The Gospel According to Luke
The Pharisees ask Jesus about the timing of the arrival of God’s Kingdom on earth that He has been talking about. Jesus response to this question in the gospels is always the same: No one can know the timing, but it will happen suddenly, without warning, that is, without further warning than the one he continually gives: be ready today. In our eating, drinking, getting married, buying, selling, planting, building, sleeping, and milling, are we also praying: “Lord let your kingdom come!”
Rich Man and Lazarus, Servants and Lepers
This week, we’ll look at a perplexing parable about a master, a manager, and money. The details are confusing to our modern understanding of business, but Jesus’s message is clear nonetheless. The problem that Jesus was pointing out was that we, like the disciples and the Pharisees, don’t know what money is really for, and we forget who it really belongs to. When we see how Jesus uses this parable to instruct the disciples and rebuke the Pharisees, we’ll gain great insight into God’s economics. How does he want us to use “our” money?
After Jesus’s crucifixion and burial, even the apostles were devastated and confused, going only by what they could see. Their entire world was crashing around them, or so they thought. When Jesus finally does show up on that first Easter morning, the surprising ways he reveals himself to his despairing flock can teach us much about what we need from him today.
Jesus was frequently accused of being friends with the worst sinners in society. The outcasts. The untouchables. And the accusations were true. So he opens wide the heart of God in an astonishing trio of parables, including his best known one, the Prodigal Son. This Sunday from Luke 15 we will seek to have hearts full of gratitude, for God has diligently and actively sought us out in the gospel story. And we will seek to have great joy, for God joyfully loves and welcomes us.
The way of a disciple of Jesus—the life and heart of a disciple—is not intuitive due to our sinful tendencies and the world’s influences, but it is beautiful and glorious. This Sunday in our sermon we will examine Jesus’ surprising words as he calls us to be true disciples.
What is the purpose of the Sabbath? In Luke 13-14, Jesus confronts the Pharisees’ answer to this question and will similarly challenge our preconceived notions about how God goes about his work and what his kingdom work looks like in this world.
In our passage this week, Jesus tells us to think forward to judgement day, The Day of The Lord, The Return of Christ, and teaches us something remarkable: Christians never need to fear death, because they never die. He confronts us with a question: Are you ready for that judgement day? Or are you living like it’s not coming?
The natural way to look at life is from a short-term, temporary view, and when this is connected to the topic of money, two outcomes result: greed and worry. In this passage from Luke 12, Jesus calls us to an eternal and heavenly-minded view that leads to something glorious: a contented and peace-filled life that centers its trust in our great God and Father.
In this week’s sermon, we look at a scene in which a question about washing up before a meal provokes a seemingly very harsh response from Jesus. But you stack up everything Luke has recorded the Pharisees and Lawyers saying so far in the gospel account, the response makes much more sense. Why does Jesus respond this way to the Pharisees? Because of the way they have been responding to the Messiah, and treating God’s children. We’ll look at ways we can be just like the Pharisees and Lawyers, and more importantly, we’ll look at our great savior who offers mercy, healing, forgiveness, and love.
From our passage, we will learn of the simplicity and beauty of following Jesus: whoever hears and obeys him will have God’s rich blessings upon us. And there is no middle ground, for we are either for him or against him.
Following Jesus often involves boldness. Mary makes the bold choice to sit at Jesus’ feet and pursue Him rather than bend to cultural and family pressures. And Jesus teaches us to be bold and persistent in prayer. Followers of Jesus should sometimes keep pressing in prayer, even when the initial answer seems to be “no.”
In our sermon text this Sunday we will read the parable of the Good Samaritan, and the purpose and meaning behind the story may surprise us. However, an application from the story may not surprise us: that God would empower us through the gospel to show Good Samaritan type of compassion, even to someone who may not like us. How can we prepare ourselves in the Spirit for opportunities—expected or unexpected—to show life-giving compassion?
In this section we see the 72 return excited by what they have seen and done. Jesus corrects their view to see what their greatest joy should be.
A life of following Jesus is a life on an exciting but difficult mission. This week we will see Jesus setting the example for us in proclaiming the good news about the kingdom. He sets the expectation for us that we will not only get to see God working powerfully, miraculous providence, and lives healed and changed, but we will also suffer rejection, loneliness, separation from the rest of the world, hardship, and danger. Following Jesus is a serious and weighty task. But when he calls us, and we follow, we will get to see the kingdom of God come near, and what could be better than that?
Having our ideas challenged is hard. Studies show that when an idea is presented to us that goes against our current understanding, our brains treat the situation same way we treat a physical or emotional threat. We feel like we’re in danger! This week, we’ll read about three times the disciples had their understanding corrected by Jesus, but they are unable to “get it.” Their unwillingness to change, and their fear to ask, will show us things about ourselves, and what it takes to learn and grow in our walk with Jesus.
What awaits us after we die? Is there life beyond the grave? In one of the more unusual events in Scripture, Jesus’ earthly body is glorified in blazing light—he is transfigured—and then Moses and Elijah appear with him. This unique experience points us today to the glory of Christ in heaven, strengthens our faith in all that Christ did and will do, and increases our hope in God’s promised resurrection life for us after death.
This week we will examine the one glimpse the Bible gives us of Jesus’s childhood. That he sought to learn in the temple. That he “grew” in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man, has spoiled many formulas of theologians throughout the ages. God, incarnate, had to learn and grow! As we explore this mystery, we learn some encouraging things about our faith.
In this week’s passage, we are introduced to two faithful Israelites: Simeon and Anna, both of whom had spent their life waiting for the promised redeemer, God’s Messiah. Unlike the Pharisees who were trying to bring about the Messiah’s arrival through their good works, the Sanhedrin who had capitulated to Roman politics, the zealots who were trying to liberate Israel by force, or the Essenes who withdrew from engaging the world at all, these two faithful believers trusted God’s promises in his timing, and so found themselves in a position to meet and receive the Messiah at his arrival. The parallels for us today are obvious.
The time of John the Baptist’s birth were days of wonder and praise, for after 400 year of silence from heaven God powerfully visited his people. Like a psalmist, Zechariah sang praises to God, declaring the mighty attributes of God and his Son and prophesying about events that would soon shake the world. This Sunday we will read of these extraordinary days and the fullness of God through his Son, learning that through this we can love him and trust him more.
This Sunday we will be looking at Mary’s response to God’s promise and we will ask the question “How do we respond to God’s Promises?
The wise King Solomon, having understood and experienced many things, and blessed by God with great wisdom, makes a simple observation that we can all resonate with: “A deferred hope makes the heart sick.” – In our passage this week, we will watch a faithful Israelite couple have two of their deepest, deferred hopes suddenly fulfilled. Their reaction can give us great insight about ourselves, and point us to an unshakeable hope that will never fail us.
For us today, we say, “Jesus the Messiah has already come.” But for centuries prior to that history-making day, the people were in high anticipation. This Sunday three of our pastors will have a panel discussion examining many of the remarkable Old Testament prophecies of the advent– the coming– of Jesus.