Friday, 6 December 2019

The Gospel of Luke - Chapters 4 & 5


Disclaimer:
There may be an affiliate link in this blog post.


What do we read about in the fourth & fifth 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 and chapter 1 please click HERE

For chapters 2 & 3 please click HERE  to read about that and then come back to continue with us for chapters 4 & 5.


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



Today we are dividing this chapter into 3 sections


The Temptation of Jesus v. 1-13:

Remember from chapter 3 we know that the last thing Luke recorded of Jesus was His Baptism.

Now we have a very different situation.

To some this will probably seem like a very well-known passage but as we found from the previous few chapters we can never say this as sometimes we are only thinking of one version from one Gospel and each Gospel may have a unique take on the topic.


I am sure that every time we hear about this we hear people say or we think ourselves that Jesus was all alone in the wilderness.
Yes he was on his own if we think of human companionship but the first verse of this chapter tells us that He was not completely on His own.

verse 1-2a    (NKJV)
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,  
being tempted for forty days by the devil.

above is the NKJV which states that the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness but the NASB below states that the Spirit led Jesus around the wilderness

verse 1-2a    (NASB)
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness 
for forty days, being tempted by the devil.

Jesus was never alone - He always had the Holy Spirit with Him

The fellowship within the Godhead has always been of utmost importance.


The devil could have said anything to Jesus, he could have tempted Him in any way but Jesus being man was not one that the devil was trying to tempt.

The devil was trying to tempt Jesus the Son of God.

There was never going to be a doubt about the outcome because Jesus, part of the Triune God, was never going to be tempted by the devil.  Jesus may have allowed the devil to talk to Him and to try to make Him turn His back on the Father but he never had a chance of breaking up the Trinity.

There are three verses here which show us how to resist the devil






Notice the  "It is written..."









Notice the  "For it is written..."








Notice the  "It has been said..."


What God has already written or said is settled, is truth and is the foundation for us to rely on when we are tempted because we are not God we are human but thankfully we can depend on God's faithfulness in that His Word never changes just as He never changes.


The devil could say nothing more.



Public Ministry of Jesus in Galilee v. 14-15:


Immediately we have an important statement giving the reason for the future events.

verse 14a
Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee

He began teaching  -  oh that all the preaching we hear today would be done in the power of the Spirit.
What was the result of this teaching?

verse 15    (NKJV)
And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

verse 15    (NASB)
And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.



Public Ministry of Jesus in Nazareth v. 16-30:

He went from Galilee to Nazareth, where He had grown up, went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and read from the book of Isaiah a section which was actually about Himself.

Then in verse 23  he spoke of Capernaum.

He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ” 

Luke has not already mentioned Jesus in Capernaum.

So what was he referring to?

Well Capernaum was in Galilee  (see verse 31)  so it must have been a reference to just before this while Jesus had taught in the synagogues in Galilee.

Obviously He had been well accepted in Capernaum, Galilee and people had talked about Him and the people of Nazareth had heard about this.


So then we have the famous verse which you can hear many people mention today.

verse 24
Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.

He went on to tell them examples in the Old Testament where things happened when Elijah and Elisha were present in places other than their own towns and countries.

God works where He wills to work and also where the Spirit of God is recognised and accepted.






Jesus Casts Out An Unclean Spirit v. 31-37:

Back to Capernaum in Galilee and we witness the first miracle recorded by Luke.

Jesus taught in the synagogue, people were amazed at His teaching and they recognised His authority.

But something else also recognised that authority He had.  A man with an unclean spirit shouted out in recognition of Jesus as the Holy one of God and was scared that Jesus had come to destroy them - which sounded like there were other spirits either in this man or in others.

What was Jesus' reaction?

verse 35
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him.

There was no hesitation from Jesus to give a command on hearing the spirit but there was also no hesitation by the unclean spirit to obey on hearing Jesus.

The authority of Jesus was recognised and had to be obeyed because He was God.

It also made a good impression on the people

verse 36
Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”


because again they were spreading the word about Jesus.


Simon Peter's Mother-in-law and Others are Healed  v. 38-44:

This is the first time Simon Peter is mentioned in Luke's Gospel - no mention of the disciples yet.

His mother-in-law had a high fever and they asked Jesus to help her.

verse 39
So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them.

I noticed 3 things here

1.  It says nothing about Jesus touching her
2.  Jesus rebuked the fever
3.  The fever went
4.  She was better immediately, back to her normal self

And I love the mention of her serving them, not because she was doing what many would see as a "woman's job in the home"  but because that action was the proof of immediate healing.


People knew what power Jesus had and brought others to be healed and set free from evil spirits.

Did the people realise He was the Son of God?
We don't know because they did not say it but we do know the demons did.


In finishing this chapter we have the first mention of Jesus going off to a secluded place.

We also have His Words in

  verse 43
but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”

telling the people that His purpose was to preach the Kingdom of God.







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




The First Disciples v. 1-11:



Jesus is at the Lake of Gennesaret (also known as the Sea of Galilee) so He is still in Galilee.

Here he meets Simon again and uses his boat to get out from the shore because of the crowds of people.  It says here that he sat down and began to teach the people from the boat.

After that Jesus tells Simon to go out further to the deeper part of the Lake and let down his nets. They had fished all night and caught nothing so we would expect Simon not to want to go again however Simon says

verse 5b    (NKJV)
nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.

verse 5b    (NASB)
but I will do as You say and let down the nets.

Simon had already seen the effect that Jesus had on his mother-in-law and others so I presume he reckoned Jesus was one who they may not understand but had proven Himself to be worth obeying.

They caught so much fish the nets were going to break.

They got help from the other boat that was with them and in the end both of the boats were filled with more fish than they really could hold because it says in verse 7b
And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.

This is when Simon realised the power Jesus had and he said

verse 8b
“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”

Then we meet James and John who were in the other boat and we are told they were also amazed.

This is where the term fishers of men came from and the call of the first 4 disciples.

But only 3 fishermen were named in this passage.
Why do we say 4 were called here?

There is no other name noted but we do know that another person was in the boat with Peter because verses 6 & 7 both refer to they and not just Simon. 

Matthew 4 v 18  tells of 4 fishermen being called as disciples and here it says Simon Peter & Andrew his brother and verse 21 names James and John.

Mark  1 v 16 - 20  has almost the identical story to Matthew

The Gospel of John however does not mention this at all.




Jesus Heals a Leper  v. 12-16:

A leper recognises the Lordship of Jesus because he falls at His feet and says in

verse 12
“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Jesus responds by saying in

verse 13
“I am willing; be cleansed.”






News was spreading fast and many were gathering around Him but He also needed to be alone at times

verse 16
So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

Even Jesus often went to pray.



Even Jesus often went to pray




Jesus Forgives & Heals a Paralytic  v. 17-26:


Here we have the well-known story of the four friends who carried the paralysed man to the house to see Jesus and could not get in because of the crowd of people.  They carried their friend up to the roof, removed part of the roof and lowered the man on his mat down into the house.

What are the things that seem to be important here?


1.  Faith  -  verse 20  -  Jesus said
When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”
2.  Accusations  -  verse 21  -  Scribes & Pharisees said
“Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
3.  Forgiveness  -  verse 22-24  -  Jesus said
“Why are you reasoning in your hearts?  
23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?  
24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

4.  Healing  -  verse 25  -  by Jesus
Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

4.  Worship  -  verse 26  -  by the crowd
And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”

Notice all were good things except for the accusations by the pious leaders.

The crowd even though they thought these happenings were strange still gave the glory to God.

We should glorify God even when we don't fully understand but can see the goodness of what He is doing.






We should always glorify God


Matthew the Tax Collector  v. 27-32:


Previously fishermen had just left their nets and followed Jesus now we have a Tax Collector leaving his tax office to follow Jesus.

I wonder what other people thought as they watched him walk away with Jesus considering the way they would have felt about tax collectors.

Jesus and the disciples went for a meal at Matthew's home only to receive more accusations from the Scribes and Pharisees.

Jesus' response in verses 31-32 was probably not what they would have expected because they did not understand forgiveness & redemption.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  
32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

Of course they also did not understand that we are all sinners.






We are all sinners


Jesus is Questioned about Fasting  v. 33-39:


Yet again we have the Scribes and Pharisees with something to say.

Do they change the subject because they didn't really understand the answer they got to their other question?

They want to compare Jesus to John the Baptist or at least they say the disciples of each of them.

So Jesus tells them a parable about a new material and an old garment and new wine and old wine skins.

This appears to be the first parable that Luke relates to us.
Not a parable for the people, not a parable for the disciples but a parable for the accusers.









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






Wednesday, 4 December 2019

The Gospel of Luke - Chapters 2 & 3



Disclaimer:
There may be an affiliate link in this blog post.


What do we read about in the second & third 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 do so at least on each of the Sundays, Wednesdays and on the 24th.


If you missed The Overview and first chapter please click HERE to read about that and then come back to continue with us for chapters 2 & 3.



Let's look at the Second Chapter of Luke.



The Census  v. 1-5:

The first notable thing here is that we are clearly told under who's reign Jesus was born
Caesar Augustus
Caesar being the title (hence many times we read of Caesar in the Bible but we must not assume they are all the same one) and his name being Augustus.

Then we are clearly told that a man called Quirinius was the Governor in Syria which helps historians even more to determine the historical time for this important birth.

This clearly agrees with the facts we saw in the overview about Luke being methodical and chronological in his writings.

Joseph and Mary have to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for a census to be conducted and this is a large census which in verse 1 is described as being worldwide - obviously the area of the world ruled by the Romans.    
I felt the fact that Mary having to go with Joseph, even though she was not yet married to him, was an indication of the significance of engagement which in our day and age does not hold as much importance any more.


Jesus' Birth in Bethlehem  v. 6-7:


This was one of the most significant parts of this chapter for me.

Only 2 verses to tell about the birth of Jesus.
Yet within them we know 

1.  it happened in Bethlehem
2.  it was during the census time
3.  this baby was her first-born son
4.  the baby was wrapped in cloths
5.  the baby was placed in a manger for a bed
6.  the family were not in the proper accommodation we would normally use.

No other superfluous information but the basic facts.




The Birth is Announced to the Shepherds v. 8-20:

The first people to hear about the birth are the shepherds and they are treated in a special manner being told by an angel.  

Here we have one of the well-known statements of Christmas in verses 10-12 

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.


They were given the special message that needs to be not only thought about each Christmas but also throughout the year as it is Gospel there in verse 10

The gospel is "good news of great joy" and it is meant to be for all people.





Notice in verse 11  we are told the baby is "Christ the Lord"  - the earliest acknowledgement of His title which in the Greek means "chosen one" or "anointed one" and the word for this in Hebrew gives us the title of Messiah.

However not only was one angel sent but then a multitude of angels come to sing praises unto God.

and in verse 14  the multitude of angels say "on earth be peace among men"  another of the most used phrases of Christmas.







The shepherds are instructed not to be afraid in verse 10  and when the angels leave they do show they are not afraid by going straight away to look for the baby.

they find the baby 
verse 16

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

just as they had been instructed in verse 12 as can be seen above and this is the link up with         verse 7 where even though the event of the birth was so briefly described it did include the mention of the manger.

The shepherds then were the first to present the Good News of Jesus to the people in  verses 17-18


I love the mother's heart in verse 19
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.


Do we ponder the words like Mary did?




Jesus Presented at the Temple  v. 21-40:


Luke now tells us about the presentation of Jesus at the temple after He had been named Jesus as the angel Gabriel had said and He had been circumcised as the custom was.

verses 23 & 24  give us the reason for the trip to the temple in Jerusalem - to offer the sacrifice for the first-born being Holy unto God.


There were two other events while in the temple that were important enough for Luke to recount them here.

The meeting with Simeon
Simeon was righteous & devout and the Holy Spirit was upon him  - verse 25
The Holy Spirit had told him he would not die before seeing the Christ  -  verse 26
He took the baby in his arms, blessed God and gave us the great words of
verse 30
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation

The meeting with Anna
Anna was a prophetess  - verse 36
Anna was a widow verse 37
Anna was 84 years old verse 37
Anna spent all her days in the temple, serving, praying & fasting verse 37
Anna gave thanks to God as soon as she saw the baby -  verse 38
Anna witnessed to all those seeking for the Messiah -  verse 38


Lots of info on these two people from the factual accounts of Luke but also so much to continue to ponder over and follow their examples.


Not a lot is ever told about Jesus in his younger days but do we really need much more than this verse?

verse 40
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.




Feast of the Passover at Jersusalem  v. 41-52:

They went to Jerusalem to the feast every year according to  verse 41

But when Jesus was 12 there was a difference in His visit; he was no longer the young child constantly in his parent's eyesight and company but now was off to do what he felt called to do.

We are not told of any year after this being significant but I believe that is because the rest of them were all like this one in that Jesus was as verse 49 tells us
 about His Father's business


Even though Jesus knew what He had to do with His life it did not mean that He treated His parents differently and considered Himself to be wiser than they, He was still obedient and respectful of them as we see in verses 51-52

51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Again notice those sayings of Jesus were kept in His mother's heart.






  
I really feel that in Luke's account of chapter 2 we have 
 the reason why Jesus was born

 and 

the "great joy for all" being made more important

 than the details of the actual birth.




Already there has been so much said that we should all be pondering these things in our hearts just as Mary did.







Let's look at the Third Chapter of Luke.



John The Baptist Preaches v. 1 - 18:


Again in the first 2 verses we are given dates, reigns and locations
1.  The precise time in history -  15th year of Tiberius Caesar  (note a different Caesar from before)
2.  Governor of Judea was Pontius Pilate
3.  Herod was Tetrarch of Galilee - a Tetrarch was the governor of one of four divisions pf a country or province in the Roman Empire
4.  Herod's brother Philip was Tetrarch of another region
5.  Lysanias was Tetrarch of another region
6.  Annas and Caiaphas were High Priests.


This was a distinct time when John heard from God and he went into the district around the River Jordan preaching and baptising for repentance and forgiveness of sin.  verses 2-3


Luke also in verses 4-6 makes sure we know this was in fulfilment of a prophecy by Isaiah.


John was straight with the people and clearly showed them what they needed to do  verses 7-14 

This made some people wonder if John was the Christ - the Messiah everyone had been waiting for.
However He portrayed the difference between him and Jesus in

verses 15-17
15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.


John is imprisoned v. 19 - 20:

For the personality of Luke, being a methodical and chronological person, as we have seen previously, this took me by surprise to see that he then relates about Herod putting John in prison because of the pricking of Herodias' conscience.  She had been married to Philip who was Herod's brother but was now married to Herod. 
Chronologically he should have put in the next section before this one because it obviously happened before he was imprisoned.



Jesus is Baptized v. 21 - 22:

We are given only two verses here with regards to the baptism of Jesus.
Within those verses Luke makes sure to highlight the Holy Spirit at work here but does not include the preamble between John and Jesus that other Gospels do.

But then surely he has brought our attention to exactly who Jesus is in verse 22  -  God's beloved Son

I have thought a few times previously about the difference in the relaying of the words at this time between the four Gospel writers.


Matthew 3 v 17




Mark 1 v 11




Luke 3 v 22
and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.


John 1 v 34
And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

Which of the four accounts do we hear most often?

Matthew's

Yet this one is the only one that uses the words that infer God spoke to the people about Jesus whereas Mark and Luke both use the words that infer God was talking to Jesus directly.

As you can see above I have made bible verse graphics of both the Matthew and the Mark verses and it was when I made the second of these that the difference struck me.   I feel that all my life I have only really heard the Matthew version yet none else wrote it in the same way and in fact 2 of them wrote it differently.



Genealogy of Jesus v. 23 - 38:


Now we see the history and lineage of Jesus.

We go back from Jesus to Adam.

Just WOW!

Makes me want to do a timeline between them but that would be so time-consuming and I'm sure others have already done this.

So I did a little search and found that Answers in Genesis have a  Bible-Timeline
We visited the Creation Museum and The Ark 2 years ago so now I'm thinking why did I not think to buy their timeline then because it is not available in their British store. 

If I ever do find time to try out making a timeline I'll share it somehow on the blog.





In my blog post for the First Day in the Book of Acts  I made the following statement

We have a lot to learn from Luke.

then I also stated

And we have a lot to be thankful to Luke for.

followed by

Makes you think even before you start reading the story.


When I did the Overview and ch. 1 of Luke I then I said


       Makes you think as soon as you start reading the story.


Now I guess I am going to be saying


       Makes me think the whole way through the book of Luke.







Makes me think the whole way through the book of Luke.





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







Tuesday, 3 December 2019

SSHH Don't Wake The Baby! - Christmas Children's Book Review


Disclaimer:
There may be an affiliate link on this blogpost.

It's Christmas time again and it's Christmas Book Review time.

Today it is a book for young children about the real focus of Christmas.








We have always felt that books are very special to our family and share a love of reading but now that Fred and I have got to the "grandparent stage" we are once again looking at, buying and reading books that are suitable for the "0 - 5 years" age group.


So when I heard about this title and the fact that these books can be got cheaply - more about that later I - and knew the people who were recommending them were reliable (very important!) I was quick to tell my friend at church and if you read on you will find out what that resulted in.






Well back to testing out the book.

If a book is meant for that young age group then it should be tested with children of that age.

We have 3 grandchildren Matthew just turned 4 at the start of last month, Ruby 2 yrs 5 months and Sarah 10 weeks old, all of whom fall in this age group.

Unfortunately Sarah was fast asleep when we arrived back with Matthew to his mum and dad from having a sleepover at our house so we did not lift her out of the cot to disturb her but it will not be long before she is on Nanny or Granddad's knee as we read other stories to them all.


(I forgot to get a picture of Sarah in her cot asleep but here is one from a few days previously when she was asleep in my arms.)





So you can see this book was very apt for Matthew and Ruby because of baby Sarah and Yes even though we were reading the book together and mum & dad were chatting & laughing in the kitchen we didn't wake Baby Sarah.



We had cuddled into the big corner of our son & daughter-in-law's sofa in their living room where we always go in their house to read our storybooks together.



Ruby gets very serious when she is looking at a new book and always seems like she is trying to take in everything on the pages.






At first I think Matthew thought maybe this book was better suited to Ruby's age than to his but it wasn't too long until he was sitting forward to see the great illustrations.






At one stage you have to turn the book round in a circle to read the spiral writing and this really got Matthew's attention






 plus he then decided that he needed to check something from the previous pages before he would let me continue reading.







The book goes back and forth between referring to a baby in the family and the baby Jesus and this did not confuse either Matthew or Ruby at all.






We have a saying in our family - one which was started by our children when they were young
"No Hugging, No Kissing!" they would shout when Fred and I would get too close to each other - and it is still chanted all these years later.

So we laughed when we got to this page






The book was just a nice length for Ruby who was very attentive the whole way through.







Matthew however was a bit sad that it wasn't longer and didn't want me to close it after I read the final words.






The book is a lovely size (6ins x 6ins)  for slipping into a handbag or for little hands like Ruby's to hold.


There is also a hardback version of the book which is approximately 9ins by 9ins but I have not seen this in person.  It would be an ideal size and a sturdier type book for using to read to a group of children.


Here you can see the back cover of the book






So back to the point where I had told my friend in church about this book BEFORE I even had a copy. 

In fact the copy I had for this review was given to me by her because once she had looked it up on the website she just felt it was the right book to get for our church to give to all the children who come to our "Sonshine Club" each Tuesday (our Mums & Tots group).

She ordered 60 books to have today for our Christmas Party and because this book focuses in on Jesus as a baby and the special reason for this baby it is an ideal gift for the children to learn about Jesus, the true reason of Christmas and also for the mums and dads and grannies and granddads who sit cuddled up with the little ones they love and read of the love of God at Christmas.







Now what would be the point in me telling you about this beautiful book which would make an ideal gift for any young child if I did not tell you where to get it.

This book is written by Helen Buckley and illustrated by Jenny Brake and can be ordered from  10 of Those  a company which sell many of their books at great discounts in fact if you order now there is something like 40% off the retail price.

This company also sell some books in large quantities and when these were bought for our church event we got them for only £1 each.


So Deciding thought on this book?

Yes it's a big Tick from me and Fred and the grandkids.






Please note the book is not available through Amazon.co.UK or  .Com however you can find other books by the same author on Amazon HERE






Disclaimer:
I have NOT been offered a free product to write this blog post nor any other compensation.  
The views expressed here are completely my own.

However if  you buy an item through Amazon having clicked the link above I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.