levi to follow Him (v. 27)

Jesus causes Levi to leave everything and follow Him (v. 28)

Jesus partakes of a big feast made by Levi (v. 29)

Jesus eats with sinner and tax collectors (v. 29)

Jesus surrounds himself with those who need Him (v. 29)

Jesus is grumbled at by the Pharisees and scribes (v. 30)

Jesus responds to the Pharisees logically and straightforward (v. 31-32)

Jesus desires to call sinners to repentance (v. 32)

Jesus does not call those who already think they are righteous on their own (v. 32)

Jesus is challenged by his critics regarding fasting (v. 33)

Jesus calls attention to the purpose of fasting (. 34)

Jesus utilizes analogy to point out that there is no need for fasting since He, as God, is with His disciples now in the flesh (v. 34-35)

Jesus tells a parable to show why one cannot mix the old with the new (v. 36-37)

Jesus is never outwitted (v. 34-39)

Jesus has a purpose for everything that He does and doesn’t do (v. 34-39)

Jesus has the last word (v. 39)

 “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” -Luke 5:32-

Questions for Today:

  • Why is Jesus’ calling and pursuit of Simon significant?
  • Do I recognize that Jesus pursues my heart?
  • Do I consider it an honor to be invited by Jesus to follow Him?
  • What does it look like for me to abandon all to follow Jesus?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

“Narrow Road” by Hillsong Worship

Getting to Know Jesus: Luke 14

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The gospel of Luke is admired as one of the most beautifully written works of the Bible in its original Greek language. In English we lose the effect of his poetic style, but we glean the attributes of Jesus that Luke includes in his gospel account. As a medical doctor, Luke is very orderly and detailed in his writings as well, which help us to learn more about Jesus as we read. As we get to know Jesus in Luke chapter 14, I love that Luke includes this passage where Jesus goes to eat with Pharisees on the Sabbath. Rarely do we see Jesus and the Pharisees eating together in a close and personal environment, but it reveals the character of Jesus so well. Though most of the Pharisees hated Jesus and constantly instigated quarrels with Him regarding Jewish law, Jesus willingly went to eat with them. He didn’t hold a grudge, he didn’t bring up in His mind future thoughts of them murdering Him (which He probably could have), nor did He shut them out of his life because of what they spoken about him. His heart was no less burdened for their redemption than it was for His disciples. What humility and grace Jesus portrayed in mingling with the very people who would soon hand Him over to death, all for the sake of extending God’s hope for humanity to all people. May we learn from His example and show everyone the same kind of compassion that Jesus showed, even to those we may be hesitant to engage with. Also, I love that Jesus is an observer. Everywhere He goes, His eyes are on alert. Watching behaviors. Watching reactions. Noticing his surroundings. Noticing people. In a room full of Pharisees, I would think the room would be rather tense and uncomfortable at the start of a humility lecture, but not to Jesus! As the passage progresses, Jesus boldly begins speaking about the importance of assuming lowly places and giving preference to others . No question this was troubling content for a group of men whose sole purpose in life was to gain honor and status via their religious duties. But ultimately, Jesus wasn’t trying to shame them. He wasn’t trying to make them feel bad for the way they practiced life. He just wanted to renew their perspective of what it meant to please God. To Jesus, humility precedes honor and humility brings exaltation. This was completely counter-cultural. But Jesus called them to abandon the social norms of their day to follow the norms of a coming kingdom. The kingdom of God. And as He goes on in this chapter, He talks about what it means to follow Him while challenging them to consider the cost. May we read Luke 14 while getting to know the Jesus who approaches us lovingly so that we might humble ourselves, follow Him and count the cost of such devotion.  It doesn’t matter who we are or what position in life we may be assuming. Christ calls us to follow Him just the same. It is up to us to consider His words.

 

Summary: Luke 14

Jesus goes to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees on the Sabbath; the Pharisees watch Jesus carefully; a sick man is present; Jesus asks the Pharisees if it is lawful or not to heal on the Sabbath; they remain silent; Jesus heals the man and sends him away; Jesus compares healing on the Sabbath to pulling a son or ox out of a well on the Sabbath; they do not reply to Jesus; Jesus tells a parable about individuals taking various seats of honor at a wedding feast; Jesus teaches them to sit in the lowest place rather than the place each thinks he deserves; Jesus teaches them to not invite people they know to a dinner or social gathering, but those they don’t know so that they cannot repay the host; one reclining at the table exclaims that the kingdom of God must be a place of blessing for those who will eat bread there; Jesus tells a parable of a banquet with invited guests (who reject the invitation) and uninvited guests (who are then brought into the banquet); Jesus teaches them what it will cost them to become his disciple, saying that one should hate his family in comparison with their love for Him, and must bear his own cross; Jesus exhorts them to count the cost of following Him before they make the decision.

 

Jesus in Luke 14

Jesus eats with one of the rulers of the Pharisees on the Sabbath (v. 1)

Jesus is watched closely by the religious elite (v. 1)

Jesus already notices that there is a man present who needs healing (v. 3)

Jesus asks the Pharisees their opinion about something He already knows the answer to (v. 3)

Jesus is bold (v. 3)

Jesus illuminates the contents of our hearts (v. 3)

Jesus is in control of the situation (v. 3)

Jesus touches the sick man (v. 4)

Jesus heals the sick man (v. 4)

Jesus let’s him go (v. 4)

Jesus prioritizes engaging with hurting people (v. 4)

Jesus asks the Pharisees a practical question (v. 5)

Jesus wants us to realize that people are more important than keeping rules (v. 5)

Jesus stumps the religious elite (v. 6)

Jesus notices the positions we take in life; relationally, occupationally, hierarchically (v. 7)

Jesus calls out pride and selfishness when He sees it (v. 7)

Jesus instructs us to not sit in the best places (v. 7)

Jesus emphasizes humility over entitlement (v. 8)

Jesus’ teachings are counter cultural (v. 8)

Jesus rejects social norms (v. 8)

Jesus warns us against taking a position of superiority that we do not deserve (v. 9)

Jesus endorses humility (v. 10)

Jesus appreciates humility (v. 10)

Jesus will humble those who exalt themselves (v. 11)

Jesus will exalt those who humble themselves (v. 11)

Jesus encourages us to host those who cannot repay us (v. 12)

Jesus wants us to be hospital to those outside our usual circle of friends (v. 12)

Jesus entreats us to serve the poor (v. 13)

Jesus says we will be rewarded at the resurrection of the just (v. 14)

Jesus’ words excite hearts to a joyful response (v. 15)

Jesus tells a parable (v. 16-24)

Jesus invites those to the banquet who were once not invited (v. 21-24)

Jesus reminds us that we must hate all other relationships in comparison to our love for Him (v. 26)

Jesus demands complete loyalty (v. 26)

Jesus wants all or nothing from us (v. 26)

Jesus calls us to bear our cross to be His disciple (v. 27)

Jesus’ requirements for following him are serious (v. 26-27)

Jesus loves us too much to let Him be anything but 1st in our lives (v. 26-27)

Jesus calls us to follow Him no matter the cost (v. 27)

Jesus explains to us the significance of counting the cost (v. 28 & 31-32)

Jesus doesn’t want half-hearted commitment (v. 28)

Jesus wants us to finish what we start (v. 28-29)

Jesus tells us clearly that we cannot be His disciple if we don’t forsake all (v. 33)

Jesus talks of salt losing its flavor (v. 34)

Jesus doesn’t want us to be like ones who lose their flavor, or their zeal for God (v. 34-35)

Jesus says that tasteless salt will be thrown out (v. 35)

Jesus wants us to understand that our decision of “all or nothing” determines if we will be salty or not, loyal or not, fruitful or not ( v. 35)

 

“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33

 

Questions for Today:

  • Am I engaging in conversation with those outside of my circle of friends?
  • How can I humble myself before God in the way that I live?
  • Do I notice others when they have a need?
  • What does my love for the Lord look like in comparison with my other relationships?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me take in my relationship with Him today?

Getting to Know Jesus: Luke 9

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As a Christian, getting to know Jesus personally is the goal of our faith. It changes everything. And as we get to know Him more and more, we are transformed into His likeness through the Holy Spirit working within us. What a beautiful thing! Reading the Bible especially helps us to learn more about Christ and the ways in which He lived as a human here on the earth. And as we read the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), we get a glimpse of Jesus’ heart and a deeper understanding of who He is. By looking closer at one chapter of a particular gospel, my hope is that we will become more aware of His person, fall in love with His goodness, and strive to emulate who He is in every area of our lives.

Luke 9: Summary

Jesus summons the disciples to cast out demons, feeds 5000+ people, predicts His death and resurrection, is transfigured on a mountain in front of Peter, James and John, casts out demons, journeys towards Jerusalem, and talks with His disciples about what it means to follow Him.

You can also read Luke chapter 9 here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+9&version=HCSB

Jesus in Luke 9:1-62

  • Jesus wants to empower us (verse 1-2)
  • Jesus isn’t worried about his present needs (v. 3-4)
  • Jesus is intriguing (v. 9)
  • Jesus makes time for people (v. 11)
  • Jesus welcomes us (v. 11)
  • Jesus wants us to know about God (v. 11)
  • Jesus heals (v. 11)
  • Jesus recognizes others’ needs (v. 13-17)
  • Jesus challenges us to take action (v. 13)
  • Jesus partners with us and tells us our next step in taking action (v. 14)
  • Jesus acknowledges the Father in everything He does (v. 16)
  • Jesus wants to hear our response (v. 20)
  • Jesus teaches us what is necessary to follow Him (v. 23)
  • Jesus is radiant with glory (v. 29)
  • Jesus is God’s Son (v. 35)
  • Jesus has power and authority to rebuke demons (v. 42)
  • Jesus reflects the greatness of God (v. 41-43)
  • Jesus knows the thoughts of our hearts (v. 47)
  • Jesus does not force Himself into places where He is unwelcome (v. 55)
  • Jesus filters through our optimism and challenges us to recognize what we must give up in order to follow Him wholeheartedly (v. 57-62)


Questions for today:

  • After reading Luke 9, how has my perception of Jesus changed?
  • What surprised me?
  • What do I most admire about Jesus in Luke 9?
  • What practical step can I take today to become more like Him?
  • What is it Jesus is asking me to give up to follow Him?

“Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” –Luke 9:23-