Friday, December 20

The Gospel of Luke - Chapters 10 & 11


Disclaimer:
There is an affiliate link in this blog post.


What do we read about in the tenth & eleventh chapters of Luke's Gospel?
What do we learn from Luke?


What is the main focus?
Is it important to know the words from this chapter?







I am doing this in response to an Advent Reading challenge where we read 1 chapter of the Gospel of Luke per day from 1st to 24th December which will allow the whole book to be read.

I don't plan to post every day but will try to do so every two days and end on the 24th.


If you missed The Overview or any of the chapters please click  HERE  for a list of them all.



Now let's look at the Tenth Chapter of Luke.



Today we are dividing this chapter into 4 sections



The Seventy Sent Out v. 1-16:

There is a great resemblance here to the start of chapter 9 where Jesus sent out the twelve disciples.

However it is from this passage and not from the previous one that we have the famous words of Jesus in verse 2 often quoted as people are going to the mission field.

The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.  

verse 3  brings us the mention of lambs and wolves,
Jesus was definitely preparing them for a not so easy time.


verse 5  brings us a lovely greeting which should be used more in today's world.
I'm often struck by the greetings in the Epistles and think we should greet people better than we do.







After some detailed instructions of how they are to stay in the homes and the cities Jesus makes it clear in verse 12  that it is a serious thing for a city where they are not made welcome saying

But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.


Other places are then mentioned by Jesus and compared to Tyre and Sidon whom God will judge and strong words are said in judgement of Capernaum. 
Why?
The previous times we read in Luke about Capernaum we were not given any indication that Jesus was upset by the evil there or the non-acceptance of Jesus.
This is something I am interested to look into again some time or ask some of those Theologians that I know very well.


We are left in this section with Jesus words again leaving a strong warning in verse 16


“He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”

It is indeed a serious thing to reject those whom God sends.


Reminds me of the incident with the young boys and the bears in 2 Kings 2:22-24 a very interesting read.




It is indeed a serious thing to reject those whom God sends.




The Seventy Return  v. 17-24:

I like the heading for this section in the NKJV

The Seventy Return With JOY!    -    Makes you smile even as you read it.


However this section seems to be about 3 types of Joy.


1.  The disciples are joyful on their return.

Seventy disciples witness to how well their mission time went in verse 17

“Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”

But Jesus reminds them of the fall of Satan and how even though He has given them power over the enemy this is a risky joy to concentrate on because if they do they will be taking their focus off the giver of the power and directing it on themselves.
Then they will find themselves becoming proud, as Satan did.



2.  Jesus talks about true Joy.

Keeping their focus on God will keep their hearts joyful because as He tells them in verse 20

God has written their names in Heaven which is of far greater importance and relevance to their lives than what they think they are accomplishing on earth.  








3.  Jesus is Joyful

In verse 21 we are told that Jesus talked to His Father and that


Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit

This is the righteous joy that the Father, Son and Spirit shared.

We end this section with verses 23-24  where Jesus tells the Disciples how blessed they are to be in the position they are in being able to see and hear so much from God.






The Parable of the Good Samaritan  v. 25-37:


We are all so familiar with this parable.

It is important to remember in what circumstances and in answer to which question this parable relates.

We have just heard Jesus telling the disciples that others have not heard or seen the things they have and of course we know that this relates to understanding and not just listening.

So the circumstances now are that Jesus is approached by someone who does not understand the ways of God fully and the question is found in verse 25


“Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Now Jesus does not give him a direct answer to the question but directs him to the Law, asking him not just what is written there but also what he understands it to mean.

Love is the answer but it's our attitude and how we direct that love that is important.







So then the question from the lawyer comes in verse 29  


But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

Thinking back to the Old Testament I think there were plenty of times as the Law was given that there was good detail and example given so did this man not really know who his neighbour was?

So Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Any different types of people could have been cast in the roles but Jesus chose to make the example of the pious religious and the hated among the Jews which I think He did to show that he knew the lawyer's true heart.

The parable ends with verses 36 - 37


36 So which of these three do you think was neighbour to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

The way it ends without the man speaking again I have to wonder if the man did not mean for this to be the result because it would mean a change of heart on his part when he already thought he was good enough, but knowing the law is not good enough again the Love is the answer.



Love is the answer but it's our attitude and how we direct that love that is important.




Mary & Martha  v. 38-42:


I don't think it is by chance that this section comes at this point.

Again the relationship is important and the attitude and the love.

Many women today want to make more of this than there is here.
This is a home situation and Jesus was invited in to the home by Martha (verse 38)  she has a sister and while the hostess was thinking and working towards the comfort and the refreshment of the guest her sister was not helping.

I can see a similar situation happening very easily today as well.
We have a guest and there will be someone in the home who takes responsibility for the hospitality they want to offer, usually the best cook or organiser within the family.

Martha gets upset and wants her sister to help and Jesus just reminds her that this is a one off occasion where they have Him and His teaching and she needs to recognise which is the most important.  He was not always going to be around to learn from.

Mary listening to Jesus was not a sign that she was going to be a teacher of the Word, she was simply making the most of the opportunity to learn which is what we all need to do.

Martha not sitting intently listening was not being condemned, we are shown here that there are two things we need to do in life -  have a good attitude & relationship with God's word (listen, read, learn and be in the presence of God) and have a good attitude and relationship with others (honour, respect and serve people).  Martha at this time chose the serving and Mary chose the learning.

Looking now to the relationship, attitude and love in this situation, and knowing that Jesus is later spoken of as a friend of these two women and their brother, I am sure we can say that the relationship, attitude and love between them all was not destroyed by this event.










Now let's look at the Eleventh Chapter of Luke.





We are also dividing this chapter into 4 sections.



Teaching On Prayer  v. 1-13:


We are all very familiar with the Lord's prayer but in this Gospel it may not be the same as we normally say it.


Which of the Gospels have the Lord's Prayer?


Matthew 6 v 5 - 15 covers teaching on prayer in the section known as the Sermon on the Mount.
but the part known commonly as the Lord's prayer would be verses 9 - 13
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be 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 debts,
As we forgive our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

 Amen.



Mark 11 v 25 - 26  covers a short look at prayer covering trespasses and forgiveness
25“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 
26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”



We can only FORGIVE when we LOVE.




Luke 11 v 1 - 4  covers teaching on prayer covering trespasses and forgiveness but the part considered to be the Lord's prayer is verses 2 - 4
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.



We can only have GOOD ATTITUDES when we know that we ourselves are SINNERS.




John has short verses dispersed throughout the Gospel on prayer but the best known part would be in chapter 16 verse 24




which is not likened to the Lord's Prayer.


If we look closely we see that Luke's version is basically the same as Matthew's version except it is missing the closing statement
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
 Amen.


Here in Luke, Jesus then goes on to give an example of persistent prayer about a neighbour who has visitors late at night and needs bread in verses 5 - 8


and follows with results of that persistence in verses 9 - 10
So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  
10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.


which is almost identical to Matthew 7 v 7 below







and another example of the type of answer God will give us in verses 11 - 13  where we plainly see that God is a good God who gives good things especially The Holy Spirit.


Here again in this teaching on prayer we see that relationship, attitude and love are so important.


We can only FORGIVE when we LOVE.


We can only have GOOD ATTITUDES when we know that we ourselves are SINNERS.



We can only keep GOOD RELATIONSHIPS when we LOVE and FORGIVE ourselves and others.









Casting Out A Demon  v. 14-28:


I have always found it strange that a statement such as that in verse 15 would be made
But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

Why would demons be against demons?


But then maybe the previous verse helps to show why, because in it we read that
the multitudes marvelled

Many people accepted the greatness of what Jesus did and respected Him for it but then that also means in our imperfect human life we will then see the scoffers and the jealous who can't always keep their mouths shut.  No matter what Jesus would have done it would not have satisfied or pleased all the people.

So Jesus confronts them with the fact that it doesn't make sense that He should cast out demons as they have accused Him.   In verses 19 - 20  he shows them the stupidity of their words but also calls them out in the fact that they don't want to believe that He is of God.
19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.  
20 But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

If Jesus is from God then they are showing that they are against Him - verse 23
He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

People are afraid when they see the power of God through Jesus because they know they are not right with God.
This is the time when people should shred their pride, arrogance and embarrassment to instead accept the way God wants to work.


Jesus then talks about how worse it can be when a demon is cast out but comes back with others to take up residence again.
Lives are changed by demons being cast out but they must be renewed by God's Spirit so that they stay changed.
If the people stay in unbelief or forget what God is doing for them they will not be changed.


Then we come to the verse that stands out from all others in this chapter, the verse that means so much.

To be true followers of Christ we need to take heed to this verse - this is what is expected of us.
Our heart and our actions must reflect the fact that we do not just hear but we believe and obey.

We are not to go our own way and think and apply our own thoughts, no we need to stay firm on the Word of God at all times - that's where the blessing is.










The Sign of Jonah  v. 29-36:


Jesus relates the people around Him with looking for signs but the only one they need is that of Jonah.

Who was Jonah sent to?
Ninevites

Why was Jonah sent?
The people were disobeying God's Laws

What was Jonah to do?
Take God's message of their sin and tell them to repent

What is the sign of Jonah?
That God wants people to recognise their sin and repent and trust in Him.

What did God declare?
The Ninevites repented when they met and heard from Jonah and were then not out of relationship with God.
The people here were still out of relationship with God because they were not looking to Jesus (who was greater than Jonah) but instead looking for something else.  They were not ready to repent.

The people were evil and Jesus related it to having darkness within when they should have light.
Jesus had also spoken about a lamp in a parable in chapter 8 v 16 - 21





Woes On The Pharisees  v. 37-54:


Jesus speaks of 3 Woes relating to the Pharisees

  1. They concentrated on tithing of all different things but overlooked the love & justice of God.
  2. They wanted to be noticed and honoured everywhere.
  3. They had uncleanness within that people were unaware of.


Jesus speaks of 3 Woes relating to the scribes

  1. They thought others had to be subject to laws but they didn't want to be.
  2. They did not respect the prophets.
  3. They were a hindrance to people to learn pure knowledge.


What reaction do we read from the Pharisees and scribes after this?

They plotted, planned and schemed against Jesus to catch Him out to be able to accuse Him of wrongdoing etc.



We can only keep GOOD RELATIONSHIPS when we LOVE and FORGIVE ourselves and others.



What about the attitudes, relationships and love we have seen as a recurring theme in these two chapters?
The scribes and Pharisees did not show a good attitude towards Jesus, did not want to have a good relationship with Him and certainly did not show love.









If you would like to read more of the posts in this series please click  HERE  for a list of them all.





For anyone looking for a book to give a thorough explanation of The Book of Luke  then I would recommend the following two commentaries by Warren Wiersbe which cover ch. 1-13 and ch. 14-24  available here below on Amazon and also at other leading bookshops.


 



For anyone looking to do a Bible Study of The Book of Luke  I would recommend the following two studies by Warren Wiersbe which cover ch. 1-13 and ch. 14-24  available here below on Amazon and also at other leading bookshops.


 



Disclaimer: If buying here through Amazon I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.





Tuesday, December 10

The Gospel of Luke - Chapters 8 & 9



Disclaimer:
There is an affiliate link in this blog post.


What do we read about in the eighth & ninth chapters of Luke's Gospel?
What do we learn from Luke?


What is the main focus?
Is it important to know the words from this chapter?







I am doing this in response to an Advent Reading challenge where we read 1 chapter of the Gospel of Luke per day from 1st to 24th December which will allow the whole book to be read.

I don't plan to post every day but will try to do so every two days and end on the 24th.


If you missed The Overview or any of the chapters please click  HERE  for a list of them all.



Now let's look at the Eighth Chapter of Luke.



Today we are dividing this chapter into 6 sections


Women Serving v. 1-3:

Many people will be saying here is some of the evidence  for women to be said to be leaders in the church.

Let's look at it carefully and see what it does say.

In verse 1  

Who was doing the preaching - Jesus.
Who was with Him - the 12 Apostles.

In verses 2 & 3    (the way the sentences are written these two verses cannot be taken separately)

Who was with Jesus - some women who had been healed and/or delivered and who were supporting the work. Some names are given but their support in the work is not described in detail.

However if you look at all three verses you will see that the women certainly would not have been used significantly as neither were the men.  The women and men were there because of Jesus and it was Jesus who was doing all the ministry to the people. 
Jesus was proclaiming the Kingdom of God with the disciples and the women learning about the Kingdom of God and serving Jesus.




Parable of the Sower  v. 4-15:

We read that there was a large crowd and Jesus spoke to them in a parable, although this is not the first time a parable has been mentioned in the Book of Luke.

Not all parables are explained to us in the Bible, not all were explained to the disciples either.

This one however has the explanation given in verses 11-15  and because we can read that here we must be careful to not sit under ministry of people who would decide that there is another way to interpret this parable.

Let's pray that we would be like the seed in the good soil.

We must grow in faith.




Parable of the Lamp  v. 16-21:


The important verses here are verses 16-17






Very serious thought.

Either we are truly following Jesus then this should be evident in our lives and we would want our lives to faithful to Him in every way.
If not we will eventually show it by our behaviour and attitudes or our turning away from Him.
God knows all, people may not know us fully but we know ourselves.


You know a light shows up what is around it and so draws the gaze to other things.
We need to draw the gaze of the world to Jesus and not be drawing attention to ourselves.


Verses 19-21 may seem odd to be placed here but here Jesus states that His mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and obey it and if we are saved then we are in the Family of God so we should hear and obey.



The Wind & Waves Obey Jesus  v. 22-25:


Jesus and His disciples got into a boat to go across the Lake.

Jesus fell asleep and the storm rose up.
Many theologians will tell you that the way Lake Galilee was it was well-known that the wind could stir up very dangerous waves very quickly.

The disciples are afraid even though they are in the presence of the one they have seen do great miracles, but that doesn't stop fear gripping them.  They wake Him up because they can do nothing but they should know by now that He can do something.


What type of miracles had they seen so far?

Healing   -   Peter's mother-in-law
Deliverance   -   Demoniac
Raising from the Dead   -   Widow's Son


Had they seen any miracles to do with the natural world?

Could they only believe He was capable of doing what they had already seen.

Could they not think of the miracles within the realm of the natural world that they knew had happened in the Old Testament?

Parting of the Red Sea
Walls of Jericho falling down
Sun standing still in the sky

Surely if miracles such as these had been done using God's leaders & prophets in the past then Jesus could perform them too.

Looks like the problem was not that they had no faith but that their faith was limited.




Jesus will acknowledge and encourage our faith



A Demon Possessed Man is Delivered  v. 26-39:


I wrote about this from the perspective of The Gospel of Mark ch 5 a few years ago on the blog.
So if you would like to see some of my thoughts from Mark's passage as well as some here from  Luke's you can read   "The Devil and Our Minds"


The demoniac met Jesus and knew who He was straight away.

How?   It was the many demons within the man who recognised who Jesus was and could do this better than the people who were with Jesus daily.   Who of His followers had acknowledged that He was the Son of the Most High God even though God had spoken it at His Baptism?  Who of them had understood He could do any type of miracle until shortly before this?

In verse 28  the group of demons said
“What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!”
and in doing so showed fear of Jesus and the power He would have over them.
Jesus had ordered the demons to leave the man so the fear was of what would then be the place they would have to go to.

The demons had tormented the man now they were afraid of being torment themselves.

Jesus permitted them to go into the swine nearby who immediately ran down into the Lake and drowned.

When I read this again I had the thought of how Jesus definitely esteemed mankind over the animals.





A Woman Healed & A Girl Raised to Life  v. 40-56:


He went to one and the other came to Him.







In the instance of the woman with the issue of blood we see a person so determined to get to Jesus that she would go against the culture of the day and press in until she was able to touch the hem of His garment because she knew in her heart that even doing that would be enough to receive her healing.  She did not even expect Him to speak words of heals to her.

Jesus reaction was to acknowledge her faith.







In the instance of the young girl we see a father who was determined to get Jesus to come and heal his daughter because he knew she was dying.  Then they get the news that she has died.  Before the man says anything, Jesus tells the father not to be afraid but to believe and his daughter would be well.  Arriving at the house, those who were distractions and did not believe were excluded while Jesus in a very simple manner raised the girl back to life.

Jesus reaction here was to encourage faith in the Father and family.









Now let's look at the Ninth Chapter of Luke.



Today we are dividing this chapter into 7 sections.



Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples  v. 1-9:


Looks like the initial training of the disciples is over and now they must go out and do the work  themselves but not before Jesus gave them the power and authority over demons and to heal diseases.

They were to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

He gave them the advice they needed about dealing with people who believed and those who did not believe.

Are we sent out with the same mission today?



Within this section Herod is brought to our attention again in verses 7-9


I was sure from chapter 3  when we read about Herod and Herodias that we would certainly be reading about the death of John the Baptist in detail in a later chapter but now no detail just the mention of some people thinking John had risen from the dead and that Herod beheaded him.

On checking through the other Gospels I see now that only Matthew ch. 14 and Mark ch. 6 give us the details of the beheading.

We learned from scholars that Luke's Gospel is the the chronological one with plenty of detail so this does not seem to fit with that perspective.

This short mention of Herod is here obviously to show us that everything that was happening was making Herod think about what Jesus was doing but he could not understand.  The result being that he was curious to see Jesus.




The Feeding of the 5000  v. 10-17:


The disciples were back with Jesus, and they all went to a quiet place near Bethsaida but not for long because the people followed them there and Jesus taught them again about the Kingdom of God.

Later that day the people needed to eat and when the disciples spoke to Jesus about this He told them to feed the people but they said there wasn't enough food for everyone.

Five loaves and 2 fish were all they had but did they forget they were with Jesus who had already proved He was a miracle worker?  Or did they only accept He could do miracles of healing, deliverance and against the natural elements of the world.

Whichever it was Jesus had to take over and do the job He had told them to do.

Jesus told them to get the people to sit in groups of 50.

Then in a simple clear way we see in verses 16-17  what Jesus did
16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.  
17 So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.



Who did they say He was? Who do we say He is?


Peter Confesses Jesus as The Christ  v. 18-27:


I have always liked this part of scripture it seems to be in a quiet time that the revelation has come to Peter.

The verses here are so simple but effective

18 And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
19 So they answered and said, “John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again.”
20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”


The people who had benefited from His teaching and been blessed by His miracles had not reached this point yet.







Then Jesus commanded them to tell no-one this truth they had learned and told them He would suffer and die and be raised on the third day.

The question then is will they remember what He had told them?

In fact would they remember the rest He went on to say in verses 23 - 27

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  
24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  
25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?  
26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.  
27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.”

or would they not understand until after His death, resurrection and ascension?










The Transfiguration  v. 28-36:


This was obviously a significant moment of time in the earthly life of Jesus.

He was meeting with Moses and Elijah and they were in deep discussion.

I have often wondered how the disciples knew it was these two men.  Perhaps it was simply revealed to the three of them by God.

Peter as he was well known to do, spoke out without thinking and said about making shelters for the Jesus, Moses and Elijah - something that if they had needed God would surely have supplied.

This event can be likened to His Baptism in the River Jordan because there is the voice of The Father in verse 35 to instruct the three disciples to know again that this is the Son of God but also to know that it is important to listen to Him.











A Boy is Healed  v. 37-45:


When they came down from the mountain the following day there were crowds of people.

Among the crowd there is a father who has brought his son to be delivered but the disciples who had remained there when Jesus, Peter, James & John had gone up the mountain could not cast out the demon.

Jesus referred to the faithless generation and then cast the demon out of the boy.

Everyone around them marvelled at all that they had seen Jesus do but at the same time Jesus was was talking to His disciples about the future.

verse 44
“Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”

However the following verse tells us that the disciples did not understand what He meant.





The Wrong Attitude of the Disciples v. 46-56:


The disciples were arguing over who among them was the greatest.

Sometimes we do have to wonder just how much attention they paid to Jesus in all the time they were with Him.
But then we need to remember that plank in our own eye before we consider the speck in another's eye because if we had been there we don't know what we would have been saying or doing - we certainly would not have been perfect or taken in things any better than they did.

Jesus used a child to demonstrate something to them.

He was teaching them 3 things

However they reacted to a child would be like reacting to Jesus.
However they reacted to Him would be like reacting to God the Father.
Whoever was least would be the greatest.

Then the disciples thought they had been right to stop someone casting out demons because they thought that person was not among the followers of Jesus but instead when John told Jesus this it was the disciples who Jesus rebuked.

No-one can know the heart or faith of another person.

It is good for us to remember Jesus' words in verse 50b
he who is not against us is on our side

What sides are there?

Good and Evil.
God and Satan.


Now when will the disciples learn from all of this? 

They were now headed for Jerusalem because Jesus knew He had to go there for His death and the time for that was approaching.

In a Samaritan village along the way we see James and John reacting wrongly and thinking it would be okay to destroy the village with with fire - copying Elijah.
They received a strong rebuke from Jesus because they were not of the right Spirit in thinking this as they were for death when Jesus was for life clearly seen in the words of Jesus in verse 56







The Cost of Discipleship  v. 57-62:


"Lord I will follow you wherever you go."

Do people ever know just what this will mean?
Are people prepared to launch out without thinking?
It is not an easy road to follow at times.

Do we always say just what we mean?
Do we say yes Lord but then want to do it in our own time or way?

If we look back to our old life we are not really in our new life.




If you would like to read more of the posts in this series please click  HERE  for a list of them all.



For anyone looking for a book to give a thorough explanation of The Book of Luke  then I would recommend the following two commentaries by Warren Wiersbe which cover ch. 1-13 and ch. 14-24  available here below on Amazon and also at other leading bookshops.






For anyone looking for to do a Bible Study of The Book of Luke  I would recommend the following two studies by Warren Wiersbe which cover ch. 1-13 and ch. 14-24  available here below on Amazon and also at other leading bookshops.






Disclaimer: If buying here through Amazon I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.