Recovering What Was Lost
Its hard to forget the story of Jesus and Zaccheus. The scene is a bit ridiculous: a small man, hated but curious, climbs a tree to see Jesus Jesus stops to say, Get down hereI have to stay at your house today! The crowd complains while Zaccheus overflows with joy and repentance. Then Jesus speaks one of the most comforting promises ever made: The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost .
Throughout the history of Christianity, the gospels that have received the most attention are those written by Jesuss apostles Matthew and John. Scholarship of the past two centuries has focused on Marks gospel as the earliest record of Jesuss life. Because of these tendencies, its easy to overlook the book of Luke, resulting in a picture of Jesuss life, heart, and ministry that is incomplete. When we study Luke, we recover what may otherwise be lost.
What exactly do we stand to recover? A full 35% of Lukes gospel is found in no other source. Here we meet Zaccheus, visit the home of Mary and Martha , and see the resurrection of a widows son . Here, and only here, we find the parables of the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, and many more. When we study Luke, we hear these favorites in their original setting, breathing new life into familiar words.
Further Teachings On Prayer
5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves 6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed I cannot rise and give thee. 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you seek, and ye shall find knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth and he that seeketh findeth and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Jesus Appears To His Disciples
36 As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them. 37 But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, âWhy are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself handle me, and see for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.â 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, âHave you anything here to eat?â 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.
44 Then he said to them, âThese are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.â
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and said to them, âThus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.â
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The Return Of The Unclean Spirit
24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
Jesus Teaches About God’s Provision
Later, Jesus teaches about Gods provision. I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or about your body, what you will wear.Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? . Jesus offers this as plain common sense. Since worrying cannot add so much as an hour to your life, why worry? Jesus doesnt say not to work, only not to worry about whether your work will provide enough to meet your needs.
God gave Joe Kreutz, CEO of County Commerce Bank, relationships that made him feel secure enough to run his bank to help the community, customers and employees succeed, rather than worrying about himself.
Peter Greer & Phil Smith, The Poor Will be Glad , 29.
In Lukes account, the lawyer begins by asking Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asks the lawyer to summarize himself what is written in the law, and the lawyer returns with the Great Commandment Love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus replies that this is indeed the key to life.
In this case, being a Good Samaritan actually boosted Arthur Demoulas success. Perhaps its not only good spiritual counsel but good business advice when Jesus says, Go and do likewise.
Jesus Before Pilate And Herod
1 Then the whole company of them arose, and brought him before Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying, âWe found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ a king.â 3 And Pilate asked him, âAre you the King of the Jews?â And he answered him, âYou have said so.â 4 And Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, âI find no crime in this man.â 5 But they were urgent, saying, âHe stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.â6 When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 7 And when he learned that he belonged to Herodâs jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. 8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. 9 So he questioned him at some length but he made no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him then, arraying him in gorgeous apparel, he sent him back to Pilate. 12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.
Who Wrote The Book Of Acts
It is widely believed that the book of Acts is the second volume in Luke’s gospel. While the first volume was what happened while Jesus was here on earth. It described the past. It described Jesus’ story. However, in Acts, we learn more of how all the lessons inherent in Jesus’s time with His disciples came to influence their lives after He ascended into Heaven. Luke, most likely, was a highly educated gentile. He was a physician who was believed to either be a very close friend to Paul or even Paul’s doctor.
The Holy Spirit The Christian Community And The Kingdom Of God
The Holy Spirit plays a more important role in LukeActs than in the other gospels. Some scholars have argued that the Spirit’s involvement in the career of Jesus is paradigmatic of the universal Christian experience, others that Luke’s intention was to stress Jesus’ uniqueness as the Prophet of the final age. It is clear, however, that Luke understands the enabling power of the Spirit, expressed through non-discriminatory fellowship , to be the basis of the Christian community. This community can also be understood as the Kingdom of God, although the kingdom’s final consummation will not be seen till the Son of Man comes “on a cloud” at the end-time.
Healing The Blind Beggar
35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging 36 and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, âJesus of Nazareth is passing by.â 38 And he cried, âJesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!â 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent but he cried out all the more, âSon of David, have mercy on me!â 40 And Jesus stopped, and commanded him to be brought to him and when he came near, he asked him, 41 âWhat do you want me to do for you?â He said, âLord, let me receive my sight.â 42 And Jesus said to him, âReceive your sight your faith has made you well.â 43 And immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
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The Betrayal And Arrest Of Jesus
47 While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him 48 but Jesus said to him, âJudas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?â 49 And when those who were about him saw what would follow, they said, âLord, shall we strike with the sword?â 50 And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, âNo more of this!â And he touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, âHave you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.â
The Parable Of The Rich Man And Lazarus
1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him and if he repent, forgive him.4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent thou shalt forgive him.
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The Birth Of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeths pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgins name was Mary.28 The angel went to her and said, Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.30 But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary you have found favor with God.31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,33 and he will reign over Jacobs descendants forever his kingdom will never end.
34 How will this be, Mary asked the angel, since I am a virgin?
35 The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.37 For no word from God will ever fail.
38 I am the Lords servant, Mary answered. May your word to me be fulfilled. Then the angel left her.
The Finding Of The Child Jesus In The Temple
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom 43 and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions 47 and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers 48 And when they saw him they were astonished and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.”
49 And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
50 And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them.51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them and his mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.
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The Canticle Of Zechariah
67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, 68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people, 69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us 72 to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath which he swore to our father Abraham, 74 to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life. 76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, 78 through the tender mercy of our God, when the day shall dawn upon us from on high 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” 80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness till the day of his manifestation to Israel.
Parable Of The Rich Fool
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
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Salvation To The Ends Of The Earth
To seek and to save the lostthe vocabulary of salvation occurs more in Lukes writings than in those of any other New Testament author. On the one hand, this is not surprising: when we include the book of Acts, Luke wrote more of the New Testament than anyone else. So it stands to reason that when we count words, Luke would come out on top.
But in Luke, salvation is more than a matter of statistics. Here we continually hear Gods heart beating for the salvation of the worldfrom the prophet Isaiahs hope that all flesh shall see the salvation of God to Jesuss final reminder that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem .
The church in the Western world is losing its cultural influence and privilege. When you think your own survival is threatened, its hard to be concerned about spreading the good news of salvation to a lost world. Studying Luke can renew our vision and zeal for advancing the good news of salvation to our neighbors and to all nations.
When we study this book, will not our hearts burn within us with love for him?