September 30 - Luke 7:36-50

Monday, September 30, 2013

Luke 7:36-50 – A Sinful Woman … Forgiven

Just after Jesus separates those who accepted baptism and repentance from John and the Pharisees who rejected John’s ministry, a Pharisee named Simon invites Jesus to his table for a meal. Jesus was willing to eat with sinners like Matthew as well as the more pious folk. While they were at the table, a woman came in. Luke politely tells us that she was a prostitute and her arrival is a surprise. In Luke 7:38 she is standing behind Jesus, not in front of him. No one expected her to come in to where they were sitting.

Luke makes another clear distinction between the woman who was weeping in repentance for her actions and Simon, the Pharisee. Perhaps she had been baptized by John, we are certain that Simon had not.

The tears from her weeping created enough liquid to wash Jesus’ feet, an honor which a proper host should provide. Her hair represented the towel to dry the feet and the anointing of oil from the alabaster flask and kissing his feet were a symbol of very affectionate gratitude.

The woman welcomed Jesus Christ in a manner that the host refused to offer, again signifying the great distinction between those who were in desperate need of forgiveness and the pious religious folk who had decided they had no need of anything other than their rules and rituals.

Simon was highly offended and figured that Jesus should have known exactly who the woman was and stopped it. An unclean sinner was never supposed to touch a pious religious person. But, Jesus seemed to be encouraging her with his actions.

Jesus knew exactly what the man was thinking, even though Simon hadn't voiced those thoughts out loud.

Who is more grateful for forgiveness? Jesus asked. The one who has the larger debt. Who will end up being more loving? The one who has been forgiven much.

September 29 - Luke 7:18-35

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Luke 7:18-35 – Jesus and John the Baptist

Luke had introduced John the Baptist and in doing so had created a bridge between the old and the new, the age of Israel and the age of Jesus Christ and his followers. Luke then began telling the story of the Messiah, but there were many who wondered if Jesus was who they were waiting for. John’s question to Jesus “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Luke 7:19) is a question that was being asked all throughout the region. Up until this point, John’s ministry had been ahead of Jesus. He came first to prepare the nation of Israel by preaching repentance and baptizing people as they turned away from their sins. He was to make the path level for the coming of the Messiah.

At this point, though, John the Baptist turns back to Jesus rather than continuing to forge ahead. It is time to clarify for those who followed John who the most important person was in the drama.

In Luke 7:21, we see that Jesus had been actively performing miracles and it was based on those activities that he sends John’s disciples back with news. He is the fulfillment of prophecy. He is the Messiah.

John’s followers left and Jesus turned to the crowd. What was it they expected of John when they first saw him? A weak person, swaying with the times, afraid to stand forth with his beliefs? Maybe a wealthy person, dressed in finery. But, no. They went out to the wilderness to see a prophet and they found him. He was called by God, the prophet who would usher in the age of salvation, the forerunner of the Messiah.

We find a bit of a riddle in Luke 7:28. “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

Jesus is telling us that John is the greatest of all those who are members of the nation of Israel. He is the last of them. From this point forward, all who believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation are members of the kingdom of God and this is why Jesus came.

He clearly divides Israel at this point. There are those who had been baptized by John and when they heard Jesus words, acknowledged that “God’s way was right” (Luke 7:29). It didn't matter who they were, even the tax collectors were part of this group. Then, there were those who rejected God and had refused to be baptized by John. They were unrepentant and clung to the old ways, no matter what. John’s message was meant to bring repentance and faith and it pointed to Jesus. Division among the people began separating them, one from another.

They didn't accept John because he was an ascetic – he must be possessed by a demon. They didn't accept Jesus – the Son of Man because he was accused of gluttony since he ate and drank with sinners. But those who are wise will recognize God at work in both men and will have faith in Him.

September 28 - Luke 7:11-17

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Luke 7:11-17 – The Widow’s Son

This account is only found in the gospel of Luke, but the importance of the widow’s son is one that is familiar to the Jews. In 1 Kings 17, we read of the account of the widow of Zarephath. Elijah was sent to her and when her son died, God brought him back to life through Elijah’s actions.  In 2 Kings 4, Elisha returned the Shunammite’s son to life.

The city of Nain continues in existence today and is now a small village south of Mount Tabor. When Jesus approached, there was a funeral processing leaving the city for the hillside to inter the body in a cave. The funeral procession would have been no match for Jesus and his disciples, as well as the crowd that followed him at that time, but he stopped.  If you look closely, you find that Luke mentions two large crowds – one in Luke 7:11 which was with Jesus and the second in Luke 7:12b which was with the mother.

Large numbers of people were on hand to see this amazing display of God’s power coming from his son, Jesus Christ. He saw the need of the widow – without her son, she had no hope for a future in her old age. This healing wasn't simply about caring for the young man, because in Luke 7:15, Jesus gave him back to his mother. It was about the command to care for widows and orphans. Death had no power over this woman’s life, it was restored to her by Jesus Christ.

Because of the large crowds that witnessed this extraordinary miracle, news continued to spread throughout the region. God had come to help his people.

September 27 - Luke 7:1-10

Friday, September 27, 2013

Luke 7:1-10 – The Centurion’s Faith

Luke tells stories differently, but sometimes we miss what he says and does because we are so familiar with the entirety of the story. When the three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) tell a story, each author presents sometimes presents different perspectives. As readers of the whole Bible, we tend to blend their presentations into one story and sometimes miss what the individual gospel writer is pointing out to us.

In this case, the actual healing of the servant is almost an aside. There is so much more happening in this story.

When the centurion’s friends approached Jesus, Luke shows us that they did something a bit unexpected. Rather than urging him to come to the rescue of a very sick man, instead they point out to him what a good man the centurion is. Now, this is a man who is a Roman, not a Jew. Notice that the friends tell Jesus the centurion loves ‘our’ people.  He is probably a Jew in everything but actuality, not having taken the final step – that of circumcision.  Now, as much as he is a friend to the Jews, his refusal to come to Jesus himself is not about Jesus Christ, but shows that this man respects the Jew’s need for separation from outsiders. Since Jesus was a man of God, he wouldn’t be expected to associate with outsiders. Maybe the centurion doesn’t know that Jesus would make that choice in a heartbeat.

The centurion, upon hearing that Jesus was coming near, next sent close friends to tell the Lord that he need not come any closer. He had faith the Jesus could heal the man from afar. That there were friends of the centurion’s in the home helping him care for this servant means that the dying man was more than just a slave. He was also a friend and well-loved by the centurion. Jesus could not help but be moved by the man’s love for the country in which he lives, but for those around him.

His faith and love combined to show that God was already at work in his heart.

And Jesus responds in love and compassion toward the servant and then speaks to those who are following him. They have followed him, listened to him and have seen him perform glorious miracles, yet the one man who has not been part of any of that has more faith since he will trust in the Lord, not having seen a single miracle performed.

Faith is the centerpiece of this story and because of faith, miracles happen.

September 26 - Luke 6:43-49

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Luke 6:43-49 – Two Parables

In Jeremiah 2:21, we read: “Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have turned degenerate and become a wild vine?”

Farm metaphors are very commonplace in Jesus’ teaching since so many of his listeners come from that background. They know very well that you can’t get juicy figs from thornbushes or lush grapes from briers. He uses these metaphors to describe people that they also know very well … people who are good and from them good things are said. At the same time there are evil people who tend to be negative and bile rises up from their hearts.

In his writing, Luke is also very aware of Jesus’ teaching regarding hypocrites and there were a great many who were standing in that crowd. They might have begun as pious, religious Jews, but they had become rotten inside, degenerate like a wild vine.

“Out of the overflow of the heart, his mouth speaks.” Like the basin of a fountain or a spring, the mouth has little control over what comes from the heart. The truth will always find its way.

Is there anything more frustrating than being asked for advice, giving it in good faith and then having it ignored? Jesus wonders the same thing. But, it is so much more important to hear and heed Jesus’ words than any words of ours.

Luke’s description of this parable is a bit different than the one found in Matthew. He pays close attention to the description of the foundation, not the construction of the house. Much as the Sermon on the Plain is the foundation for Jesus’ ministry, his words become a foundation for our lives as Christians.

The man who hears the Lord’s words and then puts them into practice is like a man who digs down deep and laid the foundation for his house in a rock. Luke doesn't contrast stone and sand, as Matthew does, but he contrasts stone and earth … a home with or without a foundation.

The point is – we may call Jesus Lord and we may hear his words, but until we dig down deep and lay them into the foundation of ourselves, they are useless … we will collapse and our destruction will be complete.

September 25 - Luke 6:37-42

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Luke 6:37-42 – Judging Others

Luke makes an interesting juxtaposition of Jesus’ words in the first two verses (Luke 6:37-38). Judgment and generosity seem to be polar opposites. In other words, as you forgive, you will be forgiven … as you give, it will be given to you.

It is not that we are to ignore the wrong things in the world … but judging the deed and judging the person are two separate things. Throughout Luke’s gospel, we find that Jesus expects us to live our lives as Christians, but we must not remove from others, their freedom to make decisions. Jesus clearly tells us that we are not to judge or condemn, so that we will not be judged or condemned. Either of those things places us in the position of being God. On the other hand, we are to be generous with our giving. Because “with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38b).

Beginning with verse 39, Jesus teaches by using metaphors … parables. Luke is speaking to the entire crowd with this passage. In essence, he tells them that as long as they are blind, they cannot teach anyone else.

Christians are called to step out of the darkness and into the light … to leave the old life behind. Luke uses this idea several times. In Acts 26:17-18, when Jesus appears to Paul, he says, “… I am sending you to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light.”  After the resurrection, Luke tells us that “their (the disciples’) eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” (Luke 24:31).

Whether we are committed to the darkness, and thus blind to the light or are blinded by our own behaviors … be it hypocrisy, judgmentalism, self-deception, anger … we must first ensure that we are in a healthy relationship with God before we set about correcting others in their relationship.

September 24 - Luke 6:27-36

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Luke 6:27-36 – Love

While we might be very comfortable with the command that Jesus gave: Love your enemies; this was not part of Judaism. The enemies of Israel were enemies of God. Most of the teachings Jesus offered were simply reworkings of things the Jews had heard all of their lives, but this was new. Imagine hearing, for the first time, that you were to treat those who hated you, cursed you or mistreated you … with love.

The Psalmist continually calls on God to deal with his enemies. In Psalm 3:7, David writes that God has struck all his enemies on the jaw; he has broken the teeth of the wicked.  David’s enemies are equated with wicked and evil. There is nothing that causes him to love them. While this teaching was not one that anyone within the Jewish culture of the time understood, it was something that separated Jesus and his disciples from others.

Jesus called on his followers to pray for those who persecuted them. He never promised that the presence of the kingdom of God would bring safety and peace. He replaces what society promotes as goals to be achieved: success, prosperity and happiness, with a responsibility to care for each other. Give what you own away, do not demand recompense if someone takes something from you, do not return evil for evil – anger for anger. No matter what, Jesus says, do to others as you want them to do to you.

This was a new way of thinking for the Jews and for many of us, it still seems to be difficult to live out.

In Luke 6:35, Jesus repeats his directives – love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.

He then ties this love to its motivation. Your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High.

Love is tied to adoption into the family of God. There are no caveats, there is no discussion.




September 23 - Luke 6:17-26

Monday, September 23, 2013

Luke 6:17-26 – Blessings and Woes

Now that Jesus has chosen his twelve apostles, he leaves the mountain for a level place, where Luke tells us that a large crowd of his disciples as well as people from all over the region had come to listen to him speak and be healed.

When Moses went up the mountain, he encountered God and then returned to communicate to the people what God’s will was for them. The Exodus was a salvation event for the people of Israel and Moses was their leader.

At this point in their history, the people of Israel need more than just a physical exodus from slavery, they need a spiritual re-awakening. Jesus ascends the mountain and when he returns to the plain, he begins teaching salvation of the heart and soul to the people who have come from all over.

In this first section of Jesus’ sermon, he speaks directly to the large group of disciples. That expands to the larger audience soon, but he speaks first to those who follow him. These are the ones who believe in him, who have given up much of their lives to follow him. These are the beginnings of his church, the ones who will face persecution and rejection because of their love for him.

Jesus reminds his disciples and those of us who read these words today that he doesn't come to bring a life of ease and popularity. Blessings come to those who are willing to sacrifice all for the sake of the message of salvation. It’s not an easy lesson to hear, nor is it an easy life to live, but it is what he called his disciples to know.

September 22 - Luke 6:12-16

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Luke 6:12-16 – The Twelve Apostles

Luke begins this passage by reminding us of the necessity in Jesus’ life for quiet time and prayer. We find in Luke, that he tells his readers about this important part of Jesus’ life on earth quite often. Jesus spends the entire night in prayer. After we meet the twelve disciples, he preaches what many call the Sermon on the Plain. In Matthew, it takes up several chapters and is well known as the Sermon on the Mount.  This is a most important sermon for Jesus; it defines his ministry and allows him an opportunity to describe what is required for a person to be in a right relationship with God. It is one of those moments that requires complete concentration and subservience to the voice of God.

In Luke 12, we read that Jesus spent the night praying to God. There is a bit of misunderstanding with this phrase. It does not mean that Jesus spent the night talking to God … in fact, he spent the night listening as well as talking. It was communication … a dialog.

When morning came, he stood before the large number of disciples that had been following him from the beginning and from among those, he separated twelve who would be apostles. By doing so, Jesus was not appointing leaders over the rest, but rather, he was selecting twelve who would be in service. They received no more power than anyone else, this was not an honor. There were no requirements or special talents that these men had. As he called them, he gave them more responsibility.  These men will be tested, they will act as witnesses to the Lord’s life and ministry, and will be expected to carry his message long after his death.

The Church’s foundation comes from these twelve men, much as the foundation for Israel is found in the twelve tribes.

The list that Luke gives is also important. He begins with Simon Peter, who is the rock … the foundation of the church and ends with Judas Iscariot, who is identified as the traitor before we even arrive at that point in the story.

There is very little information given to us regarding these men – only their names. To Luke, that is all that is important. Individually these men are not as important as they are as a group. They are in service to Jesus Christ. It is Jesus’ message that is important.

September 21 - Luke 6:1-11

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Luke 6:1-11 – Lord of the Sabbath

A few things that stick out at me while reading this. It is Jesus who answers the charge of the Pharisees regarding his disciples’ choice to eat grain on the Sabbath. As their teacher … their leader, he is responsible for them. It is Jesus who is training these men into a deeper spiritual life and it is Jesus who takes responsibility for their actions.

As we look at this passage, we also must understand that as Jesus takes responsibility for their actions, the disciples would not knowingly do something that would stand in contrast to Jesus’ teaching. They make plenty of mistakes along the way, but this is a Law … a tradition that has stood for centuries and for them to choose to eat grain after picking it from the field implies that they know more about Christ’s will for them than the Pharisees do.

Jesus is separating himself and his disciples from the norm in Judaism. They do not fast when others do, they eat with sinners and now they interpret the Sabbath quite differently. They are learning from Jesus that it is the person who important, not simple obedience to the Law.

When Jesus declares himself as The Son of Man, to be Lord of the Sabbath, the Pharisees recognize a challenge. They watched him closely, sure that he would give them a reason to accuse him of sin. It didn't take long.

Another Sabbath comes and while Jesus is teaching in the synagogue, a man was there whose right hand was shriveled and useless. Like vultures, they waited in the wings to see what Jesus would do.  But, he knew what they were up to and rather than hide from them, he asked the man to stand in front of everyone.

How could the Pharisees deny Jesus the opportunity to do good, especially on the Sabbath? How could they possibly consider salvation to be a sin because of the day on which it is offered?

Salvation has come to Israel through Jesus Christ. He has completely redefined the Law. He has even redefined the Sabbath. The commandments regarding the Sabbath now take on their true meaning – restoration of individuals to a right relationship with God.

How this infuriates the Pharisees, but their time has yet to come.

September 20 - Luke 5:33-39

Friday, September 20, 2013

Luke 5:33-39 – Fasting

One of the things that often happened at a big dinner party, especially in the Greek world was the opportunity for guests to listen as one or another would expound upon an idea. While at Matthew’s house, it was not surprising for a question to arise and Jesus to give a bit of a speech.

At this meal, the question came up regarding fasting. This was an important part of the life of a Pharisee. In reading Luke 18:9-14, we discover that many of them fast twice a week. We know from Mark 1:6, the John the Baptist stayed away from heavy food and drink. It is likely that his disciples were as prone to an ascetic life as he was.

Jesus responded by referring to a wedding, the one festivity that not only allowed, but required people to break a fast. At a wedding, the emphasis was on rejoicing and fasting was about sorrow and penance.  Luke doesn't tell us that Jesus specifically calls himself the groom, but the inference is there and we begin to see the development of the thought that will follow into Paul’s teaching regarding the Jesus and the Church as his bride.

Jesus begins teaching about the old and the new garment and as anyone who works with cloth knows, an unshrunk piece of cloth will pull away from a well worn garment.  New wine in an old wineskin will burst it as the fermenting process begins. What is Jesus speaking of?

The Pharisees represent the old ways of approaching a relationship with God and there is no way that their methods and those that Jesus introduces will work together. Change is upon them and they want to insist that their ways continue to be in place.

Jesus is building on the old message of faith. It is stable, it is strong, it is from God. But, the Pharisees are a threat because of their insistence that their traditions are more important than God. Everything must change.

September 19 - Luke 5:27-31

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Luke 5:27-31 – The Call of Levi

Something is beginning to happen in the world – a shift is occurring and Luke makes sure that we take notice.

John the Baptist came as a Jewish prophet to preach repentance to his people. Jesus arrived on the scene with an extremely Jewish background, blessed in the temple and he opened his ministry by reading from the scroll of Isaiah. He has spent his childhood and the first days of his ministry identifying with the people of Israel, the chosen ones.

Matthew is a Jew, but he is one of the least of the Jews. As a tax collector he is scorned and is a sinner. As a tax collector, he isn’t necessarily employed by the government. This is a business for him. As the tax man for the region, he liberally collects whatever he wishes to charge and then turns over, not a percentage – but a set amount, to Herod in Galilee or the Roman government in Judea and Samaria. These men exploited their neighbors and could freely charge a tax on anything they dreamed up.

Luke 5:27 tells us that Jesus went out and he ‘saw’ Levi (Matthew). The word that is used here actually means gaze. Jesus gazed upon Matthew intently and thoughtfully. When Matthew looked into Jesus’ eyes, he didn't find anger, but grace. All Jesus had to do was say “Follow Me” and Matthew left everything where it was … the tax booth was filled with his receipts and his money … and followed Jesus.

Just like the Israelites in the desert following the Exodus, the Pharisees are so afraid of anything new and different that they grumble. God is not allowed to change their world. Traditions are much more important than transformation. Luke makes this distinction with their words.

Then, Jesus responds to them. Their righteousness is nothing more than self-righteousness. Everyone needs healing, everyone is a sinner. His task is to heal the sinner and return the world to health and wholeness. The Pharisees represent those whom Jesus came to save, but want nothing to do with what he offers. The sinners at Matthew's table represent the entirety of the world, those who respond to the grace and forgiveness coming from the Messiah.

The shift is happening. The important people in Israel are rejecting Jesus ... the lowly are finding new life.

September 18 - Luke 5:17-26

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Luke 5:17-26 – Jesus Heals a Paralytic

For those of us who have spent a lifetime in church or reading the Bible or generally feeling fairly familiar with the characters of the New Testament, we accept the introduction of some of these people with no question. Luke does the same thing.

He doesn't tell us who the Pharisees are, he simply states that they were sitting there one day as Jesus was teaching. These men, along with the scribes (teachers of the Law) have a front row seat to Jesus’ teaching and miracles. The have come from everywhere. The stage has been set. Fortunately, for all involved, Luke also tells us that “the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick” (Luke 5:17b).

When the friends of the paralytic took him to the roof and lowered him through opened ceiling tiles, Jesus reminded the audience that they were quite different from that group of men who were seated all around, waiting to see what he would do. They operated from a basis of faith. Rather than question his activity, they simply trusted that Jesus would be able to heal their friend.

Jesus immediately declared that the paralytic’s sins were forgiven. He wasn't speaking about any specific sins, but about the broken relationship between the man and God. The actions of the friends and the man indicated faith and a desire to repair the relationship, Jesus recognized the restoration with his words.

The Pharisees and teachers of the law were furious. They said it was because only God forgives, but the truth is that there were plenty of means for a person to gain forgiveness. The temple and its rituals of sacrifice were in place to restore that relationship. A person’s life of righteousness was there to ensure they wouldn't be outside of God’s grace. Those were the proper ways to seek God’s grace.

But Jesus changed all of that with his words. When the paralytic stood up and walked away from the scene, the crowd was amazed.

There is an interesting juxtaposition that Luke is beginning to propose here. Those Pharisees and teachers of the law were seated and didn’t arise to find freedom. They were more paralyzed than the young man whose friends lowered him through the ceiling and would remain so for the duration of this story.

September 17 - Luke 5:12-16

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Luke 5:12-16 – Healing a Leper

Luke picks back up from the words of Luke 4:43 when Jesus says “I must preach … to the other towns also.

“While Jesus was in one of the towns …” (Luke 5:12), he writes, and then begins the story. Jesus’ ministry is expanding and more and more people know who he is and are aware of his travels.

One of the greatest issues for a leper is that their disease separates them from not only the temple and anything that has to do with worshiping God, but the person is separated from everyone else. They live alone and must wear special clothing that alerts everyone to their disease and must also call out that they are a leper and others are to beware. Most skin diseases (all of which were termed leprosy in the New Testament) were passed by touch, so people stayed far from them. In fact, there were special rites performed which essentially banished the person from his former life. From the moment they are termed a leper by the priest, they are as good as dead.

The man recognized Jesus. He had heard of this man and threw himself on the ground in front of Jesus, pleading for his life. Jesus made a choice in that moment – exercising his own will. He reached out and did what no one else in the community dared to do. He touched the leper.

With a single touch, the man was cleansed of all signs of the sickness. He was healed. Jesus commands him to be quiet, and sends him to the priest. Until the former leper goes through the cleansing ceremony and the priest approves him as healed, he will remain dead to the community. For him to come alive again, the message of the priest will be required.

News spread about Jesus and more people came to be healed and to hear his message. When it became too much, Jesus returned to the wilderness. It was where God spoke to John the Baptist and where Jesus met and conquered temptation and it is now where Jesus communicates with God and renews and restores the relationship that gives him strength to continue.

September 16 - Luke 5:1-11

Monday, September 16, 2013

Luke 5:1-11 – Calling the First Disciples

In Acts 1:21-22, we learn that Luke calls the ones who were with Jesus from the very beginning – the moment he was baptized by John – to the day he ascended into heaven apostles. There were more than just the twelve we know by name and after Judas’ betrayal and subsequent suicide, it was from that group they chose another.

That means that each of the people we meet in the gospels were part of a group of people who were constantly with Jesus, long before he called them to be his disciples.  We read in John 1:40 that Andrew, Simon’s brother, was a disciple of John the Baptist. He introduced Jesus to Simon and through them Jesus met James and John, the sons of Zebedee. While they were all familiar with each other, there was a point that Jesus changed the name of the game. He called them to something greater.

This makes a great deal more sense to me than thinking Jesus walked up to several strangers and said “Follow me.”  These men had been with him, listening to him teaching, observing as he performed miracles of healing and exorcism. It was Simon’s mother-in-law who had been healed by Jesus. From there it would be a natural progression to accept the call of the Lord.

When Jesus climbs aboard Simon’s boat in Luke 5:3, Simon was ready to accept the request because his mother-in-law had been healed and because Jesus was already gaining renown as a teacher and miracle worker. It would have been an honor for the man to offer Jesus a place to sit while teaching the people who listened from shore.

The story of nets so full that they nearly sank the boat offers a beautiful look at the Savior who had yet to call Simon into discipleship. Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John were all there when this amazing miracle occurred. They were personally touched by the astounding gift that Jesus gave to them.  It was at this point that Jesus calmed Simon’s fears and called him into a much bigger life.

The response to the gift and then to the call were immediately. They pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed the one who would save the world.

These men responded to Jesus Christ … to his gift, his personhood and his call.

September 15 - Luke 4:38-44

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Luke 4:38-44 – Jesus’ Healing Ministry

How interesting to realize that though we know who Simon is, Luke doesn't say much about him. Why? Because he hasn't introduced the disciples yet. That will happen the very next thing in his retelling of the story. The other gospel writers at least introduce Andrew and Peter, but here, Luke sets the story of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law’s healing before his readers even meet the man. So, Simon is only recognized as the man of the household.

This short story precedes Luke’s telling of the crowds of people who need to be healed from many different things … sickness as well as demon possession. The words from Luke 4:18-19 are being fulfilled. Jesus is releasing the oppressed and healing the sick. Redemption and liberation are at hand.

When he tries to leave Capernaum, the people attempt to detain him … this isn't an aggressive crowd, but one who has finally found their shepherd. They know there will be a terrible sense of loss when he leaves. They love Jesus and can’t bear to see him go. This loss continues to be echoed throughout churches and lives when pastors sense God's calling on them to move. The people remain, but must grow on their own into the relationship God wants to have with them.

It is a difficult lesson that he teaches them. His message isn't for them alone, but for everyone. This is the mission that Jesus carries. When he speaks to the people, the imperative is strong for him. He ‘must’ preach because he was ‘sent.’ And so begins his ministry in the country of Judea.

September 14 - Luke 4:31-37

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Luke 4:31-37 – Jesus Drives Out an Evil Spirit

Jesus left Nazareth and went on to Capernaum, another town in Galilee. According to Luke, he stays in this region for a good portion of time and anchors his ministry here.

When he comes to the synagogue, a man possessed by an evil spirit screams at Jesus. The words used here translate as “what do you want with us” or “what have we to do with you,” but the true meaning is “why are you getting mixed up in our affairs” and actually, rather than a question, the evil spirit accuses Jesus of coming to destroy them.

It recognizes Jesus, offering a title that it knows him by – the Holy One of God. Even the demons recognize who Jesus is.

We might read the words in Luke 4:35, “Be quiet,” as less powerful than they truly are. The NIV tells us that Jesus ‘sternly’ speaks them. The adverb and the command give us a weak idea of the power that Jesus put into his command. This was a demand that had the power of heaven behind it. The word of God has been spoken to subdue evil.

Luke has often used sets of three to emphasize the importance of things. In this passage, he does so again.

Jesus commands the Spirit to “come out of him,” (Luke 4:35), the demon “came out without injuring him” (Luke 4:35b) and the people are amazed at the authority Jesus has that he “gives orders to evil spirits and they come out” (Luke 4:36).  It is little details such as this that Luke uses to weave a story and build our understanding of theology through the narrative. We don’t even notice what it is that he does, but we grow in our knowledge as we read.

The message of Jesus’ power and teaching begins to echo throughout the region. The story began in a small town in Nazareth and soon he will be known wherever he goes.

September 13 - Luke 4:14-30

Friday, September 13, 2013

Luke 4:14-30 – Jesus in Nazareth

Luke reminds us often that Jesus is filled with the Spirit of God. When the angel announced his conception to Mary, it was by the work of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35), the Spirit descend upon him as a dove at his baptism (Luke 3:22) and throughout the story of the temptation, we see that Jesus is ‘full of the Spirit’ and ‘led by the Spirit’ (Luke 4:1). In these verses we begin by reading that he returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14) and in Luke 4:18, Jesus reads a passage from Isaiah 61:1-2 and begins by saying “The Spirit of the Lord is on me …”

It is in Jesus that God’s activity becomes once again visible to the world and it is in Galilee, that for Luke, the story of salvation and its place in history finds its beginning.  In Luke 4:16, the author sets a bookmark in history. Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He was a Jew who spent time in the synagogue on the Sabbath. It was his custom.

Jesus, led by and full of the Spirit, was a man who grew up in a small town in Israel and lived as any righteous Jew should.

On this day, however, everything changed. Jesus stood before the people he knew well and announced the beginning of the Year of Jubilee. Salvation had come. It was fulfilled in him. He linked himself to very familiar history and at the same time, pointed ahead to the coming fulfillment of God’s will.

At first the audience was pleased with him. His words were easy to hear, but the moment he began to speak to them of judgment, they became furious and drove him out of town. He brought salvation first to those whom he knew well and was rejected by them. He began a journey that would offer salvation to the world.

September 12 - Luke 4:1-13

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Luke 4:1-13 – The Temptation of Jesus

Luke’s order of the second and third temptations is different than that found in Matthew’s gospel. More than likely, Luke has chosen this order because it ends the story in the temple in Jerusalem, which is where Jesus’ completes his task on earth.

The first of the temptations takes place in the wilderness.  Jesus follows the path that John took out of the wilderness, traveling in the opposite direction. John heard the voice of God while Jesus experiences a conversation with the devil. At the lowest point of a man’s stamina, he faces temptation. He is hungry.

Just as the Israelites faced a test by God in the desert, (Deuteronomy 8), Jesus passed the test. God sent manna to a hungry people and in response to the devil’s temptation, Jesus quotes directly from Deuteronomy 8:3 – man does not live by bread alone.  He does not need a miracle, he trusts God completely. He proves himself to be the exceptional Israelite, a man who needs nothing more than God.

When the devil leads him to a high place, words that we know from the Old Testament were always locations of Baal worship, he offers Jesus authority and splendor of all the kingdoms of the world, if only Jesus will bow down and worship him.

Jesus doesn't even bother to contradict the devil’s claim that he has control of these kingdoms and has the authority to offer that to anyone, he has need of nothing. His strength and power come from God alone and it is to the Lord our God that he will offer worship and service.

From this point, the two go to Jerusalem, to the highest pinnacle of the temple, and then quotes scripture at Jesus, attempting to establish a connection. But the devil doesn't understand the scripture he is quoting, it is merely words from his mouth. Jesus understands that tempting God is foolish and responds in kind.

The message that each of us can learn from this is that the devil is very powerful, but can not force any of us to do anything. When he failed with Jesus, he left.

September 11 - Luke 3:21-38

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Luke 3:21-38 – Jesus’ Baptism and Genealogy

Matthew 3:13-17 and Mark 1:9-11 give a more complete picture of Jesus’ baptism. There were people who questioned the necessity for Jesus to be baptized since baptism in those days was about repentance and he was supposed to be sinless.

Luke uses the baptism as a transition point between John the Baptist’s ministry and that of Jesus. John was calling the people of Israel together in repentance and it was a very successful ministry. At its peak, Jesus arrived. Salvation was here. God affirmed, through John’s ministry that Jesus Christ was His Son. The earth would never be the same.

The genealogy of Jesus found in Luke is different than that found in Matthew. Early Christians were very interested in the lineage of the Messiah. Luke begins with Jesus and proceeds backwards to Adam, while Matthew, focusing on Israelite history begins with Abraham and proceeds forward. Luke is concerned with Jesus’ availability to all of humanity, while Matthew was more interested in reminding the Jews of their status as part of the covenant God made with Abraham.

Both Matthew and Mark move straight from the baptism to the temptation of Jesus, yet Luke chooses to insert this list in between the two events. By doing this, he points us to Jesus’ humanity.  Jesus has just been affirmed as the Son of God and now Luke takes the time to emphasize his relationship to Adam, the first man.

We are forced to realize that when Jesus is tempted by Satan in the next pericope, he does so as not only God’s son, but someone exactly like us – a man.

September 10 - Luke 3:1-20

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Luke 3:1-20 – John the Baptist Prepares the Way

Luke begins this passage by anchoring it in time. The world Jesus enters at the age of 33 is different than the one he was born into.  In Luke 1:5, Herod was king of all Judea. Now there is a Roman governor. The Herods were nothing more than figureheads. Herod had divided his kingdom among his three sons – Archelaus, Antipas and Philip. Those three were awful. Pontius Pilate was placed in charge of that which Archelaus ruled because he was such an awful man. The Romans removed him at the request of the Jews and Samaritans.

The Herods have no more power, they answer to the Roman emperor – Tiberius. Antipas was in charge of Galilee and Philip was at Iturea and Traconitis.  Annas and Caiaphas are introduced and with Luke’s ordering of the politics at the time, he introduces us to the main character, the one who received the word of God … John.

John came out of the wilderness and into civilization. It was in the wilderness (desert) that John heard God’s word – it was in the area of the Jordan that he proclaimed it.

Luke is writing in apocalyptic imagery … John is the beginning, Jesus signifies the end. All humanity will see … be part of salvation.  John’s preaching is prophetic. He warns the people of impending judgment.

Three times they ask John “What should we do?” (Luke 3:10, 12, 14). He responds to each group who asks by telling them to stop sinning and do good. To the crowd, he calls for them to be generous with the poor; to the tax collectors, John tells them to be fair; to the soldiers, he warns them to be honest and content with what they make.

When the people ask if he is the Messiah, he defers to the one who is to come and once again uses apocalyptic imagery of the threshing floor and separation of chaff from wheat.

John’s message of repentance was not limited to the people gathered around the Jordan. He spoke out against Philip and his wife. For John, the truth was more important than his life and the leader of the Jews had once again brought his people to the brink of destruction. The Messiah would bring judgment and none would be exempt.

September 9 - Luke 2:40-52

Monday, September 9, 2013

Luke 2:40-52 – The Boy Jesus at the Temple

Luke does it again, but many of us might miss this because of the way the NIV and other translations break the sections (or pericopes – per-ih’-kuh-pees) apart.

Luke 2:40 says “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” We then are exposed to the story of Jesus in the temple and Luke closes this pericope with the words, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52).

These might sound repetitive, but what Luke is attempting to do is draw your attention to the importance of the young boy’s wisdom. Without this emphasis, we would sense the amazement of the child’s clever responses and be annoyed along with his parents at his lack of attention to their concerns.

The age … twelve … is also important in this passage.  While girls are considered to be fully grown and could become betrothed to a husband, boys are still just that … boys. Even as a child, Jesus shows wisdom that only the greatest of minds might have.

One commentary explains that some of the greatest Jewish and Greek heroes became so while at a very young age. Josephus, the great historian, tells us that Samuel began to prophesy at the age of twelve. Daniel and Solomon both showed their excellence as boys. In Greek mythos, Cyrus, Cambyses, Alexander, and Epicurus all were boys when they began to stand out among their peers.  Luke wants to make sure his readers know that the Messiah stands far and above even the greatest of their heroes.

This is the last we hear of Joseph. Jesus clearly declares that he is about his father’s business. While this would not have been offensive to the man who was raising God’s son, it is the moment that Luke takes to remind us that the child will grow into the man who is the Savior of the World.

Bovon, F., & Koester, H. (2002). Luke 1: A commentary on the Gospel of Luke 1:1–9:50. Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (111). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

September 8 - Luke 2:21-40

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Luke 2:21-40 – Jesus Presented at the Temple

Luke does something interesting in this passage. In seminary, we call it an ‘inclusio.’ He encapsulates the story between the same word (or phrase or idea). In this case, it is the word “Law” and the location of the incident.

In verse 22, we read that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem because it was time – according to the Law.  In verse 39, we read that they left Jerusalem and returned home because they had fulfilled everything required by the Law.

The Law and the Holy City are then the framework for this final prophecy regarding the child – the Messiah. When Jesus says that he came to fulfill the Law, Luke’s words echo as a reminder that everything was done in accordance with the Law and the prophets.

Notice though, that Joseph and Mary responded to both the law of the land, by traveling to Bethlehem in response to a Roman census and the Law of their faith, by traveling to Jerusalem to present Jesus, offer a sacrifice and have him circumcised. Jesus came as Savior for the Jews as well as the Gentiles. His birth signaled that he was part of the world and God’s chosen people.

Take a moment to notice something else that is interesting in this passage. Luke writes of the Law three separate times (repeating its requirements in Luke 2:24). He also writes of the Holy Spirit three times in introducing Simeon.  The Law and the Spirit are integral and never separated in the life of Jesus Christ. Things are done according to the Law. Things occur through the action of the Holy Spirit. In Christ, it is unified.

Joseph and Mary had come to fulfill their obligations to the Law, but once they were in the Temple, soon discovered that God had something else in mind as well. Simeon, an old and righteous man had been waiting to see the Messiah. He cradled the child in his arms – a gesture of trust from a mother whose baby was still so young.  Mary and Joseph had their own angelic visitations and knew that the baby was God’s son, but still, to hear it from the mouth of someone else astounded them.

Before they could leave, another prophetess named Anna recognized that the Messiah had been born.

From mundane requirements to extraordinary prophecy, this trip to Jerusalem was a symbol of what would come in the life of Jesus, the Christ.

September 7 - Luke 2:8-20

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Luke 2:8-20 – The Shepherds and the Angels

So, why did Luke relate the story about shepherds?

Israel contrasted itself with other nations and peoples who lived in cities or were farmers. Imagery of the shepherd was a strong part of their history. God was their shepherd. Their king and Messiah would be known to them as a shepherd.

In Ezekiel 34, this imagery is pronounced. There might have been bad shepherds in Israel, but God was the true shepherd and his servant David (Ezekiel 34:23-24) would reign over them.

The story of Jesus’ birth is about to go far beyond the tiny little family surrounding a manger. It is time for the world to know that the Messiah has come and the first people who hear the story are those who represent the relationship between God and his people.  They are on the night watch, ensuring their sheep are safe in the open hills.

The angel appears and the glory of the Lord surrounds them. The dark of night gives way to the bright light of God’s glory. Luke subtly reminds us of Isaiah’s words: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2).

When Gabriel announced the coming of John to Zechariah, he struck the man dumb because he couldn't believe. When Mary asked “How will this be since I am a virgin” (Luke 1:34), he gave her a response. In this story, there is no request for proof, but the angel tells the shepherds there is a sign. They will recognize the Savior and Messiah as a lowly infant in a manger.  Luke uses this phrase three times to remind his readers of the lowliness of the Messiah’s entrance into the world – in 2:7, 12, 16).

There has been great tension in the story as we witness the angel’s proclamations. With every sentence, something new happens and the story’s energy is raised. Luke uses the contrast of these glorious moments to the quiet of the scene of the manger to hold the reader’s attention. It seems anticlimactic, but the child is the Messiah. The world is different from that point forward.

September 6 - Luke 2:1-7

Friday, September 6, 2013

Luke 2:1-7 – The Birth of Jesus Christ

These very familiar words give us a great deal of information. Luke, the historian wants to ensure that his readers know when these things occur. With the announcement of John’s coming birth to Zechariah, he tells us that it was in the time of Herod. Now, he expands the Messiah’s birth to the entire world that was known to the people … the world of the Roman Empire. Quirinius was governor of Syria.

Taking a census was part of the power of a ruler. When he needed to know who the people were in his reign, maybe to conscript them into service or to tax them, he held a census. In reading Psalm 87:6, we find that this is in fulfillment of a prophecy: “The Lord records as he registers the peoples, this one was born there.”

When King David attempted to take a census of his people, he was punished by God. Only God may order a census, the king is to depend on God alone. The people do not belong to the king, they belong to God. Caesar Augustus ordered this census so that he could establish what he owned, property as well as people.

A very pregnant bride, a patient husband and a trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem. This young couple did not travel anonymously. They would have been noticed, people knew who they were. Luke is building the story to a climax.

When they arrive in Bethlehem, though she is pregnant and soon to deliver, there is no room. The child is born and laid in a manger. The King of heaven delivered into a trough where animals feed. Very humble beginnings for a very regal Messiah.

September 5 - Luke 1:57-80

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Luke 1:57-80 – The Birth of John

Relatives are always there to help out, aren't they!  Everyone was so happy when Elizabeth finally delivered a son to the family. Her family and friends were gathered around and rather than asking anyone, they decided he should be named Zechariah. Since his father couldn't speak and Elizabeth was … well, Elizabeth was just a woman, naming the child John made absolutely no sense.  Even though she told them what the child would be named, they turned to Zechariah and asked him to respond.

The child born to this elderly couple entered the world and began by causing consternation among those who encountered him.  When Zechariah wrote the words telling people his name would be John, his tongue became loosed and he could speak again, using his first words to praise God. There was something very special about this child. It was apparent to all that the hand of the Lord was with him (Luke 1:66).

In Mary’s hymn of praise, we saw the fulfillment of God’s purpose for Israel. If you look at the tenses used in these two passages, there is something powerful about the use of past tense in the Magnificat and future tense in Zechariah’s benediction.

Zechariah sings out that the Lord, the God of Israel has come

…to show mercy
…to remember his holy covenant
…to rescue us from the hand of our enemies
…to enable us to serve him without fear

When he speaks to John, he tells him that he

…will be called a prophet of the Most High
…will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him

It is by the mercy of God that the rising sun will come

…to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death
…to guide our feet into the path of peace.

John is the one who will prepare the people of God for the One who will usher in the end. It might not be at that moment, but his call to repentance is the beginning of a change in the world which enables all of us to be citizens of God’s home in heaven.

September 4 - Luke 1:39-56

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Luke 1:39-56 – Mary and Elizabeth

Luke really is an amazing story teller. The way he weaves this story in and out, we don’t even realize how he impacts our understanding of the tale.

Mary comes to Elizabeth. Luke directs our attention to the incredible gift that was given to this older woman. That’s the first thing that happens, but within moments of their meeting, John leaps within his mother’s womb. Before he is even born, he is shown to be a prophet. He recognizes within Mary the Messiah and turns the story toward the young woman who will bear God’s son.

Elizabeth cries out, echoing the leap her son takes in her womb. The Holy Spirit uses her words and the body language of her son to point out the importance of the child within Mary to Luke’s readers.

As a scholar, Luke knows the Hebrew scriptures. Mary’s song of praise is reminiscent of the song Hannah lifted up when her son was born (1 Samuel 2:1-10) and is filled with phrases from the Old Testament. Verses are taken from Psalm 34:1-3: “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.”  Hab 3:18 says “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”

Mary’s humility mirrors Hannah’s in 1 Samuel 1:11 “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant.”

In verse 49 we read that “he has done great things,” words which come from Deuteronomy 10:21, “He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen.” In verse 51, we are reminded of the Psalmists words in 89:10 “You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.”

The words from verses 52-53 are taken from a book not in many Bibles: Sirach 10:14 “The Lord overthrows the thrones of rulers, and enthrones the lowly in their place” and in Psalm 98, we find the thoughts from verses 54-55, “He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”

Mary’s words, as told by Luke are a prayer filled with Old Testament references that draw people back into their Scriptures as they are about to be fulfilled.

The last thing Luke does in this passage is tell us that Mary stays with Elizabeth for about three months. He is letting his readers know that there is no question this young woman is a virgin. She has been away from Joseph long enough that nothing else could be true. When she leaves, she doesn't return to Joseph’s home, but to her own house. The story is not yet finished.

September 3 - Luke 1:26-38

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Luke 1:26-38 – Jesus’ birth announced to Mary

When Luke begins to tell this story, he doesn’t give us a lot of background. When we read the account of Gabriel’s announcement to Zechariah, we actually learn a great deal about the man and his surroundings, but not so in this account. We learn that she lived in Nazareth, was betrothed to David and was a virgin.  Another thing that is quite different is that in the case of John, we know a bit more about his lineage … that Zechariah was of the division of Abijah and that Elizabeth had come from the daughters of Aaron. Luke gave his readers a point of historical reference for the prophet who would prepare them for the Messiah.  But at this point, all we know of Mary is her name. It is Joseph who provides the point of reference … to the greatest King of Israelite history, the fulfillment of prophecy from 1 Samuel 7.

Luke proceeds immediately into Gabriel’s announcement. As surprising as the announcement of a child would be to an older barren couple, telling a young virgin that she is about to give birth would be quite shocking.

Mary is very young. Joseph had paid her father for the right to be her husband and until they were married, both Mary and Joseph were subject to the rules of her father’s household.

When Mary questions the angel about the announcement, her response is quite different from that of Zechariah. Where his was couched in unbelief, her question is simply “how will this happen?” (Luke 1:34). This question did not express any disbelief in Gabriel’s words, but was a legitimate question and he responded.

Mary closes this passage with not just submission, but agreement.  She received the message and accepted it. Gabriel’s work was finished. Hers had just begun.

September 2 - Luke 1:5-25

Monday, September 2, 2013

Luke 1:5-25 – The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

Because the Luke passages are so long, I won’t often quote them in the text of these posts. However, you should be able to click on the link I will place at the beginning of each post and get to the Scripture for the day.

Zechariah is a simple priest … not the high priest. In fact, the division of Abijah isn't even one of the important classes of priests.  For two weeks out of the year, he is tasked with officiating in the temple. During the rest of the year, he is home with his wife.

God reminds us of Abraham and Sarah with this couple. They are old and have no children. They’d long since given up dreaming about that possibility. And the story begins.

Luke clearly describes the events and rituals that took place prior to Zechariah encountering God.  Think about that. Luke is a Gentile Christian. He is not a priest, he is not even a Jew. This man knows how to interview people and then relate the story. This is history, not a fable.

As with Abraham and Sarah, God’s announcement of a child to them signified something astounding. He was about to change the world and they were to be at the beginning of the story.  The child would bring them joy, gladness and rejoicing (Luke 1:14). He would be great before the Lord.

Now in Scripture, it was not unheard of for the people of God to ask for a sign. Zechariah’s problem was that he didn't believe the angel (Luke 1:20). Now, how a man could stand in the presence of Gabriel and not believe the words he was saying, I have no idea. But Zechariah did just that.

The people knew that it was taking a long time for Zechariah to emerge. This was a people who were ready and anticipating great change. Their hearts were being prepared.  The recognized that this simple man had a vision. Luke doesn't end the story here, but sends Zechariah home and when it is obvious that Elizabeth is finally pregnant, she emerges from seclusion to celebrate the fact that her humiliation was over. God had blessed her.

The one to prophecy the coming of the Messiah has yet to be born, but God is setting out his plan to save the entire world from sin.

September 1 - Luke 1:1-4

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Luke’s intent is to provide an order of events surrounding the life and death of Jesus Christ in a literary manner. This wasn't to be just a list of occasions, but a story which will engage its readers as well.

It is likely that Luke was highly educated and was Greek … but, who turned to Judaism when he was young. We know from Paul’s letters that Luke traveled with him and thus would not have been in the presence of Jesus. As a historian, he spoke with those who knew Jesus and traveled with him, asking questions, writing down their answers and compiling the information into a cohesive story.

Scholars believe that both his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles were written in the late first century – probably 80 or 90 CE (Common Era), after Paul and Peter had died.  He wrote these two books and sent them to a man named Theophilus, expecting that this man would circulate them throughout the church. He calls Theophilus “most excellent,” affording him an honorary term, which probably means the man was wealthy and had the means to do just that.

Luke is a passionate convert and writes to converted Jews, Gentiles and Christians throughout the region.

He begins with the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus – paralleling their lives until it is time for John to step back, having fulfilled his mission. Jesus begins in Galilee, travels to Jerusalem and then finally finishes his ministry in Jerusalem.

What do we have to do to become a disciple of Jesus Christ? Luke will answer that question along the way, just as he has done for Christians for centuries.