Luke 9 – 10/3/17

Learning to Include Jesus: Reading through Luke’s Gospel

Ninth Day – Tuesday 10/3/17

Luke 9– There comes a time to leave school and do what you’ve been trained to do.

    
     Jesus sent out his twelve closest followers to do what they had seen him do.  He told them: “Don’t over-prepare. Just be faithful to the assignment and God will meet your needs.”  Then, as if to remind them that God will meet their needs, Jesus feeds a large crowd – a really large crowd!  Shortly after, Jesus asks his disciples: “So, who do you think I am?” (20).
     
     This past week, you’ve followed along with Jesus’ disciples.  You’ve seen what they’ve seen – Jesus’ acceptance of outcasts; his authority over disaster, demons, disease, and death; his compassion in feeding hungry people.  So – who do you say that Jesus is?  Will you include him in your life?

     If you do – not everyone will agree with you or support you (43-45; 51-56).  Including Jesus may mean disappointing or being misunderstood by others (57-62).

        

Reflection: Do you think it is worth it to include Jesus?  Why?



Luke 8 – 10/2/17

Learning to Include Jesus: Reading through Luke’s Gospel

Eighth Day – Monday 10/2/17

Luke 8 – By this point in our reading, you may be feeling that including Jesus and his teachings in all you do is difficult! Not everybody who heard Jesus accepted what he said. Sometimes people hear Jesus and don’t get it. Sometimes people hear Jesus – and don’t want it!
 
     This is a good time to read 8:22-56 again. Look again: just who is calling us to such a challenging way of life? Look again: just what is it that Jesus has authority over? Wind and waves (22-25); evil and destruction (26-35); illness and isolation (40-48); grief and dying (49-56). We are following the One who is Lord over disaster, demons, disease, and death! He just may know what he’s talking about – even when we don’t! But we can trust him.
 
     Just as Jesus said in 6:46-49, the safest place to stand, now and for eternity, is on him. Including Jesus is challenging – but you’re including the one who is greater than everything that threatens you.
 
     Today’s Decision: Will you hear him and include him?


Luke 7 – 10/1/17

Learning to Include Jesus: Reading through Luke’s Gospel

Seventh Day – Sunday 10/1/17

Luke 7 – Remember from Luke 3:20 that John the Baptist is in prison. With all the time to think, John began wondering about Jesus – was he really the one that God sent, or had John made a mistake? If Jesus was sent by God to bring in God’s rule – then why was John (Jesus’ advance man) sitting in prison rather than helping bring in God’s rule? So John sent some friends to ask Jesus himself.
 
     Jesus’ answer back to John was based on scripture: Isaiah 29:18-21; 35:5-6; 61:1. His message to John was simply: God’s way of healing this world doesn’t come about by “blessing the blessed.” Jesus came to bless all!
 
     Reflection: In the remainder of the chapter, Luke tells of Jesus’ encounter with several people – a Roman commander; a vulnerable widow; a “sinful woman.” How does Jesus’ ministry to them bring Isaiah’s teachings to life? How can you “include Jesus” when you encounter people like those described by Isaiah and those met by Jesus?
 
    


Luke 6 – 9/30/17

Learning to Include Jesus: Reading through Luke’s Gospel

Sixth Day – Saturday 9/30/17

Luke 6 – Yesterday’s reading ended with Jesus’ warning that God’s true way of living can’t always be contained in the old ways of doing things, religious or otherwise. In today’s chapter, Jesus explains just how new and different our lives will be when we include Jesus. In vv. 20-49, Jesus turns everything we thought we knew about life and religion on its head!
 
  • The poor are blessed with a future; the rich may have gotten all they’re going to get (20,24).
  • Love your enemies and share what you have – because that is how God is (35-36).
  • Be careful about judging – God will judge you in the same way you judge others (37-38).
  • Don’t be too busy looking at others’ weaknesses that you don’t see your own (41-42).
  • What you do and what you say will show others if you really “include Jesus” or not (43-45).
  • If you want a stable, storm-standing way to live – make Jesus’ words the foundation of your life. Include all of his teachings in the life you build (46-49).
 
     Reflection: So – how’s the bit about “loving your enemies” working in your life? Which of Jesus’ teaching in just this chapter need focused prayer in your life?
 
   


Luke 5 – 9/29/17

Learning to Include Jesus: Reading through Luke’s Gospel

Fifth Day – Friday 9/29/17

Luke 5 – In 5:1-11, Jesus called Simon, James, and John to begin following him closely as his disciples, or students. They had already known Jesus (see John 1:35-42). Now they were to spend their days focusing on him and learning to live as he lived. The result: they would “fish for people” – their very lives would draw others to Jesus.
 
     Reflection: You may know about Jesus through church, your family, even your own Bible reading. How would it be different to include Jesus in how you live every day? Including Jesus allows him to teach you how to really live God’s way so you will impact others for good – for God.
 
     But note in vv. 36-39 – what you learn will be different from what you may have known!


Luke 4 – 9/28/17

Learning to Include Jesus: Reading through Luke’s Gospel

Fourth Day – Thursday 9/28/17

Luke 4 – Like the rest of us, Jesus had to make decisions about whether he would make God’s priorities and values the basis of his life and work. Luke 4:1-13 tells us that Jesus was tested about his true beliefs. You will be, too. In fact, you probably already have been!
 
     Reflection: Can you remember situations in your life when you had to decide if you would “include Jesus” in choices about your actions or words?
 
     Whatever situation you remember – it won’t be the last time you’re faced with that decision. Luke 4:13 tells us that Jesus stood his ground for God’s values and, as a result, the devil “left him” – be he didn’t stay gone! Luke tells us that “he left him until an opportune time.” The choices and temptations came back during Jesus’ life – and they will for you, too.
 
     Reflection: Thank God for his forgiveness and mercy at the times when you confess that you “excluded Jesus.” And thank God for the growing strength of his Spirit in you to help you include Jesus when testing comes again – and it will!


Luke 3 – 9/27/17

Learning to Include Jesus: Reading through Luke’s Gospel

Third Day – Wednesday 9/27/17

Luke 3 – First-century Jews thought their lives “included God” simply because they were born Jewish. However, in Luke 3:1-18, John the Baptist preached that each person must choose to include God in his or her life. When asked what their lives should look like if they chose to include God, John answered:
 
(1) share what you have with those who need it, (2) whatever your job, do it well and with fairness, and (3) be content with what you’re earning. John had no time to address comforting messages to those who lived careless or selfish lives – he was calling people to right living as he prepared the way for their Messiah.
 
     Reflection: As you include Jesus in your life everyday: What changes can you make in sharing what you have, doing your work honestly and well, and being content?
 
[italicized portions from Life Application Bible notes at 3:11-14]
 


Luke 2 – 9/26/17

Learning to Include Jesus: Reading through Luke’s Gospel

Second Day – Tuesday 9/26/17

Luke 2 – Jesus’ parents encountered two people when they brought him to the temple to be dedicated after he was born.
 
The first was Simeon. He is described in vv. 25-27 as “righteous [= faithful to his relationship with God] and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.”
 
Simeon was waiting for the comfort God’s messiah would bring his people. In many Scriptures, God promises his people healing; wholeness; blessing; restoration. Christians often find themselves waiting and aching for God’s promises to be real in their lives.

     Reflection: What are you waiting for God to do that he has promised in his word? How long will you wait?

 
The second person was Anna. Luke tells us she was a prophet; that she had been married for seven years, then widowed, and was then 84 years old. She may have lived as a widow for as long as 60-65 years. During those years, “she never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying” (v. 37). In the first century, the Jerusalem temple was a place of shelter and provision for the poor and disadvantaged, especially widows. But Anna not only accepted the provision of God, she also gave herself to worship, fasting, and prayer.
 
     ReflectionCan you turn your times of loneliness and need into worship and prayer?
 
 
 


Luke 1 – 9/25/17

Learning to Include Jesus: Reading through Luke’s Gospel

First Day – Monday 9/25/17

Luke 1 –

     All four of the Gospels begin their accounts of Jesus with John the Baptist.  Luke is unique among them, however, because he begins with the conception and birth of John the Baptist!  His parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, are described as being “righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly” (1:6 NIV 2011).  

     For today, two thoughts from the notes in the Life Application Study Bible and two questions for reflection and prayer –

     Zechariah and Elizabeth didn’t just go through the motions in following God’s laws; they backed up their outward compliance with inward obedience.  Unlike the religious leaders whom Jesus called hypocrites, Zechariah and Elizabeth did not stop with the letter of the law.  Their obedience was from the heart, and that is why they are called “righteous in the sight of God.”  [note on v. 6]

     Reflection: What would it mean for you in your daily life to be “righteous [= faithful to the relationship] in the sight of God”?  What would your daily life look like if you were “observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly”?

     God answers prayer in his own way and in his own time.  He worked in an “impossible” situation – Elizabeth’s age and barrenness – to bring about the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the Messiah.  If you want to have your prayers answered, you must be open to what God can do in impossible situations.  And you must wait for God to work in his way and in his time.  [note on v. 7]
 
     Reflection:  Have you ever found yourself in an “impossible” situation? Did you pray?  How did God answer?  Do you find yourself waiting on God’s answer to your prayers right now?  Can you trust him – even while you wait?