Luke 15… Consider Him Who Goes After the Lost

Luke 15 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible; it never gets old, it always leaves me in awe. I can never quite get over God’s Grace in pursuing the likes of us.

The religious leaders are disgusted with the company this Man, Jesus, keeps. Shouldn’t He know better than to associate with such worthless, seedy sinners?

Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” [15:1-2]

And rather than chastising them for their hypocrisy, Jesus shares a uniquely astonishing portrayal of the amazing and inexplicable grace of His Father. With three parables He reveals the heart of the Father for the lost, three parables with one truth. The Father loves and Goes After the Lost.

Consider Him Who Goes After the Lost.

  • He Goes After the Lost, leaving the ninety-nine for the one
    • “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” [15:4]
  • He Goes After the Lost, carefully searching until the lost is found
    • “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?” [15:8]
  • He Goes After the Lost, eagerly watching in readiness and compassion
    • But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” [15:22]
  • He Goes After the Lost, unashamedly rejoicing when the lost is found
    • “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’” [15:5]
    • “When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’” [15:9]
    • “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.[15:22-24]
  • He Goes After the Lost, anticipating the celebration in heaven
    • “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” [15:7]
    • “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” [15:10]
    • “’But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’” [15:32]

How do we respond to Him Who Goes After the Lost?

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we see the only possible response… repentance. The younger son’s response is a vivid description of repentance.

  • He came to his senses and realized his condition apart from his father.
    • “But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger![15:17]
  • He made a willful decision to repent
    • I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ [15:18-19]
  • He did not delay to act on his willful decision.
    • So he got up and came to his father. [15:20]
  • He humbled himself, acknowledging his sin against God and his father.
    • And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.[15:21]

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we also see a vivid description of the results of repentance.

“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.” [15:22-24]

When we repent we are rescued.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [Colossians 1:13]

When we repent we are reconciled.

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, [Colossians 1:21-23]

When we repent we are rewarded.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, [Ephesians 1:3]

When we consider His grace and lovingkindness it seems unthinkable we would seek after anything else. But the sad truth is, we often, like the Prodigal Son, choose our sin and rebellion over Him.

Today let us consider His heart for us.

Let us come to our senses quickly and willfully determine to come to Him in repentance and confession, that we would be rescued, reconciled and rewarded by Him Who Goes After the Lost.

Let’s Grow Together!

Luke 14… Consider Him Who Teaches By Example

The Gospels abound with the teachings of Jesus, the Teacher rivaled by none. Being God in the flesh, His teachings are an overflow of His holiness and absolute truth. His teaching is not merely found in His divine words, His teaching is validated by His perfect life.

My years as a high school teacher often left me feeling inadequate in my ability to impart the lessons I so wanted my students to learn. But two things, when applied, would strengthen my ability to communicate with my students.

First, I could not teach my students something I, myself, did not know. My students expected me to have an expertise in the subject matter I was presenting. If they were convinced I was sound in my knowledge, they were more likely to trust and accept my teaching.

Secondly, my students wanted honesty and integrity from me, their teacher. My students were more open to receive from one they trusted as genuine; in a sense they wanted to see, not just hear what I had to say.

Jesus came to be seen and heard by all. He did not teach with words alone, but the Word became flesh and dwelt among us [John 1:14], that His creation could experience Him, see and hear Him and learn from the incomparably perfect and supreme Teacher, from Him Who Teaches By Example.

Consider Him Who Teaches By Example

  • His Teaching regarding the Sabbath rest
    • Jesus answered and spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?”… And He said to them, “Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?” [14:3, 5]
  • His Example: He never rests from caring for His own
    • He will not allow your foot to slip;
      He who keeps you will not slumber.
      Behold, He who keeps Israel
      Will neither slumber nor sleep.
      [Psalm 121:3-4]
    • Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. [Hebrews 7:25]
  • His Teaching regarding obedience, faith and humility
    • For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” [14:11]
  • His Example: He obeyed His Father in faith and humility
    • Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name… [Philippians 2:8-9]
  • His Teaching regarding hospitality bestowed on those without means to repay
    • “But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” [14:13]
  • His Example: His hospitable gift of repentance to those without any means at all
    • But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)… For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  [Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9]
  • His Teaching regarding His invitation extended to all who would come
    • But He said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; 17 and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses… 23 And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.’” [14:16-7, 23]
  • His Example: He Personally extended His invitation to all who would come
    • “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28]
    • “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” [John 3:16-17]
  • His Teaching regarding selfless discipleship
    • So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” [14:33]
  • His Example: He selflessly emptied Himself of what He rightfully possessed
    • Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. [Philippians 2:5-7]

How do we respond to Him Who Teaches By Example?

Jesus is our perfect Teacher and our perfect Example.

  • We can trust His Teaching for He knows all things.
    • “Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.” [John 16:30]
  • We can trust His Teaching for He is our Perfect Example.
    • Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. [Ephesians 5:1-2]
  •  We can trust His Teaching for He does not leave us in ignorance.
    • He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. [John 12:48]
  • We can trust His Teaching for He is faithful. He promises when we hear His voice and open the door of our hearts to Him, He will come in!
    • Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. [Revelation 3:20]

Are we listening for Him? Let us attune our hearts and ask for ears to hear Him Who Teaches By Example.

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” [14:34]

May we grow to become attentive students, carefully listening to Him Who Teaches By Example, that we would hear, learn and faithfully follow His Example.

Let’s Grow Together!

Luke 13… Consider His Call to Repent

We have a tendency to measure sin, to quantify its severity. Jesus corrected such flawed thinking.

And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” [13:2-5]

And He repeated the exact phrase, I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” And we know when the Lord repeats Himself, pay attention!

Jesus called all to repent, not just the worst sinners, sinners we find so offensive. While it is true some choices do result in more devastating consequences than others, Jesus says, the ultimate destiny we all will face is the same, unless we repent.

Consider His Call to Repent

  • His Call to Repent is without partiality.
    • …but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. [13:3, 5]
  • His Call to Repent is a call to bear fruit.
    • And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any.” [13:6]
  • His Call to Repent is humiliating.
    • As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated… [13:17]
  • His Call to Repent is pervading.
    • So He was saying, “What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.20 And again He said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened. [13:18-20]
  • His Call to Repent is narrow.
    • And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’” [13:23-25]
  • His Call to Repent defies human wisdom
    • And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.” [13:30]
  • His Call to Repent is not forced.
    • “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!” [13:34]

 How do we respond to His Call to Repent?

Our eternity is determined in how we respond to His Call to Repent. Paul exhorted the Corinthians to examine their own faith; for it is only faith in Jesus Christ that secures our place in His kingdom.

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? [2 Corinthians 13:5]

Today, let us follow Paul’s advice and examine our faith for evidence of Jesus Christ manifesting His life in us.

  • His Call to Repent is without partiality. We must recognize and admit we do not measure up and we fall short.
    • …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. [Romans 3:23]
  • His Call to Repent is a call to bear fruit. Is our life a testimony of His gift of repentance?
    • You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits. [Matthew 7:16-20]
  • His Call to Repent is humiliating. Have we humbled ourselves and converted as a child; are we willing to be humiliated before men for the sake of the gospel?
    • And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 18:2-3]
    • For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. [Romans 1:16]
  • His Call to Repent is pervading. Has Christ pervaded our whole beings; has the old passed away, and new things come?
    • Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. [2 Corinthians 5:17]
  • His Call to Repent is narrow. The world rejects the narrow way of Christianity. Do we accept His narrow way in faith as our only means of salvation, not trusting in anything we can do?
    • Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” [John 14:6]
  • His Call to Repent defies human wisdom. Are we trusting in the world’s wisdom or the wisdom of God?
    • For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God… Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe… 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. [1 Corinthians 1:18, 20-21, 25]
  • His Call to Repent is not forced. He has made His truth evident, but it is our choice to suppress His Call to Repent or submit to it.
    • For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them… 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [Romans 1:18-19, 21]

We pass the test when we understand our eternal destiny apart from Jesus Christ, our total inadequacy to save ourselves and by faith submit to His Call to Repent as we trust His Holy Spirit to transform us.

As we grow in our faith, let us trust His Holy Spirit to make us new that our lives would bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, [Luke 3:8]

Let’s Grow Together!

Luke 12… Consider Him Who Must Be Feared

We love to contemplate God’s lavish love and amazing grace, His kindness extended to such undeserving sinners. But there is great wisdom in fearing Him, if it were not so, Jesus would not have warned His friends.

“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!” [12:4-5]

Biblical fear. We attempt to explain it as an act of holy reverence towards Almighty God. But in this context, and in the original language, the word translated from Greek as fear means “to put in fear, terrify, frighten,” (from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance G5399).

When we consider Who He Is, in reality wouldn’t we be foolish not to be frightened? I was actually “frightened” into saving faith when I heard His words from Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”

It was a terrifying reality to consider myself being spit out of His mouth; and by His grace, I responded to Him Who Must Be Feared.

Oh, such kindness and grace, that Jesus warns His hearers. Not all will hear and heed His counsel, and perhaps this is why He directed His warning to His friends, fully expecting His friends to pay attention. And although we live in a world fret with troubles and danger, we are not to fear the temporal. Jesus did not hold back; He emphatically warned us, we are in fact, to fear God.

Consider Him Who Must Be Feared

  • He Must Be Feared; for He Exposes Hypocrisy
    • Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. [12:1-2]
  • He Must Be Feared; for He Has Authority Over Eternity
    • But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! [12:5]
  • He Must Be Feared; for He is Omniscient
    • Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. [12:6-7]
  • He Must Be Feared; for He is Holy
    • but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him. [12:10]
  • He Must Be Feared; for He is All-Sufficient Provider
    • Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? [12:24, 27-28]
  • He Must Be Feared; for He Will Come Again
    • You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect. [12:40]
  • He Must Be Feared; for He Will Demand Accountability
    • From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. [12:51]

How do we respond to Him Who Must Be Feared?

Jesus warned us we are to fear God. That, in itself should be all the motivation we need; and when we fear God we will be changed.

Self-examination time: Are we being changed?

  • Fearing Him leads to reverent obedience and even, saving faith.
    • “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy… But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! … “And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; [12:1, 5, 8]
  • Fearing Him expels worry.
    • When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”…And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on… 25 And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26 If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?” [12:11-12, 22, 25-26]
  • Fearing Him aligns our priorities.
    •  But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. [12:31-32]
  • Fearing Him prepares us to live alert and ready for His return.
    • Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. 36 Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; [12:35-37]
  • Fearing Him strengthens our resolve to stand for Him.
    • Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; 52 for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided… [12:51-53]
  • Fearing Him equips us to understand and analyze the times.
    • And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out. 55 And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?”
  • Fearing Him strengthens our earthly relationships.
    • “For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with him,” [12:58]

Lord Jesus, may we seriously heed Your warning and by faith fear Him Who Must Be Feared. Grow us by Your grace that we would be changed.

Let’s Grow Together!

Luke 11… Consider Him, Full of Light

Jesus came into this world that all would see His Light. His Light could not and would not be hidden.

“No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. [11:33]

His Light is perfect, Full of Light.

The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light… [11:34]

Many rejected His Light for they did not comprehend Him; the light in them was, in reality, darkness.

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. [John 1:4]

…but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35 Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. [11:34]

Still He came. Jesus, Full of Light without a bit of darkness, wholly illumined, came to this world to illumine, if we would but see.

Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. 36 If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.” [11:35-36]

Consider Him, Full of Light

  • His Light Illumines Prayer
    • And He said to them, “When you pray, say… “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… 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” [11:2, 9, 13]
  • His Light Illumines Unity
    •  But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He knew their thoughts and said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls…23 He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters. [11:15-16, 23]
  • His Light Illumines Faith
    • As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah. [11:29]
  • His Light Illumines Enlightenment
    • The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35 Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. [11:34-35]
  • His Light Illumines Righteousness
    • Now when He had spoken, a Pharisee asked Him to have lunch with him; and He went in, and reclined at the table. 38 When the Pharisee saw it, he was surprised that He had not first ceremonially washed before the meal. 39 But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness.” [11:37-39]

How do we respond to Him, Full of Light?

It is only in His Light we are able to see light.

For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.
[Psalm 36:9]

As His Body, we are called to become like Him, Full of Light.

The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; [11:34]

  • His Light Illumines Prayer. Jesus, Full of Light, taught us to persevere in prayer; to trust the Father’s answers and provision will always be best. May we allow His Light to bring His peace as we persevere in prayer.
    • Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:6-7]
  • His Light Illumines Unity. Jesus, Full of Light, taught us to understand who the real enemy is. May we never fight each other; let us strive for the unity in His Light to which we have been called.
    • So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. [Colossians 3:12-14]
  • His Light Illumines Faith. Jesus, Full of Light, taught us not to seek after signs and wonders; all that is needed for salvation is provided by His death, burial and resurrection. May we build our lives on His Light, the truth of His gospel as declared according to the Scriptures.
    • Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, [1 Corinthians 15:1-4]
  • His Light Illumines Enlightenment. Jesus, Full of Light, warned us regarding the integrity of light; and what some consider to be light is actually darkness. Let us be on guard as we encounter the world’s enlightenment. We must know His truth, be enlightened by His Light, in order to detect deception.
    • See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. [Colossians 2:8]
  • His Light Illumines Righteousness. Jesus, Full of Light, revealed man’s righteousness is not an outward display of works but an inward manifestation of His work of grace. Let us trust His work of righteousness in us, that we would be full of His Light and not our own.
    • But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; [Romans 3:21-22]

May we grow to see Him clearly, to become like Him, Full of Light; that a world, lost in darkness, would see His body, the church, and be illumined by His Light.

Let’s Grow Together!

Luke 10… Consider Him Who Rejoiced Greatly

I don’t know why I found it so stunning to read of Jesus rejoicing, and rejoicing greatly at that. I tend to think of His life on earth as so rigorous, so exacting, forever confronted by the skeptics trying to disprove Him. I think of His sorrow as He encountered a people rejecting Him, held in bondage by blinding sin. I think of His burden in the midst of sickness and oppression. And suddenly a ray of joy bursts forth, a bright light shining in the midst of the dismal darkness; and we see Him Who Rejoiced Greatly.

Consider Him Who Rejoiced Greatly

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” [10:17-20]

At that very time He rejoiced greatly… [10:21]

What precipitated such rejoicing within our perfect, sinless Savior? His joy was not about the authority He would give, the great works His followers would do in His Name, or the fact He would render them impervious to the attacks of the enemy. He Rejoiced Greatly because their names are recorded in heaven.

Stunning. At that very time… The Greek language indicates “at this exact point in time.” While Jesus was reminding His followers of their eternal destiny, He Rejoiced Greatly.

At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 22 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” [10:21-22]

He Rejoiced Greatly in the Holy Spirit.

He Rejoiced Greatly with praise to His Father.

He Rejoiced Greatly at the childlike faith that pleased His Father.

He Rejoiced Greatly from the privilege of revealing His Father.

How do we respond to Him Who Rejoiced Greatly?

  • True joy is found in our eternal security in Christ, the joy He imparts by His Holy Spirit when we yield our lives to Him in faith and our names our recorded in heaven. Let us Rejoice Greatly in the Holy Spirit.
    • …and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. [1 Peter 1:8-9]
  • How can we not be filled with joy as we consider our Father in heaven and the incomparable blessings He has bestowed? May we daily Rejoice Greatly with Praise to our Father for His very good gifts.
    • Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. [James 1:17]
      • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ [Ephesians 1:3]
      • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort… [2 Corinthians 1:3]
      • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [1 Peter 1:3]
  • A child never questions his father’s ability or faithfulness; he simply believes. It is the faith of a child that pleases the Father. Let us Rejoice Greatly as His children of grace, desiring to please our Father in humility and faith, believing He is able and faithful.
    • And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 18:3-4]
    • And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. [Hebrews 11:6]
  • What a privilege to break forth as a bright light and represent our Father to a world so desperate and dark. Let us Rejoice Greatly from the unimaginable privilege we have to reveal the Father, that He would be glorified.
    • “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16]

Let’s Grow Together!

Luke 9… Consider Him Who Demands a Divide

There is much interest in this Man, Jesus. Herod wants to see Him and the crowds clamor to follow Him.

Herod said, “I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see Him. [9:9]

But the crowds were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing. [9:11]

Following the crowd in curiosity or even experiencing a physical healing from Jesus is not an expression of salvation or discipleship. Jesus welcomed the masses; but to truly know Him, to follow Him as His disciple, He Demands a Divide. Jesus challenged the idea of salvation by association; rather He mandated the necessity for each individual to separate and divide oneself from the throng.

Consider Him Who Demands of Divide

  • He Demands a Divide in our profession of faith
    • And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, “Who do the people say that I am?” 19 They answered and said, “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah; but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.” 20 And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” [9:18-20]
  • He Demands a Divide in our pursuit of fulfillment
    • And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 25 For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. [9:23-26]

How do we respond to Him Who Demands a Divide?

Becoming a disciple of Jesus necessitates a pulling away, a decisive dividing oneself from the popular or pleasurable, even if it means standing alone.

  • He Demands a Divide in our profession of faith
    • The world argues there are many ways to God, but the Word of God Demands a Divide regarding salvation. There is only One way; His Name is Jesus.
      • Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. [John 14:6]
      • that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. [Romans 10:9-10]
    • It matters not what others say or do; “But who do you say that I am?” [9:20] Jesus Demands a Divide in our profession of faith, to be bold in our confession of Him as our Lord and Savior.
      • “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 10:32-33]
  • He Demands a Divide in our pursuit of fulfillment
    • It matters not what the masses say or do; He Demands a Divide in the way we live and the passions we pursue.
      • You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, [Exodus 23:2]
    • As we seek Him daily, He will do the dividing work in our hearts to grow an unquenchable hunger and desire for His beauty and presence.
      • One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
        That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
        To behold the beauty of the Lord
        And to meditate in His temple.
        [Psalm 27:4]
    • As the Lord increases our desire for Him, we must cooperate with His work of grace. Let us intentionally choose to clearly divide what is valuable in our lives and what is not, what is worth our time, money and devotion and what is not.
      • But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, [Philippians 3:7-8]
    • Nothing can compare to knowing Jesus. May our pursuits move us ever closer to Him, with a passion like Paul, letting go of the past and pressing on toward His Demands of a Divide, the prize of His upward call in Christ.
      • Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 3:12-14]

Let’s Grow Together!