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Luke-1

An Introduction to Luke

Luke is one of the two gospel writers who was not an eyewitness to the life of Jesus. So, what gives Luke the right to write a gospel? First of all, Luke was a contemporary and traveling partner of the apostle Paul. It is important to understand that the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts are a two volume set, written by Luke. During the second half of Paul’s missionary journeys Luke joined Paul and became his traveling companion. This would mean that while Paul spent a couple of years in prison in Caesarea, Luke had free access to Peter, Mary, and any other eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life that were still alive in Jerusalem, Judea, and Galilee. Secondly, it is important to note that Luke was an educated man and an excellent historian. While he may not have been an eyewitness, he was a competent historian who had access to interview those who lived the story. When you read Luke’s gospel in its original Greek language you will find that the use of language is highly skilled and beautiful in form.

Luke-2Luke himself was a physician. We know very little about him, but several theories have been proposed. One interesting theory proposes that Luke may have been the slave of a wealthy Greek man who paid to have Luke trained as a physician in order to serve the estate. This land owner took a liking to Paul and gave Luke to Paul when he became ill. Paul, in turn, set Luke free and welcomed him as a Christian brother. Whether this is true or not, we do know that Luke was dedicated to his friend and spiritual mentor Paul.

Overview of the chart

Luke, being a Greek man himself, was writing his books to a primarily Greek audience. Specifically he writes to the most beloved Theophilus. The word Theophilus means “God lover”. It is debated as to whether this is a specific man (perhaps his old owner) or a metaphorical term for anyone who loves God.

The important point to keep in mind is that the mind of his audience was thoroughly Greek; saturated in Greek philosophy. I chose a motif to organize the chart based upon the idea that Luke was seeking to present Jesus to the Greek mind as the ultimate Savior of the world. A common Greek theme, running throughout Grecian mythology, is that of the hero. The hero was half human, half god, who was sent to suffer through many trials and to fulfill a certain destiny. When read through these lenses it is easy to see how Luke may have been presenting Jesus to the Greeks as the Hero of all Heroes.

The Birth of a Hero

Luke’s account of Jesus’ beginnings is unique in the Gospels. In his Gospel, there is a beautiful pattern of angelic visitations, miraculous conceptions, and poetic utterances. As the infant Hero grows, we see Him presented to two aging prophets, one male, and one female. With their proclamation that the foretold

Messiah had come, it was time for the Hero of Israel to bridge the gap between the Old Testament and the New. Luke portrays the young Jesus, even at the age of twelve, as already advanced in wisdom, able to teach the elders of Israel, and aware of his identity as the Son of God. Whereas in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth He was portraying Jesus as the rightful King of the Jews, Luke is painting a picture of Jesus as being a mighty hero, born of the union between deity and humanity, wise and strong.

The Preparation of a Hero

It is important to note that Luke’s account of the entire first part of Jesus’ ministry (3:1-9:50) takes place in and around the region of Galilee. It is not until after His transfiguration that He begins to move toward Jerusalem. In this particular section we see the preparation of the Hero. His cousin, John, speaks as

His prophet, calling Israel to repentance and predicting the coming judgment of the barren tree. Next comes the baptism and pronouncement of Jesus as God’s Son, the bearer of the Holy Spirit. Finally, being led by the Spirit into the wilderness, the Hero withstands the fiery test of temptation and proves Himself worthy of the heroic task before Him.

The Hero’s Journey Begins

As the hero’s journey begins we notice three things. 1) He was given special powers, 2) He experienced a tension between loving the crowds, yet wanting to be away from the demands of the crowds, 3) He desires to have devoted followers and disciples which can be recruited and trained for His service.

The Hero takes the Power

Once the journey is underway, Jesus faces off with the power structures of Israel. As He intentionally breaks the traditions of the elders on the Sabbath, He boldly states that 1) He is the lord of the Sabbath, and 2) the elders of Israel have misrepresented the Law of Moses and it is time for new wine (“fresh blood”) to take over the leadership of God’s people.

Heroic Words, Heroic Deeds

In the bulk of the first section of Luke’s Gospel, we see the energetic activity of the Hero as His reputation builds. After being rejected in His hometown of Nazareth, He sets up a base of operations in the lake city of Capernaum. From there He launches on a campaign of teaching, healing, and miracles. Through these miracles He demonstrates His power over evil, over nature, and over sickness and death. Finally, in the climax of the section, Peter proclaims that Jesus is, indeed, the Christ, the Hero, that Israel has been waiting for and Jesus is transfigured to show His deity, authority, and power.

Then, in an ironic twist, Jesus turns the tables on His enthusiastic followers and warns them that, although they are correct to say that He is the Christ, they are grossly shortsighted as to the true meaning of this fact. He challenges the crowd that to follow Him would mean to lose everything. He also warns His disciples to not give credence to the opinions of the crowds. From this point on, Jesus sets His noble face towards Jerusalem where the final feat of this heroic quest awaits Him.

In the second half of the book we feel the tone change in Jesus’ ministry. Beginning at the end of chapter 9, Jesus sets his face towards Jerusalem to complete his Hero’s mission.

There are four sections that chronicle this Hero’s Journey.

The Invasion and Explanation of the Kingdom

As Jesus set out for Jerusalem he sent 72 of his disciples ahead of Him to spread the good news of the Kingdom of God and to invite everyone to sit at the great banquet of the King. As the invitation was

extended and the responses began to return, the true nature and purpose of the Kingdom of God became evident. During this time Jesus’ teaching was very pointed and very harsh.

One of the major things to keep in mind while studying Luke is that he seems to have a heavy-handed agenda to emphasize the aspect of Jesus’ teaching that elevated the poor and outcast of society out of the social quagmire and onto equal footing with the rich and the “healthy.” In this section we see that the rich and healthy rejected God’s invitation and that the poor, the sick, and the little children were the ones who God really wanted at His banquet. The Kingdom of God is the great equalizer.

Approaching Jerusalem

As Jesus approaches Jerusalem, the account of the blind man and the account of Zaccheus are told. These stories are told in order to contrast the true Kingdom of God with the Kingdom of Man. Inside the walls of Jerusalem lived the “wise” men of Israel, the keepers of the Law, the enlightened ones. Supposedly these men were the caretakers of God’s Kingdom, of God’s Vineyard. Jesus knew their hearts,

though, and He knew that they would reject the true Kingdom of God when it was presented to them in living color. Here, however, in the lives of a blind man and a wretched tax collector, were the true members of God’s Kingdom. Jesus didn’t want resumes and money and knowledge and prestige.

These things would not get a person into the Kingdom of God. Jesus wanted broken and repentant hearts. As He healed the blind man and ate a meal with Zacheus, He was demonstrating what the Kingdom of God is all about.

Clash of the Titans

Once inside the walls of Jerusalem things changed. The fickle crowd greeted Him with shouts of “Hosanna” and great expectations of a New Kingdom being established that would rid them of the Romans, but soon they would turn on Him to have Him killed. The Pharisees laid traps for Him and tried to defeat Him until they eventually, through treachery and lies, dragged Him to his execution.

In this section, Jesus bravely squares off with elders of Jerusalem and condemns them for being arrogant, blind, self-serving leaders who heaped burdens on the backs of God’s people and kept the Kingdom of God out.

The Hero’s Victory

In the final section, Jesus sets the world on its ear. Instead of valiantly fighting His way to the top, He humbly submitted to the curses and torture of unrighteous men and allowed Himself to be executed. Through this selfless act, the power of sin and death was once and for all defeated, the curtain dividing men from God was ripped in two, and the true Kingdom of God was unleashed on the world.

Other Resources to Study Luke

Read Posts about Luke

  • A Deeper Love | A Sermon for Advent 4 from Luke 1:46-55 This sermon concludes the four weeks of A Deeper Advent. We explore Mary’s beautiful prophetic poem–the magnificat–in Luke 1:46-55. Is it really loving for God to cast down some people and exalt others? Is there, perhaps, a deeper love that brings healing to all people, no matter what side of our many human divisions we may find ourselves. Download PowerPoint Read Manuscript We have been lighting candles during Advent. As the days have been getting darker, the light ...
  • Who Brings Down the Mighty? The Final Advent Candle to be lit this weekend is named Love. The text is Luke 1:46-55. This passage is famously called The Magnificat. It is the song Mary sang after her cousin Elizabeth praised her for believing God’s Promise. Here’s the interesting thing about this Advent Candle and this passage: The Word love does not appear in the text. How is this a passage about love? If anything, this is a passage that seems to say that ...
  • A Deeper Hope | Sermon for Advent 1 from Psalm 25 and Luke 21:25-36 This sermon lights the candle of hope on Advent 1. Advent is a season in which we embrace the darkness. Our hope is not in the wishful thinking that God will someday remove everything we don’t like. Rather, our hope lies in the promise that God is with us, God is for us, and God will journey with us through the darkness to the light. The key texts are Psalm 25 and Luke 21:25-36. download sermon ...
  • Preparing to Light the Candle of Peace for Advent 2 This morning I was preparing for the upcoming week of Advent 2: The Candle of Peace. Our two main texts are Luke 1:68-79 and Luke 3:1-6. I was reminded of some work that I did in these texts the last time I preached through Luke. They are appropriate to repost here for two reasons: We will preach on the Luke text this week, and We will preach on Matthew in the New Year. These posts compare Luke’s version ...
  • Grateful | A Sermon on Generosity and Thanksgiving from Luke 17:11-19 and Deuteronomy 26:1-11 This sermon is our last stop on the twelve-week series A Deep Life. The key texts are Luke 17:11-19 and Deuteronomy 26:1-11. It was presented on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and explores both generosity and thanksgiving. When we take the time to reflect on God’s activity in our lives and the world, it bubbles up in an attitude of gratitude. Scroll down to experience the visual sermon, or scroll while you are listening to the audio. ...
  • A Visual Meditation on Thanksgiving Our theme for this weekend is “Grateful” and the texts are Deuteronomy 26:1-11 and Luke 17:11-19. I offer the illustration above as a visual meditation on the Greek word that we translate giving thanks. It is the word used when the one Samaritan leper returns to thank Jesus for healing him in Luke 17:16. It is also the word used when Jesus took the bread and the cup and eucharisteo, he gave thanks at the Last ...
  • Worship Beyond Time, Space, and Religious Boundaries | A Sermon from A Deep Life This sermon happened both on All Saints Day and one week after the Synagogue Shooting in Pittsburgh. Worship is the communal practice that shapes us into particular communities, AND ALSO unites us across religious boundaries to the infinite, eternal flame of God’s Shalom. I did not write a manuscript for this sermon. It is the combination of two blog posts: All Hallow’s Eve | A Meditation on All Saints Day Worship Shabbat Shalom | Standing in Solidarity with ...
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  • Overcome (by) Depression Have you ever felt like you just don’t want to get out of bed…ever? There is a dark cloud floating right behind your eyes that makes everything seem distant and slightly unreal. Your logical mind tells you that the sun is shining and that everything in your life is actually pretty good, but the voice seems hollow and muffled. Heaviness, and even dread, is all you can feel in your bones. This is what depression feels ...
  • An Introduction to Reading the Gospels We are about to launch a worship series that walks through the Gospel of John, following the Narrative Lectionary (January – April, 2018). This post is designed to provide you with a general introduction and framework for how to approach the story of Jesus that we find in the Bible, in all of the Gospels. I’ll offer an overview of John soon. It begins with a countdown. 4 Voices One of the many amazing things about the Bible is ...
  • Worship Fully | Part One in the Advent Conspiracy Series This is the first sermon in a four-part series called Advent Conspiracy. The texts are Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Philippians 2:9-11, Luke 1:39-55. The first step in overcoming the consumerism of this season is to focus our hearts on the presence of God. This is the video I showed during the first part of the sermon. https://youtu.be/CsdOHQO0QfQ  
  • Why Conspire at Advent? Conspiracy is a strange word to associate with Advent, isn’t it? The word has a subversive undertone. Exactly. We will join a growing movement at Easter this Advent that seeks to undermine the rampant consumerism that has overtaken the season and attempt to focus on the deeper meaning behind it all. Check out adventconspiracy.org to learn about the history of this movement and get some great resources. The truth is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is ...
  • How You Live Matters | A Sermon on Law and Gospel from the CORE Series This sermon continues the CORE Worship Series. It looks at Law and Gospel. This is a core teaching of Lutheran theology. Follow the PowerPoint Read the Manuscript I’m curious. How many of you have ever had a traffic ticket, speeding or parking? Wow! Easter Lutheran Church, runnin’ with the rebels. I’m right there with you. In fact I even had a warrant out for my arrest once. I discovered that’s what happens when you don’t pay your ticket. Yep, I’m ...
  • A Visual Meditation on Law and Gospel The Worship Theme tomorrow is titled “How You Live Matters.” This is the continuation of our CORE series where we look at the core elements of our faith. The real theological issue is a classic Lutheran teaching called Law and Gospel. This is a massive topic and I’ve really been wrestling with how to present it in a relevant manner within a short sermon. Here is a visual map of the main points of the sermon. Many ...
  • Jesus is God’s Best Idea Ever | A Sermon from the CORE Series This sermon launches the Worship Series called CORE. We spend eight weeks looking at the core elements of our faith as followers of Jesus, specifically within a Lutheran framework. This sermon asks, “Why Jesus?” We need Jesus to both see God, and to know God. The texts are Galatians 2:16-21 and Luke 24:44-48. I did a lot of blogging in preparation for this sermon. Read posts Growing Out of Hell, Unpacking Galatians 2:16, A Visual Meditation, ...
  • A Visual Meditation on Why Jesus is God’s Best Idea Ever A daunting challenge has been set before us as preachers this week. We kick off the CORE worship series with the topic: Jesus is God’s Best Idea Ever! This is a clever way of tackling the theological categories of Christology (the study of who Jesus is and why his existence is important) and Justification (the study of how Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection makes us “right” or “justified” with God). How do we accomplish this ...
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  • Who is at the Table? | A Sermon from Luke 7:36-50 This sermon explores the story of Simon’s dinner party in Luke 7:36-50. Why was the woman considered a sinner? How should we deal with labels in our society, and who is welcome at the table? Watch the Video https://youtu.be/gpkM97XXXEs?rel=0 View the PowerPoint Read the Manuscript Imagine that you have the opportunity to throw a dinner party at your house for a well-known person that you really respect. You want to make a good impression. You want that person to meet ...
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  • A Visual Commentary on Luke 6:17-49 This thketchy commentary fills that gap between last week’s Narrative Lectionary text in Luke 6:1-16 and this week’s text in Luke 7:1-11. Luke 6 tells of how Jesus “came down the mountain” and “stood on a level place” to present his core teaching. This video explores how Jesus’ teaching exemplifies Isaiah’s prophecy that the Messiah would bring the mountains low and fill in the valleys so that all flesh would see God’s salvation. You can download ...
  • and stood on a level place | A Devo on Luke 6:17-26 Today’s reading is from Luke 6:17-26. The phrase that captured my imagination is in verse 17, “and he came down with them and stood on a level place.” This may seem like a trivial, geographical detail, but I think it actually speaks volumes regarding Luke’s theological agenda. This becomes more apparent when we contrast this passage to Matthew’s version. Matthew says that Jesus “went up the mountain” and spoke the famous beatitudes (Matthew 5:1). Luke has Jesus ...
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  • A Call to Follow | A Devo on Luke 5:1-11 The text for this week is Luke 5:1-11. I am not preaching, so I probably won’t dive too deeply into it this week. I thought I would offer up two resources for you. First, here is the commentary on the calling of the disciples that I wrote in The Life of Jesus, We end our session reading the story of the first round of followers that Jesus called. This is an appropriate thought to follow up the ...
  • Good News, Bad News | A Sermon on Luke 4:16-30 This sermon looks at the story of Jesus when he preached in his hometown synagogue. It started out as good news. He is the Messiah. Then things went bad and the people tried to kill him. What changed their minds? Follow the PowerPoint Read the Sermon I invite you to take out the White Insert from your bulletin called What’s the Big Idea. It has some discussion questions to take home, a daily reading schedule, and a place ...
  • Jesus, Vengeance, and How to Read Scripture How do we reconcile the seemingly loving and peaceful Jesus with a seemingly vengeful and angry God of the Hebrew Bible? This is a sticking point for many people, especially in a society so saturated with hate crimes. I bring this up today because it is early Saturday morning and I am going to preach from Luke 4:16-30 tonight and tomorrow morning. I’ve been soaking in this passage all week. You can read this post and ...
  • A Visual Commentary on Luke 4:16-30 from the Narrative Lectionary Here is the visual version of the commentary on Luke 4:16-30 found in this post. You can download the PowerPoint here. Here’s how it works: Look at the picture. Read the short description. Move to the next picture. repeat. Enjoy! This is the text. verses 16 – 22 tell a story of good news. Jesus visits his home town. He’s a good Jewish boy, so he goes to the synagogue. He already has a reputation of being a teacher and ...
  • Observations from Luke 4:16-30 This is my initial observation of the text for this week’s sermon from Luke 4:16-30. The image is a screen capture from my notes in Logos. I’m offering this post as a kind of “behind-the-scenes, making-of” peek into how a sermon is crafted. The first step is to employ basic observation skills (see How to Study the Bible for more on this). Working Sermon Title: Good News, Bad News Sermon Blurb (we have to publish a blurb by ...
  • Igniting the Kingdom Life | A Sermon from Luke 3:1-22 in the Narrative Lectionary This sermon examines three things we need to rethink if we want to live deeper into the Kingdom Life. These things are taken from Luke 3:1-22, the story of John the Baptist. View the PowerPoint Read the Manuscript Last month I took a two-week vacation and didn’t go anywhere. It was one of the best vacations ever. I did something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but just never got around to doing it. I joined ...
  • Waiting in Obscurity | A Devo on Luke 2:39-52 I hate waiting. I have lived enough of my life with technology that offers instant gratification that it makes waiting for anything seemingly unbearable. Perhaps that is why I am captured by the invisible text from today. The Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading for today is Luke 2:39-52. It is the one glimpse into Jesus’ life as a boy. He is twelve years old and he sneaks off to the temple to hang out with the teachers ...
  • A Comparison of Luke 3 with Matthew 3 | John the Baptist and Jesus’ Baptism Here is a visual comparison between Matthew 3:1-7 and Luke 3:1-22. It is obvious that Matthew and Luke are using a common source. It is also obvious that they have very different agendas when telling this story. The green underline is when they quote verbatim (exactly word for word). The orange wavy underline is when they say similar things, but the wording is different. The purple indicates parts that are unique to Matthew. The blue indicates ...
  • What’s in a Name? The scheduled reading for today is Luke 1:57-66. It tells the story of John the Baptist’s birth and the controversy over his name. The people assumed he would be called Zechariah, after his father (imagine a guy named Jr. baptizing people in the desert?). His parents insisted that God wanted the baby to be named John. This is an image I made for a sermon on this passage from Advent Last year. Notice the meaning of ...
  • Who Has the Power? Today’s reading from the Narrative Lectionary is Luke 1:46-56. This is Mary’s famous song, traditionally called the Magnificat. I wrote about it yesterday in the blog post titled “Blessed is She Who Believed.” That post elicited some positive response. One reader said, “Wow, you really got your feminist on in that one.” I had a strangely mixed reaction to that statement. A part of me smiled and thought, “Yep, the Gospel is the radical message of ...
  • Blessed is She Who Believed The scheduled reading for today is Luke 1:39-45. At first glance it may seem like this is a transition passage between the big announcement to Mary that she would conceive, even though she is a virgin (Luke 1:26-38) and Mary’s famous song (the “Magnificat” in Luke 1:46-56). That’s what I thought when I first opened to the passage and wondered what I could possibly get out of this reading. Then verse 45 jumped out and grabbed me. ...
  • Resources to Help You as We Preach through the Gospel of Luke This year of the Narrative Lectionary affords us a unique opportunity. It is year 3 that focuses on the Gospel of Luke, so we get to end Advent and preach Christmas as the natural beginning point of our journey through this Gospel. I have been on vacation for the past two weeks, so I missed the launch last week, but I return to work tomorrow and will preach on Christmas morning (the senior pastor gets ...
  • How Much Should We Give? | A Sermon on Giving This is the fourth sermon in our Take a Step to Give Series. This week we ask the practical question: How much should we give? The Bible does not give a clear answer, but this sermon explores how percentage is a way to think about equality in giving. This is our fourth week in the Take a Step to Give series. In case you weren’t here last week, let me reiterate something. I don’t like to ...
  • Gratitude, Giving, and the Essence of the Church This sermon explores how we can take a step in gratitude by getting back to the basics. The church is a group of people gathered around the Good News that we have been set free through Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. The reality of the Gospel sparks an attitude of gratitude that overflows in generosity. Follow the PowerPoint Read the Sermon This has been an interesting week in the life of Grace Lutheran ...
  • Prayer and Independence | A Sermon for Independence Day from Luke 11:2-4 Happy Independence Day. 240 years ago a group of British Colonists in the colonies of New England became frustrated by unfair taxes. They tried to reason with the Kingdom of England, but was shut down. Eventually, this led to a revolution. The Continental Congress declared its independence from England on July 4th, 1776. A war ensued, and between 1776 and 1783 France and Spain joined the war against Britain.  It is estimated that nearly 70,000 Americans ...
  • Can You Call God Father? Are you able to call God Father? Some people are not. Many people had horrible fathers that abused them. Many people didn’t know their fathers because they walked out. Many people associate the term father with a long, painful history of male domination and the negative aspects of a patriarchal society. These people would rather not call God father and there is a growing theological movement seeking a gender-neutral language. I get it. I am sympathetic to the ...
  • Live Art and Scripture Community Event at Christ the King Last night I had the privilege of working with a very creative and passionate group of people at Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Brighton, MN. We collaboratively created a piece of art that recast the parable of the Good Samaritan, from Luke 10:25-37, in our context. This all started when Pastor Deb visited our Good Friday Service where I drew the stations of the cross live while the congregation prayed through the stations. Christ ...
  • Managing Fear and Doubt | A Sermon for Advent 4 from Luke 1:5-25, 67-80 How does Zechariah react to God’s good news in Luke 1:5-25, 67-80? Fear and doubt. This sermon offers advice on managing the conjoined twins of fear and doubt. View the PowerPoint Read the Sermon Do you recognize this guy? What is his name? Yep. Fear. He is one of the five emotions inside of Riley’s head in the latest Pixar movie: Inside Out. If you haven’t seen this movie, then I highly recommend it. It tells the story of how ...
  • The Glory of Christmas What is glory? Tonight, on Christmas Eve, we will sing that word over and over in a long and lyrical line, to a classical rendition of what the Angels said on high. Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria! The word is usually associated with bright lights, lots of fanfare, and one person being exalted above another. When something or someone is breathtaking and beyond good, we say, “that was glorious.” Most of Western society has tried to make the last month into ...
  • Fear and Doubt, Our Constant Companions Fear and doubt. They are conjoined twins that follow us around like a shadow. Whenever the bright light of God’s reality shines in our faces, we turn away and there they are. These faithful friends reach out to us and beckon us to retreat into the shadows where it is safe and familiar. “Don’t risk being exposed by the light,” they say. “Who knows what people might say and do if you let yourself hang out ...
  • One Said Thank You | A Sketch for Thanksgiving from Luke 17:11-17 Last night Pastor Mark asked me to draw a sketch for Thanksgiving Eve during the service. We covered a 4’x8′ chalkboard with white paper and I drew with colored lecturer’s chalk. It illustrates the story in Luke 17:11-17 of the one man who returned to thank Jesus for healing him. The drawing started during the opening hymn and then ended at the conclusion of the sermon. We asked everyone to write out things for which ...
  • What I Should Have Said About the Gospel Reading on Sunday The Gospel reading that we attached to the sermon this past weekend was from Luke 13:1-9. The truth is that the sermon was topical—addressing the question “Why does God allow suffering?”—so it wasn’t intended to expound upon any particular passage. We chose this text because Jesus raises the question, but he doesn’t answer it. Honestly, I did not spend any time soaking in that text in preparing for the sermon (a very rare occurrence). When ...
  • Bible Mania Session 8 Now Online! Crossing the Great Divide This is the first chance I have had to work on the Bible Mania editing project since January. I hope to get the rest of them done in the next couple weeks. This session moves us into the Gospels. https://youtu.be/fZ0fGpAoSUY
  • Tables and Gates | A Sermon on The Rich Man and Lazarus from Luke 16:19-31 | Lent 4 listen to the audio. Text: Luke 16:19-31 I want to talk about tables and gates. I love tables. They are things that bring people together. Take a moment and think about one of your favorite table moments. Maybe it was sitting at the kids table at family gatherings. The lunch table with all your camp buddies during summer camp. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy Sunday Evenings @ Grace so much. We sit around tables and eat together. ...
  • Lost | A Sermon on Luke 15:1-32 | Lent 3 Text: Luke 15:1-32 Oh, its’ you. I’m so glad to see you! I can’t believe it. I’m so excited, we need to have a party. Hit it! We’ll talk later. Oh, it’s you. What just happened there? No offense, I was just doing an object lesson. _ Have you ever been on the receiving end of one of these kinds of receptions? Or, have you ever been on the delivering end of one of these kinds of receptions? Why do ...
  • Where’s the Fruit | a Sermon on Luke 13:1-9, 31-35 | Lent 2 Listen to the audio Text: Luke 13:1-9, 31-35 Did you see this video clip of the meteor that exploded over Russia last week? Wasn’t that incredible? What would be going through someone’s mind at that moment? Ahhhh. We’re gonna die! It’s the end of the world! This is God’s judgment! Have you noticed how some people are quick to associate God’s judgment with natural disaster? When a hurricane, or an earthquake, or a tornado hits; when a meteor ...
  • The Glory of Christmas | A Sermon on Christmas Morning | Luke 2:8-20 Narrative Lectionary Text: Luke 2:8-20 There is no manuscript for this sermon because I didn’t write one. I had a basic idea of where I wanted to go, and decided to see what happened when I started talking. The sermon is based on the fact that the word translated “glory” in English is the Greek word “doxa.” It means reputation. To glorify someone is to uphold their reputation and make their reputation greater among the people. What ...
  • Conversations…What is new wine in new wineskins all about? This question was emailed to me… HI Pastor Steve- My question I hope will not be as ambiguous as “How does the Holy Spirit work in our current lives” like I asked you last time; I realized that was a tad too broad – but I had my DATE with God last week and have started reading Luke – just finished John – and at the end of Luke Chapter 5 vs 33- 39 is where I ...
  • Week 42 Day 5 – The True Kingdom of God Luke 18:31-19:27 The Hero of Luke’s Gospel did indeed come to establish a new Kingdom on Earth, but it was not at all the type of kingdom the people of Israel were expecting. While the stories of this passage may be very familiar to many people, (the blind man healed, Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and the parable of the ten minas) their context and purpose may not be so. I believe these two stories ...
  • Week 42 Day 4 – Who’s Number One? Luke 17:1-10 Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Luke is very harsh and confrontational. We like to hear about the kind, gentle Jesus who just wants everyone to be “happy.” That Jesus isn’t present in Luke’s Gospel. Luke’s Jesus has a point to make about the arrogance of “righteous” people. This passage highlights the message well. Here is a paraphrase. The bottom line of Jesus’ parable is this…God is the Master, we ...
  • Week 42 Day 3 – Don’t Worry About It Luke 12:22-34 This is another of Jesus’ familiar passages. It is easy to say, but so difficult to live. What does it mean to not worry? What does “seeking first” His kingdom REALLY look like in our lives? I mean, how could a person who lives in the United States, in our day and age, not be deeply concerned with making a living, paying the bills, putting food on the table, and simply making ends meet? Here ...
  • Week 42 Day 2 – An Open Door Policy Luke 11:1-13 There are two lessons to be learned in this passage. God invites you to ask. Contrary to the opinion of the day, both Jewish and pagan, God is eager to hear from His children. The point of the first parable is that if a man who is comfortably in bed will eventually get up and answer the door if the knocker is persistent, how much more will God, who wants to answer the door, open ...
  • Week 42 Day 1 – What’s the Draw Read Luke 10:17-20 Notice that Jesus had two responses to the victorious disciples. First He said, “Way to Go! You really defeated the enemy on this trip!” He validated their actions and their experience. Second, He said, “Be careful that you don’t get caught up in the ‘buzz’ of victory. Just be glad you are saved.” This may come as a shock to us at first, but when you really contemplate Jesus’ statement you will see that ...
  • Week 41 Day 5 – Hard Following Luke 9:23-27, 57-62 In these two passages list all the things that Jesus requires of those who desire to follow him? Spend a few moments honestly evaluating your own heart in light of this list. In v. 23 Jesus mentions 3 things that a follower must do: Deny himself Take up his cross daily Follow 1. What does it mean to deny yourself? The same word translated “deny” is used in Titus 2:12 and Matthew 10:33. Does reading these verses help with the definition? To ...
  • Week 41 Day 4 – It’s All About Overflow Read Luke 6:43-49 Solomon repeated to his boys the words of his father, David, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” In today’s passage we find another son of David speaking to his spiritual sons, “out of the overflow of the heart a man speaks.” The heart is the center of who we are; it is our inner being. Nothing we do on the outside, no amount of good works — ...
  • Week 41 Day 3 – The Measuring Cup Read Luke 6:37-42 There are two points to make about this passage; 1) What it does say, and 2) what it doesn’t say. First, it does say to not judge others. To judge someone is to sit in the place of God and presume to know their heart. There is only one judge and that is God. Your job is not to point the finger at everyone else (like the Pharisees were so good at doing) ...
  • Week 41 Day 2 – Profile of a Citizen Luke 6:20-26 One of Luke’s running themes and agendas is justice for the poor and outcast of society. One of the biggest problems in Israel during the time of Jesus was that the teachers and elders of the people had been using their power and authority to oppress the poor and keep them ostracized from society. The leaders did not believe that the poor and sick were worthy of God’s grace. Jesus spoke quite bluntly to ...
  • Week 41 Day 1 – A Big Catch Luke 5:1-11 What do we tend to worry about? Most of us spend a great deal of our energy worrying about how we are going to make ends meet and provide for the needs of our family (whether that is yourself or you with others). This is a legitimate concern because we do need to survive. In this encounter between Jesus and the fisherman, Jesus was engaging the men at this core question, “Where will you ...

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