Jul 2010

7635 - Much Love

In the life of Jesus, there were many important and wonderful moments, but this is one of the most beautiful.

There is a beautiful picture of Love in Luke 7:36-50.

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is -- that she is a sinner."

Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said.

"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"

Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven --for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"

Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

This scene of life contrasts a Pharisee and a known sinner.

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7634 - Playing Games

Today we’ll get to study what Jesus had to say about His cousin, John the Baptist.

We will explore Luke 7:24-35 today.

After John's messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces.

But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:
"`I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

"To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
"`We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.' For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, `He has a demon.'

Friend, in this passage Jesus seeks to set straight the perspective regarding John the Baptist.

Jesus asked if the crowds had journeyed into the desert to see a common reed swayed in the air by the political pressures of the day? (The heads in the crowd denied this implication.) John was a fiery man of God declaring truth about sin and righteousness.

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7633 - Assurance for John

So often we see people in the Gospels not quite fully understanding who Jesus is; even John the Baptist.

Today let’s study Luke 7:18-23:
John's disciples told him all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?"

When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, `Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?'"

At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."

This event unfolds while John the Baptist is imprisoned at Machaerus. There is no sure way of knowing how long John had been in prison.

John’s ministry was to prepare the people for the coming Messiah. Very possibly John, like most of the Jewish people, was expecting Jesus to be the conquering Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and reestablish the kingdom of Israel.

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7632 - The Widow's Son

Jesus demonstrated great compassion towards a widow who had lost nearly everything.

Let’s look at an event that demonstrates the compassionate nature of God from Luke 7, verses 11-17.

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out --the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."

Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people." This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

Many people do not understand the compassionate nature of God. They perceive God as a harsh disciplinarian, ready to thump them on their head when they cross the line.

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7631 - Centurion's Servant

A general has authority over his troops, but Jesus has authority over everything.

Let’s study Luke 7, verses 1-10.
When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue." So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, `Go,' and he goes; and that one, `Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, `Do this,' and he does it."

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

Dr. Luke, as a gentile, was sensitive to the ethnic conflict between Jew and Gentile. At the same time he was keenly aware that all people need to have a faith relationship with Jesus Christ.

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7630 - Wise and Foolish Builders

Sometimes that which is familiar to us eludes our notice.

In our study of Luke we come to a passage today that is known by many boys and girls from Sunday school lessons. It is a passage that most Christians are familiar with, but one that deserves a bit more consideration. From Luke 6:46-49:

Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.

This is the same lesson that many of us have heard before, and is a nearly identical telling of the same illustration that Jesus gave in his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:24-27. Many might be more familiar with the text of that passage, but in Luke we gain some additional insight.

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7629 - Bad Fruit

The only thing that rotten fruit is good for is to be thrown out and used for compost.

In our study of Luke we have come to chapter 6 and an illustration from Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain about fruit, both good and bad.

From Luke 6:43-45:
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

The principle here is communicated through the illustration that good trees produce good fruit, and bad trees produce bad fruit. This would have been an example that was clear to his audience of people that were closely connected to agriculture and raising and eating fruit.

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7628 - Judge Not

Each of us is to be very careful to apply the same standards and expectations of behavior to ourselves as we do to others.

Jesus taught us very clearly the danger of judging others. Lets look at Luke 6:37-42.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

He also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.”

This passage continues the words of Jesus as He delivered the “Sermon On The Plain.” He extends his teaching about attitudes that would permeate his followers.

Judge not! The principle given says that a believer does not take over God’s role and judge either an outsider or a fellow Christian. This is not the role for a believer. We are never called upon to pass sentence upon another person. Such an action would be sin.

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7627 - Ethics of Love

Jesus spoke of many things in His ministry on earth, but what He taught us about Love is particularly important.

Is the definition of love, as viewed by the world system, the same as God’s definition of love? Listen to Luke 6:27-36 and we’ll talk more.

"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners' lend to `sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

This discourse by Jesus came from his lips during what some people call ‘The Sermon On The Plain.’ Many people were listening, including the twelve men Jesus had appointed to be His apostles a short time before these words were spoken.

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7626 - Blessings and Woes

In His Sermon on the Plain, Jesus taught us that things are not always how they appear to be.

Today we will be studying Luke 6:17-26. Pay attention to the contrasts in this passage:

He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

Looking at his disciples, he said:
"Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

"Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
"But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.

We notice that at this time the crowds continued to seek Jesus. All kinds of people thronged to Jesus, from near and far.

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7625 - Twelve Selected

God has a plan for all of us, and today we look aat His choosing of 12 men and His plans for them.

In our study of Luke’s Gospel, today we study about Jesus appointing twelve disciples to be apostles.

Listen as I read Luke 6:12-16.
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Matthew, Mark and Luke all give a list of the names of the twelve men Jesus appointed to be apostles. The first chapter of Acts also has a list.

This is an awesome act in history. First we find the Son of God, in perfect fellowship with His Father, setting aside twelve men to be trained for the task of being used to establish and nurture the Church — the body of Christ — and to be leaders in this first century work of God.

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7624 - A Withered Hand Restored

Jesus and the Pharisees never really got along, because the Pharisees were too focused on obeying their outward tradition, but Jesus was focused on love and people’s inward condition.

Today we study the fifth confrontation of Jesus with the Pharisees in this section. In the first confrontation (Lk. 5:17-26) the Pharisees objected to Jesus forgiving sin. The second time (Lk. 5:29-32) found them accusing Jesus of associating with sinners. In the third conflict (Lk. 5:33-39) the Pharisees objected to the fact that Jesus and his disciples did not fast. Number four (Lk. 6:1-5) was the accusation by the Pharisees that the disciples were unlawfully working on the Sabbath by picking heads of grain, cleaning them and eating.

Let’s look at Luke 6:6-11 and we will talk more.

On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Get up and stand in front of everyone." So he got up and stood there.

Then Jesus said to them, "I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?"

He looked around at them, and then said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He did so, and his hand was completely restored. But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Since Jesus could read their hearts He knew their thoughts and motivations. He knew they were prideful and oppressive. In John’s Gospel (7:19) He boldly announces that even though they taught obedience to the Law and required others to keep it strictly, that not one of them kept the law. This is why He would call them hypocrites.

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7623 - The Lord of the Sabbath

We can often get attached to our traditions of the conventional rules of society, but God’s rules are the ones we need to pay attention to.

In our study of the Gospel of Luke we are now entering the sixth chapter. The passage for today presents yet another effort by the Pharisees to discredit Jesus. He did not fit into their expectations of a conquering Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and establish the kingdom of God on earth.

But let’s read Luke 6:1-5; then we can discuss it:
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

The underlying problem was the restrictive rules, which had been imposed upon the Jewish people for observance of the Sabbath. In this way the Pharisees had become Lord of the Sabbath. These traditional rules went far beyond the requirements of the Mosaic Law.

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