Second Verse Same as the First

Today’s reading is Luke 14.

This sounds familiar, doesn’t it. Jesus talks about setting loose an ox or a donkey (according to some manuscripts, a son) on the Sabbath and recognizing that implies healing on the Sabbath is lawful. I have no doubt there is some literary reason for repeating this principle so close to the story we read in last week’s chapter. Someone somewhere has likely figured out how this section of Luke is a chiasm or some other literary structure that is really profound and reveals some amazing point. I’m not quite that smart. What I recognize is that I often have to have even the simplest of lessons repeated for me to get it. This is perhaps the biggest reason we need to keep reading our Bibles. It is not a one and done walk through. Even if we did learn everything we could possibly learn our one time through, we forget. We need reminders. We don’t fully get it. We need emphasis and repetition. Keep reading, keep learning, keep reinforcing. Repetition, repetition, repetition. That is the key to growth.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 14.

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Today’s reading is Luke 13.

Many today suggest finding authorization through the implication of Scripture is cheating. It isn’t really authority, they say. I get it, implication is not as easy as finding an actual statement or example. With implication it takes more work to make sure we are truly being biblical because we are claiming something is authorized that isn’t specifically told or shown. But notice how Jesus knows He is allowed to heal the disabled woman on the Sabbath. He doesn’t know it because the Law ever explicitly says, “Thou shalt heal on the Sabbath.” Rather, untying a donkey or an ox on the Sabbath so it can get to the water is lawful. If it is lawful to loose animals, it is lawful to loose humans who are more valuable to God than animals. To restrict loosing the woman on the Sabbath is hypocrisy. That is, to restrict what is implied is hypocrisy. No, this doesn’t mean everything I like is authorized, but it does mean when we are teaching and acting in ways God implies in Scripture, we are teaching and acting in His name, not our own. In fact, it is the very principle Jesus Himself used. Keep studying. Keep learning. Keep following in the footsteps of Jesus.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 13.

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Replace the Spirits

Today’s reading is Luke 11.

While we are certainly supposed to put our sins to death, being a disciple is not about stopping behaviors. It is actually about replacing behaviors. If all we do is cast out the evil spirit, we can do our dead level best to sweep up the house and keep it in order, but that spirit will simply bring seven more. Nature abhors a vacuum. So does our very being. If all we strive to do is get rid of bad stuff in our lives, we will only ever find the bad stuff taking over. It’s like trying to make yourself not think about pink hippopotamuses. Jesus doesn’t verbalize the actual instruction when He offers the warning. But can there be any doubt what the instruction is? When the evil spirit is cast out, it needs to be replaced by the Holy Spirit. I can try with all my might to keep out the evil spirit, but if I don’t invite God in, allowing Him to take up residence, rearranging the furniture as He sees fit, controlling the remote, calling the shots, and filling the space with His presence, then all my attempts at control are nothing more than vacuuming the carpet as the tornado targets my house. Don’t evict the spirits, replace them. That is discipleship.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 11.

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Who Am I?

Today’s reading is Luke 9.

Don’t miss this. Peter’s good confession in Luke 9:20 is significant. We have heard it our whole lives and might be tempted to rush through it, thinking, “Oh yeah! I know this part.” But this is what the entire book of Luke is about. This is what all four of the gospels are about. We tend to read these gospels like modern biographies. We want to hear about the birth, what was going on in the world, a chronology of events, a precise accounting of conversations and actions, leading to the subjects death. We get confused when each of the gospels gives a differing presentation of some of those facts. They change the order of events. They don’t give exact records of the conversations. They don’t give all the details of everyone who was involved. And they even do that in some pretty significant places and events. Ancient biographers were not interested in that kind of presentation. I don’t just mean the Bible authors, I mean ancient biographers in general. The gospel authors were writing biography the same way the ancients did. Don’t misunderstand. They didn’t make stuff up. They didn’t lie. They didn’t invent the stories. But they were not interested in giving a detailed chronology of events, actions, and conversations. Their goal was not to explain what the subject of the biography did or what people did around him. Their goal was to explain who the subject of the biography is. Therefore, they crafted the events, actions, and conversations together to make that point. That is what these gospels are about. Each is written from a different perspective, with a different audience in mind, driving home a slightly different nuance of meaning. But each one is designed to prompt this one conclusion: Jesus is the Christ of God. He is the anointed Lord, Savior, King, Priest. Follow Him. Become like Him. Keep reading Luke and see how every event, every action, every conversations points to this one fact: Jesus is the Christ of God. Then believe it and have life in His name.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 9.

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More than Enough

Today’s reading is Luke 9.

I’ve never made the connection before. However, did you notice that Jesus sent the apostles out on what we often call the Limited Commission, telling them to take no supplies. They were simply to trust God would provide for them on the way. When they came back, they went out to a desolate place but the crowds followed them. Then Jesus fed the crowds miraculously from five loaves and two fish. When the miracle was over, the apostles picked up the leftovers and gathered a basket full of food for each one of them. What a message for the apostles. Through Jesus Christ, there is more than enough. I’ll be honest. I find it easier to live with a scarcity mindset than an abundance mindset. I find it easier to be anxious and worry about how I’m going to survive than trusting Jesus will provide. When I’m being honest, my real fear is not that Jesus won’t provide, but simply that He won’t continue providing the standard of living to which I’ve become accustomed. We need to see the lesson Jesus taught the apostles. Jesus didn’t promise life in the lap of luxury. He didn’t promise upper class living or even middle class living. He did, however, demonstrate He will provide more than enough. We can live without anxiety. We can live generously. He will provide.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 9.

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Faith has Saved You

Today’s reading is Luke 8.

When Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood, He said, “Your faith has made you well; go in peace.” What is fascinating is in Luke 7:50, when Jesus had demonstrated the forgiveness of the sinful woman, He said, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” We don’t see it in English, but in the original Greek, these are both the exact same sentence. This clarifies salvation. We often think of salvation as what happens at the end. That is, saved equals going to heaven. That is not true. Saved means being healed, being delivered from the sickness of sin. Certainly, those who are saved will go to heaven. But saved means having our sin sickness conquered. When I understand this, I recognize saved doesn’t mean going to heaven despite lingering in sin. I understand that saved means having victory over sin which leads to heaven. Certainly, the Bible demonstrates this is a growth process. However, let’s rejoice that God is not leaving us in our sins. He has healed us. He is healing us. He will heal us. Put your faith in Jesus, He heals, He saves. Praise the Lord!

Monday’s reading is Luke 9.

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Hope for the Gentiles

Today’s reading is Luke 8.

I know we are reading in Luke today, but Isaiah 65:1-7 is a fascinating passage. There, the Lord explained He was ready to be sought by those who didn’t ask for Him or seek Him. He said “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation not called by His name. These people provoked God despite His calls to them. They sacrificed to demons (noted in the LXX, the Greek version of this passage). They sat in tombs. They ate pig’s flesh. And they told the Lord to “Keep to yourself, do not come near me.” Therefore, God explained He would repay them for their iniquities. Does any of this sound familiar? It’s like Jesus’s time in Gerasa, a city in the Greek region called the Decapolis, was modeled after this passage. The Gerasenes learn of the miraculous deliverance of the demon possessed man. However, instead of being in awe over the miracle, they were scared because of their financial loss in the pigs. They demand Jesus leave. Considering Isaiah 65, what might we expect for the Decapolis Gentiles? Judgment. Quick, brutal, complete, avenging judgment. However, how does this story end? As He leaves, Jesus sends the man delivered from Legion into the region to tell them what God had done for him. There is hope for the Gentiles, even for these Gentiles who rejected Jesus. This is the Savior we serve. Praise the Lord! There is hope for us.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 8.

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