Take 1 minute to read the scripture Take 1 minute to read the thought Take 1 minute to think about them Take 1 minute to pray Take 1 minute to finish your coffee
Luke The Birth & Events 2
Week 29 Day 1
Reading: Luke 2:7; 9-11 "She gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger". "There were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." ESV Thought: The true birth date of Jesus has for a long time been lost, since the fall of Jerusalem in AD70. There are however a few important facts which reveal the date and year: the first calendar, written by Dionysius, was based on Jesus' birth year, yet it is known that he was off, pushing the year back to 6-7BC. The wise men who came from the eastern region of Babylon saw the star above Bethlehem, we can track the motion of the stars and planets back and look for significant signs in Babylonia skies. Two were found; in July of 7BC and April of 6BC. The night the star was seen we know that the shepherds had their flocks out, not under cover, thus it must have been during the spring months i.e. April. Our celebration of Christmas and many of the significances of the holiday were not originally part of any Christian practice until about 400AD when Christmas was established to override a pagan festival, Yule, also known as the festival of light. This is from where we take our use of trees, lights, tinsel etc. Luke's account highlights one particular aspect of Jesus' life and ministry, for the first to receive the message were shepherds, the lowest among society. Thus the importance of grace was established from His very birth, a ministry to the broken, the rejected, the fallen. Prayer: Lord, Your life was the very fulfilment of the grace of God, proclaiming salvation to those You received. Let Your life be a witness to me of how I should also live. All to Your glory through the testimony of Your grace.
The son of God
Reading: Luke 3:23; "Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,... the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God." ESV Thought: Unlike Matthew's genealogy, Luke chooses not to focus on particularly Jewish figures, passing swiftly through them. Instead Luke's aim is to connect Jesus through Mary to Judah and extend to Adam. Belief in a single descendant who was father to all men was well believed throughout most of the world, so by connecting Jesus to Adam was to cover two points: Jesus being a man was the Son of God, but was also the son of God by descent
of Adam. This would coincide with the message of Paul's letter to the Romans during which he refers to Jesus as the Second Adam, which is the second man to come directly from God. "For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ" (Rom5:17). This ties in with the audience of Luke's gospel, a Roman governor by the name of Theophilus (God-lover) who hired Luke to write, and so must have read some of Paul's letters to the churches. It is in Luke's gospel in which he gives account of Jesus as the perfect human as opposed to Adam through whom sin entered the world; through Jesus came truth, life and righteousness. Prayer: Lord, through You came grace such that sin was put to death in me. You came to earth to show the Way, by being perfect in human form that we would know the Father who was in You. Teach us to live as You did.
Give to God
Reading: Luke 20:21-25 "So they asked him, "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?" But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, "Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?" They said, "Caesar's." He said to them, "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." ESV Thought: Jesus taught that it was good to pay taxes, paying the Temple tax Himself also. When showed the denarius He taught the necessity of performing as is according to the world's laws whilst still holding strictly to God's Law. He taught good to do with money, giving tithes to the Temple and paying the tax imposed by the Romans. The important message which is shared in light of the revelation granted throughout the whole Bible though is that God does ask and seek for all of you, not just part of our lives, but all of it, from birth to death to new life. So when Jesus says "render to God the things that are God's" He's talking about all of us. So if we are to give our whole selves to God, to become servants of His purposes, what is 10% of our income in comparison to our souls? Or a few hours a week compared to our minds? So then, do not seek to give the 'adequate' amount, but render to God all that He deserves and all that He owns. Prayer: Lord, my heart, my soul, my mind, my strength, my life; all these below to You and I surrender them to You. Fulfil Your purposes for them, use them for Your will. All I give to You, use me.
Jesusâ€™ Prayer Life
Reading: Luke 11:1-5 "Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." And he said to them, "When you pray, say: "Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation."" ESV Thought: In his pursuit to demonstrate the humanity of Jesus Luke is the only gospel writer to regularly mention the occasions when Jesus withdrew to pray. Commonly Jesus is found in desolate places when praying, withdrawing radically from others to be able to pray alone. He did not make loud prayers or allow others to hear Him, but did so in quite unpopulated areas. This is as He taught, "when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to
your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words" (Mat6:6-7). And so He left us this prayer which is good to pray for it was not as the scribes and the Pharisees would pray. This prayer to the Father was to be said in relationship with Him. God's glory was hallowed quickly there was no pretense or long winded appraisal. It requested all that we needed for that day, daily bread for sustenance which recognized every day and every meal as a blessing. It reminded of the sacrifice that Christ was about to make, to remember that we are to forgive others as He forgave us, and thus lead us from being tempted to sin. In every occasion when Jesus went to pray He went to be in a private relationship with the Father, so should our prayers be also, even when in a group. Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours now and forever.
The Spirit & Jesus
Reading: Luke 4:18; 24:49 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor." "And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." ESV Thought: Jesus was highly connected to the Spirit, even before His baptism the Spirit was with Him, guiding Him, teaching Him, granting Him authority. His baptism had no significance as far as His relationship with the Spirit went for He already had the Spirit upon Him thus it was a public display and the beginning of His ministry. In a similar manner though were the Father and Jesus connected for He says, "I am in the Father and the Father is in me" (Joh14:11). This is not to say that the Father and the Spirit were within the body of Jesus, but He speaks of the connection they share in the Trinity. Luke however chooses to highlight the aspects in which Jesus and the Spirit were connected to demonstrate His humanity in the light of the events of Pentecost. Luke was thus showing that the perfect human is one who walks with the Spirit of God for without Him we can do nothing righteous. Before Jesus left He gave us the promise that the Spirit would come to as Helper, Councillor, Comforter to provide us with all we would need to do the good works of the Lord. Convicting of sin and leading to salvation, doing nurturing the seed of the Word in peoples' lives, revealing Christ to those called according to His purpose. Therefore we must seek the involvement of the Spirit in all things, that we might know what the will of God is and who He is directing us to. Prayer: Lord, You gave us the Spirit of Your strength to be ours, clothing us with power from on high. Reveal to us Your will & Word through the Spirit and guide us to Your calling.
The Prodigal Son
Reading: Luke 15:20-21 "And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'" ESV Thought: Luke's gospel is the only one to record the parable of the prodigal son, it highlights
the relationship we share with the Father, for we are the prodigal son. We deserted our Father to live in the world, and only when things didn't turn out as we had intended and thus we were abandoned by the world did we return to Him, and thus it is good that we return to Him for that is what it means to be righteously human. This is how the salvation of humanity can be equated, for each of us individually chose to reject our Father and seek worldly passions, and only when the Holy Spirit came to convict us of our sin and call us back to the Father did we return, for it was not the son alone who chose to return but the Spirit who brought him to remembrance of the promises of his father. It was not our intention to return for we lived in the world and were blinded to the things of God, but when the Spirit came bringing grace and mercy there was nothing we could do but return, for such grace was so desirable that we could not reject it but only be drawn towards the Father. On returning we will welcomed with songs of worship to God for He has done a great work in bringing us back, therefore even now let us return to the Father and give praise to His name as He calls us back with open arms. Prayer: Lord, call us back to You, call us to return home to Your loving embrace. Call out to us in all the situations of life, and especially in our times of hardship. Let nothing separate us from the knowledge of Your love, but daily bring us to revelation of Your grace.
The Good Samaritan
Reading: Luke 10:30-37 "A man... fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed... But a Samaritan, came to where he was, and he had compassion. He bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these... proved to be a neighbor to the man... ?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."" ESV Thought: Whilst being quizzed by an agent of the Pharisees regarding the greatest of the commandments the question was asked, "who is my neighbour?" To which Jesus gave this parable in response, only Luke records this parable showing the way men are meant to live. The first two who pass by the man are a Levite and a priest; they are those who worked in the temple and synagogues. They chose not to help the man because they were blinded by the Law and ceremonial traditions. Yet a Samaritan, not distinctly aware of the Law, but sharing heritage with Abraham stopped and showed compassion. The Jews were quite aggressive towards the Samaritans because of their mixed Gentile-Jewish blood and thus for a Samaritan to stop to help a Jew was totally cross-cultural. But Jesus was making a point to all those listening that the true spirit of humanity was meant to be sacrificial grace giving, that grace should be given even at self-cost, putting others before ourselves. This parable was also spoken to teach the Jews one vital lesson, everyone can be your neighbour, it doesn't matter where they come from, but only that a relationship is formed and held, regardless of what form that takes. Therefore be true neighbours to all those who you have built relationships with, friends, family, distant cousins, work mates, teachers, pastors; all those to whom your witness as an ambassador of Christ can be upheld. Prayer: Lord, make us into gracious neighbours of the order to which You were the perfect neighbour. Let opportunity and inspiration to show the grace of Christ be given that by building relationships based on that grace would bear much fruit.
The Perfect Humanâ€™s Cross
Reading: Luke 23:13-15: 34; 39-43; 46-47 "Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him." "And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." "One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." "Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent!" ESV Thought: Luke's account of the events around Jesus' crucifixion are set to identify one very major point, Jesus was totally innocent of any charges which it was possible to place upon Him. Everyone to whom Jesus was presented by the Jews, declared He was innocent. But not only was it enough that He was to suffer while being innocent, but He even forgave those who were gathered around Him and even the convicted criminal who hung beside Him. Jesus' words and prayer that day brought salvation to no less than two people, for both the centurion and the criminal received Him in that day. Part of the consideration that is made regarding the crucifixion is to cause the reader to understand their own involvement in the events. Even if not directly present there, every person ever is represented by one of the major figures. This is to show the depths to which all men rejected Jesus. The whole of the Jewish peoples are represented by Annas and Caiaphas as well as the Jewish council, who rejected Jesus for claiming to be the Son of God, for usurping their power and for telling them their wrongs. The whole of the Gentile peoples are represented by Herod and Pilate, who even though they recognized His innocence still scourged Him, beat Him and mocked Him, even sending Him to death without any charge against Him, thus was the rejection we had a hand in. Therefore it becomes so much more clear that Jesus' innocent sacrifice was necessary to forgive all sin of those called to faith, for in no other way could the radical corruption of all men be cleansed and a new heart, new mind and new life be instilled, for these gifts are not found in the Law and the sacrifice of animals, but only in the sacrifice of a perfect being. Prayer: Lord, how wonderful was Your sacrifice upon that cross, that even through my own rejection You persevered to bring me to You. Teach me Lord to demonstrate that same innocence, keeping my separate from all sin till that day when You come again.