Tag Archives: Luke

Attitudes of a Christian

Jesus turned and asked the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law of Moses, “Is it right to heal on the Sabbath?”

…If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored. (Lk.14:3,11 CEV)

Religious people are often legalistic and judgmental in their attitudes towards others. They like to define rules and explain commandments to others than following it themselves. Pharisees of Jesus’ time did the same thing. Jesus rebuked them.

Don’t be Legalistic

Jesus being invited for dinner by the prominent Pharisee was under their keen observation. When the man with swollen limbs stood before Him He realized that and asked them whether it was permissible to heal on the Sabbath according to the Law. The Jewish Law forbid them from doing any work on the Sabbath day as it was a day set apart for their God. They could not answer Jesus and he went ahead and healed the man. Jesus nailed it on the legalistic Pharisee’s head when He asked whether they would try to save their child or animal that fell into a pit on the Sabbath day. Sabbath was in honor of the Lord and honor God through whatever you do on that day.

Don’t be Selfish

The guests at the dinner were vying for the best seating positions that would make them look prominent and important. Jesus tells them not to aim at high positions which are beyond themselves. They may be humiliated if they are asked to give room for someone else. But if the host feels that you deserve a better place and invites you to move up it will be an honor.

There are people who deliberately employ this principle with selfish motive. They act humble and polite with the intention that others will notice it. But their actual aim is to grab the position without being labeled cunning or crooked. This is worse than the former. Let God honor you and not people because people’s honor is temporary while God’s reward is eternal.

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Apostles, Messengers and Workers

Now go, but remember, I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. Don’t take along a moneybag or a traveling bag or sandals. And don’t waste time greeting people on the road. As soon as you enter a home, say, “God bless this home with peace.” If the people living there are peace-loving, your prayer for peace will bless them. But if they are not peace-loving, your prayer will return to you. (Luke 10:3-6 CEV)

These days, Christian ministers and workers are competing to establish their influence and popularity among the masses. The Largest church in town, the fastest growing church, and what not. They enrich their people so much that they are spiritually obese and become so cult-like, almost worshiping their leader. They become so closed to the people of the world. There are some who take up on themselves big titles, like Apostle, Patriarch, Bishop, and so on, to show their superiority. But Jesus tells us to forget about ourselves and labor for His kingdom.

Pray for Workers, but you too go

Jesus before commissioning His disciples told them to pray for more laborers to do the harvesting. There is always a scarcity of laborers in His field. The Lord of the harvest has to commission more laborers into His field before the crops are lost. Then He sends us to do our part. Because the harvest is too large for a few churches or denominations or organizations can handle.

Don’t worry about your needs or future

He tells specifically not to carry any money, personal goods or items of comfort when you are out in the field. This is a little difficult for us to digest, but the principle is that God will take care of you and your needs. ‘Seek first His kingdom…and all these things will be given’ is the promise of the Master. But how often we try to secure our own position and our future forgetting the fact that it is He who holds our lives and our future?

He has made it pretty clear that He is sending us like sheep into a pack of wolves. And yet tells us we need not be concerned about our maintenance or safety, because He will take care of that.

Announce God’s peace, proclaim God’s kingdom

Don’t waste time on they way greeting and entertaining others but go straight into your business. Announce God’s peace up on the family and people you meet and tell them about the kingdom that is so near so that they can enter in. As you give the message, heal their sick and exhibit the love, compassion and the power of the King who sent you. You are the messengers of God’s peace. God’s peace will rest on those who welcome it and will leave those who reject it.

Accept hospitality

Wherever you are welcomed, minister to the people there, accept their hospitality. The worker deserves his wages. God provides through His people who are willing to share.

In doing the ministry we are workers and servants of the King, carrying the message of the kingdom and sent out with the King’s authority. The least among us will be the greatest in the kingdom.

Height of Humiliation

The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him. At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. “If you are the Christ,” they said, “tell us.” (Lk.22:63-67)

Jesus gave Himself into the hands of the religionists and allowed Himself to be ill treated by His own creation.

God Emptying Himself of His Glory

Jesus was the very God who stepped out of eternity to enter time. The ‘infinite one’ willingly limited Himself by time and space. His own creation insulted Him. The one who opened the eyes of others was blind folded and beaten up. The ‘omniscient one’ was asked to name the soldier who slapped Him. When they arrested Him in the garden, at the mention of His name they fell backwards. But, He gave Himself into their hands to be offered as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world”.

Men Blinded by their Religious Fervor

Though they had the prophecies about the Savior, the religious authorities could not see beyond His humanity. They took His words as blasphemy, His miracles as works of demonic spirits. Still they are asking Him whether He is the ‘Son of God’, not for their own confirmation, but to use as evidence against Him. Jesus gave indirect answers because He knew they would not believe.

However, to those who believe, He is the glorious king and the ultimate judge, seated prominently with God the Father.

Disowning the Master

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” (Lk.22:54-56)

There are times in the life of every Christian when he/she is tempted, tried and pulled apart by circumstances. During these dark hours, our closeness to the Savior alone can keep us from disowning Him.

Following at a distance

Peter was grieved and terrified at the arrest of Jesus. Those were moments of confusion. Everyone ran to safety. Peter followed at a distance.

Following Jesus at a ‘safe’ distance will be more disastrous than following Him closely. When we try to protect ourselves, we land in danger. If we lose our lives for His sake we will save it, said Jesus.

Warmth of the World

The fire place was an ideal one to keep himself warm while watching the events. But the company among which you seek this warmth can be the wrong one. There is the challenge of being identified and picked out as a follower of the Lord Jesus. That could be the worse place for being a witness for the Master.

Effective Prayer

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Lk.22:42-44)

Jesus set an example for the Christian to follow, even in his prayer. Through prayer Jesus remained constantly connected to the Father in heaven.

Praying His heart out

Jesus knew the purpose of His coming into the world and He was very much focused in His life and mission. Yet, He prayed this agonizing prayer before those crucial moments. Not because He was scared of pain and suffering (as some interpret), but because of the experience of the actual judgment of sin – separation from God. It was that separation from the Father, though for a short while, that agonized Him.

Experiencing Heaven’s Backing

Even at the height of anguish Jesus submitted Himself to the will of the Father. He was stuck to His commitment to save the sinful mankind. At this point, as at a few other occasions, He received the heavenly support. He always had the angels at His command, but for the while He willingly set aside His glory. Here, the service of the angel demonstrated the backing of Heaven in His mission.

God the Father takes notice of the agonizing, earnest prayer of a child of God, and assures him/her of the backing of heaven in the pressing concerns he/she carries.

The Turn Around

As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Lk.21:1-4)

Jesus had to face skeptics, traditionalists and opponents. They challenged His claims and His authority. The question that plagued them all was “who is Jesus?” Is He really the Messiah from God or just another guru?

Pre-existent God

Jesus made it clear that He was the very God, who was before the creation. He pre-existed all their great patriarchs and forefathers. God promised that the throne of David will be for ever and the Messianic King will reign from that throne. Jesus was the son of David but is He the Messianic King?

Who is Jesus? This is the question, not just the Jews, but every human being has to face. Is He just another religious teacher or the Savior from God. Our answer to this question determines our destiny. It will also alter the course of our lives.

Transformed Lives

Once convinced about the Deity of Jesus Christ and committed to His Lordship our lives will take a ‘U’ turn. Our motives and intentions change drastically. Personal agenda will take the back seat and unlike the religionists of Jesus’ day we will shun publicity and self promotion.

Like the widow who offered the two coins, our lifestyle will reflect our devotion to God. It is not how much we offer to God but how much we keep for ourselves that counts. Honoring God is expensive affair. We must be prepared to give up and give away for the sake of honoring God. Our devotion must be visible to Jesus rather than to people.

Researching to Refute

The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” (Lk.20:19-22)

There were (and there are) people who denied the deity of Jesus and rejected His authority. Some do it directly and others masquerade. They have tried in vain to disprove His claims.

Jesus’ Authority

Jesus always taught with authority unlike the religious teachers. He had authority over life and death since He was the author of life. His words provoked His enemies to anger and hatred. They wanted to eliminate Him and tried to trap Him in their wisdom. The Scripture says, God traps the wise in their wisdom (1Cor.3:19).

Jesus has influenced more lives than any other person, government or authority in history. The self-righteous religious leaders of His day were annoyed by the increasing influence of Jesus and their own diminishing hold on the people. Jesus exposed the hypocrisy and untruthful life of these leaders. However, He recognized the political systems and governments and advocated paying our dues to the authorities.

Critics’ Ignorance

Enemies come with tricky questions to trap Jesus. He reveals their ignorance about the things of God and silences them. Followers of Jesus face the same situation and God empowers them with His Word and wisdom to face these challenges. Man can never thwart the purposes of God and the advancement of God’s kingdom.

Faith That Opens Our Eyes

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. (Lk.18:38-42)

After discussing about eternal life Jesus pointed to the means by which eternal life was going to be provided-His own substitutionary death. This was beyond the comprehension of His disciples.

Atoning Death

The prophets foretold about the atoning death of the Savior whom God would send. Thus the Jewish people were awaiting the coming of the Savior. Yet they could not comprehend their Savior as a humble servant who would be assaulted and put to death by the Roman authorities. This was contrary to their concept of the Savior. But the focal point of the whole episode was His resurrection on the third day.

Eye-opening Faith

The blind man near Jericho had heard about all what Jesus had done and He was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah who has come “…to preach good news to the poor. …to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Lk.4:18-19; Isa.61:1-2) Jesus responded to his faith by doing what he badly wanted. He had seen the Savior with the eyes of faith and that made even his physical eyes to open up.

Is Prayer Losing its Power?

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Lk.18:7-8)

Prayer has become too casual and common these days that it is nothing more than a ritual that gives some kind of a psychological satisfaction. Jesus told two parables pointing at two vital parameters of effective prayer. 

Persistent Prayer 

The wicked judge decided to give justice to the one who was knocking at his door unashamedly. She was persistent and wouldn’t give up. Her was confident that the judge will take action, if not today definitely tomorrow. Her persistence was rewarded.

God being righteous and holy will be more eager to act on behalf of His children who persistently seek His His mercy. We should not give up, even if it is inconvenient and discouraging. Faith should be enduring. Jesus is warning us that as time advances there are chances of many people losing their faith itself.

Do we see this happening around us?

Repentant Prayer

In the second parable there is a self righteous pharisee and a tax collector. Pharisee was praying to the people in the Temple (he was boasting about his religiosity) while the tax collector was talking to God admitting his unworthiness. God is ready to listen to a repentant sinner than to the religious hypocrite.

Prayer is effective when the parameters are correct. God cannot answer a hypocrite and his prayer doesn’t meet God’s standard. Humility before God is reflected in repentance.

Reason For Joy

In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Lk.15:10)

We see two kinds of people around Jesus. First, those who love Him and want to follow Him. Second, those who doubt Him and want to pin Him down. It may appear as if there is a third group in between. But when it comes to a response to Jesus there could be no neutral position. You are either with Him or against Him. Jesus Himself said, “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” (Mat.12:30 NLT) The same applies to the crowds of today.

Those Drawing Closer

There were people who wanted to draw closer to Jesus, to hear His words of promise and assurance of salvation. They experienced the joy of being with their Lord and Master. They had obviously made up their minds to follow Him since they realized that Jesus was the Savior God had promised. This requires a definite decision to stake one’s life rather than being a casual devotee or a passive sympathizer.

Those Drifting Farther

The ones who doubt the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ are on the opposite team. They may not be radically challenging His authority but the end result is the same. They will be drifting away from the Savior and from His saving grace decision by decision, choice by choice, question by question, unless they are submissive in their spirit to the truth revealed. The religionists will search for reasons not to surrender themselves to His authority. They will be driven by their self righteous ego.

Lost and Found

In the story of the lost sheep and the lost coin, the shepherd or the owner is relentlessly searching for the lost one. We, like the lost sheep, went on our own ways and are lost. As the owner of our lives the Good Shepherd came searching. In our case, we need to respond to the Shepherd’s call. We need to realize that we are lost and unable to find our way home. We need to acknowledge that the Good Shepherd alone can save us and bring us back home. No one else has come seeking the lost in order to save them. We must be willing to be a sheep in His fold and obey Him hereafter.

Reason For Joy

Are you still a lost sheep or has the Good Shepherd found you? If the Good Shepherd has saved you, you had been the reason for joy in heaven. As the sheep of His fold the Good Shepherd has given us the task of seeking and ‘saving’ other lost sheep, by bringing them to the Good Shepherd. We can thus cause joy in heaven as well as in those lives.