2015.) Luke 7:1-35

January 20, 2017

Luke 7:1-35   (NIV)

The Faith of the Centurion

1When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6So Jesus went with them.

The centurion had an unusual attitude towards his slave. Under Roman law, a master had the right to kill his slave, and it was expected that he would do so if the slave became ill or injured to the point where he could not work.

–David Guzik

He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

Psalm 146:5 (NLT)

Joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.

9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son

“Christ Raising the Dead” watercolor by Louisa Anne, Marchioness of Waterford (Tate Collection, London)

11Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

Psalm 142:3   (NRSV)

When my spirit is faint, you know my way.

14Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

Psalm 30:11 (NLT)

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing!

16They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” 17This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus and John the Baptist

18John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”

20When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’ ”

Why does John ask this question, especially after all the miraculous signs that would demonstrate this to him? Weren’t all the prophecies through his father Zacharias (Luke 1:13-17 and 1:67-80) and the voice from heaven at Jesus’ baptism (Luke 3:21-22) enough proof?

Matthew tells us that John asked this question from prison (Matthew 11:2-3). Even John the Baptist probably had some misunderstanding of Jesus’ mission, and thought: “If He really is who I thought He is, why am I in prison?” John probably asked this question because of discouragement in prison.

“John was already in prison, and things began to appear incomprehensible to him. He had expected that Christ would speedily destroy the powers of darkness and judge the unrighteous. But instead of doing this, He leaves him, His forerunner, helpless in prison.” (Geldenhuys)

It is often the same with us. Our discouraging circumstances often cause us to forget or doubt who Jesus is.

–David Guzik

21At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 22So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 23Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”


from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
–Luke 7:23   (King James Version)

All of us are sometimes troubled by questions. Why is the secret of healing not opened more fully? Why is that key not put into wise and loving hands? Why does He whose touch has not lost its ancient power not come immediately and touch and heal? Why have the wicked such awful power? Why are we ourselves sometimes like the little ship on the sea of Galilee beaten by the winds? And even after we have heard our dear Lord’s Peace, be still, why is it that there is not always instantly a great calm, a lasting calm? Why do the winds return again?

We could go on forever, piling question on question. Why? Why? Why?

But faith is not “trusting God when we understand his ways” — there is no need for faith then. Faith is trusting when nothing is explained. Faith rests under the Unexplained. Faith enters into the deep places of our Lord’s words, And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me. Faith, having entered into those deep places, stays there in peace.

24After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27This is the one about whom it is written:
” ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
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.”

29(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

31“To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
” ‘We played the flute for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not cry.’
For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ 35But wisdom is proved right by all her children.

Reflections on wisdom:

Wisdom is not proven by argument or debate.  Wisdom is proven over time.
–Henry T. Blackaby

There are four kinds of people:
Those who know not, and know not that they know not.  These are foolish, and should be avoided.
Those who know not, and know they know not.  These are the simple, and should be instructed.
Those who know, and know not that they know.  These are asleep; wake them.

Those who know, and know they know.  These are the wise; listen to them.
–Arab proverb

Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.
–Psalm 111:10 (NLT)



HERE  is “Faith Is the Victory,” sung by the Fountainview Academy Choir, from British Columbia, Canada.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Faith.   https://redeeminggod.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/faith-570×387.jpg
centurion.   http://www.legionxxiv.org/centurionpage/centurion_025.jpg
Waterford.     http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999961&workid=15979&searchid=4754&tabview=image
John baptizing Jesus.    https://joykidsbiblelessons.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/19_john_baptist_jpeg_1024.jpg
Faith.   https://beahealthnuttoo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/faith.jpg

2014.) Luke 6:27-49

January 19, 2017


Luke 6:27-49  (NIV)

Love for Enemies

27“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael

Luke 6:28 —  Pray for them which despitefully use you.

Are there any who are making your burdens heavier than they need be? Sometimes very small things can make our burdens feel heavier. The temptation always is to resent this, and feel ruffled.

The Lord Jesus says to us, “Pray for those who compel you to carry burdens.” Don’t talk about them to others, unless that talk will bear the scrutiny of the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t talk about them to yourself. Look up to your Father for them. Pray that their burdens may be lightened. (Perhaps they have some of which you know nothing.) Pray, and as you pray, love will flow into your heart for them.

29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Proverbs 20:22 (CEV)

Don’t try to get even.

Trust the LORD,

and he will help you.

32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Psalm 141:4 (NLT)

Don’t let me drift toward evil
or take part in acts of wickedness.

Judging Others

37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

39He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

41“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

A Tree and Its Fruit

43“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.



How to produce good fruit:  HERE  is Don Francisco and “Steeple Song.”


The Wise and Foolish Builders

46“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

Hosea 4:1 (ESV)

Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel,
for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,
and no knowledge of God in the land.

47I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

A Secure Foundation

Faithful God,

Your greatest desire for me is for me to be happy and holy, and the only way to realize your dream for my life is to build it on a secure foundation.

A house built upon the sand will quickly fall to the ground. I could easily reduce religion to an external facade, empty actions that have no meaning, simply trying to be good. But this falls far short of true religion, which is a living relationship with you through Jesus Christ. If I build my life on any foundation other than that of your unconditional love graciously received in your Son, I build on sand.

Jesus is a rock, a sure foundation, upon which to build a life worth living. If I entrust my life to him, then I will want to do your will, I will strive to fulfill the law of love in all things, I will reflect his humility in my relationships with others, I will seek to be patient, gentle, and meek, and I will find the capacity to love you with all my heart.

So I ask myself, in prayer this day, upon which foundation an I building my life? Have I built upon the foundation of simply believing the right things, acting the right ways, doing good works, attending the right church? Oh, these are the least part of the religion of Jesus Christ!

Or am I building my life on a dynamic and living relationship with you? Here is the foundation that will stand the test of time! Add meekness of wisdom and contentment to my seriousness. Enable me to love the sinner while speaking the truth in love. Remove worldly desires for wealth, honors, and pleasures from my heart. Empower me to love my neighbor just as I love myself and to be merciful and kind to everyone I meet. Purify my heart and create a welcoming space there for you to reign forever. Amen.

–from Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit, by Paul Chilcote


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
John 14:15.   http://knowing-jesus.com/wp-content/uploads/John-14-15-In-You-Love-Me-You-Will-Keep-My-Commandments-gold-copy.jpg
man carrying a burden.    http://irregulartimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/burden.jpg
forgive stone.   http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3025/2653504363_c90fd97195.jpg
log in eye cartoon.    http://www.joe-ks.com/archives_jun2004/EyeSpeck.jpg
figs and grapes.  http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/elvinphoto/elvinphoto0909/elvinphoto090900181/5626162.jpg

2013.) Luke 6:1-26

January 18, 2017

Jeremiah 8:21-22 (NRSV) For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?

Luke 6:1-26  (NIV)

Lord of the Sabbath

1One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels. 2Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

3Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 5Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

There was nothing wrong with what the disciples did. Their gleaning was not considered stealing, according to Deuteronomy 23:25.

The problem was with the day on which they did it. The Rabbis made an elaborate list of “do” and “don’t” items relevant to the Sabbath and this violated one of the items on this list. When the disciples did what they did, in the eyes of the religious leaders they were guilty of reaping, threshing, winnowing, and preparing food. Four violations of the Sabbath in one mouthful!

–David Guzik

6On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.

9Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”

10He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”

luke6-withered-handHe did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

The lesson is:  human need is more important than religious ritual.

Oh, to love our God and our neighbors more than we love the forms of “religion!” What God really wants is mercy before sacrifice (Hosea 6:6)! Love for others is more important than Sunday morning rituals (Isaiah 58:1-9)! The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart; these, O God, You will not despise (Psalm 51:17).

The Twelve Apostles

Greek Orthodox icon of the twelve apostles

12One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

What is an apostle? The idea behind the ancient Greek word for apostle is “ambassador.” It describes someone who represents another, someone who is sent carrying a message from the sender.

Blessings and Woes

17He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, 18who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, 19and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

20Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.


21Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.


Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.


Christians in the state of Orissa, India, have had their homes and churches destroyed in anti-Christian violence.

Christians in the state of Orissa, India, have had their homes and churches destroyed in anti-Christian violence.

22Blessed are you when men hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.


23“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.


24“But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.


25Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.


Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.


26Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.



HERE  is the Ken Burton arrangement of “There Is A Balm,” for Jesus comes bringing healing and peace and instructions for how to live a life worth living.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
physician with child.    http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Third_Party_Photo/2008/10/27/physician__1225737999_3389.jpg
withered hand.   http://celebrationpublications.org/sites/default/files/blogart/patmarrin/withered%20hand_0.jpg?1421852642
Twelve apostles.  http://faithseekingknowledge.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/12apostles.jpg
street person sleeping.    http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/4111599.jpg
hungry child.   http://www.cuisineandhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/good.jpg?x41269
weeping man.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/mourning.jpg
burned home.   http://www.asianews.it/files/img/india_orissa_donna_%28400_x_267%29.jpg
fancy house and car.   http://financialjuneteenth.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/eddy-curry-house-foreclosure.jpg
fat man.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/46/1a/6f/461a6f162df7c03efcc9bce7202892ba.jpg
women laughing.    https://www.walkerslegacy.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/4-women-laughing-black-and-white-800×600.jpg
people applauding.   http://www.everesttraining.com/PeopleApplaudingHRAGD.jpg

2012.) Luke 5:17-39

January 17, 2017

“Let down to rise up” by Darlene Slavuajk, 2001

Luke 5:17-39   (NIV)

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

17One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.

20When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

When he forgave the paralytic, Jesus was not saying that the man was especially sinful, or that his paralysis was directly caused by sin; rather He was addressing the man’s greatest need, and the common root of all pain and suffering . . .

21The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

. . . And there was no error in the thinking of the scribes and Pharisees. It is true that only God can forgive sins. Their error was in failing to see that God was right there among them in the person of Jesus.

This reminds us that only God can solve our sin problem. We can’t even forgive ourselves, because we don’t have the power and authority to forgive ourselves. We must be convinced of God’s forgiveness in our lives.

–David Guzik

22Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….” He said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

Considering the paralytic’s friends:

“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

Galatians 6:2 (NLT)

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

The Calling of Levi

“Jesus Summons Matthew to Leave the Tax Office” by Jan Sanders van Hemessen, 1536 (Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany)  I like how, through the busy-ness of the people at the desk, Jesus meets Matthew’s eyes.

27After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

So far, Jesus has handled a paralytic, a leper, and a demoniac. Now He is ready for the worst of the group-a tax collector. Tax collectors were despised as traitors and extortioners. As a class they were excommunicated from the Jewish faith.

He left all: “This must have meant a considerable sacrifice, for tax collectors were normally wealthy. Matthew must have been the richest of the apostles.” (Morris)

–David Guzik

29Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”

31Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Isaiah 43:3   (NRSV)

I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Jesus Questioned About Fasting

33They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”

34Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

36He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”


C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity gives the same idea in a different metaphor:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”



Jesus still calls people, in unusual ways, to come and follow Him. From Wikipedia:

During his 1748 voyage to England, John Newton had a spiritual conversion. The ship encountered a severe storm off the coast of Donegal, Ireland and almost sank. Newton awoke in the middle of the night and, as the ship filled with water, called out to God. The cargo shifted and stopped up the hole, and the ship drifted to safety. Newton marked this experience as the beginning of his conversion to faith. He began to read the Bible and other religious literature. By the time he reached Britain, he had accepted the doctrines of  evangelical Christianity. The date was 10 March 1748, an anniversary he marked for the rest of his life. From that point on, he avoided profanity, gambling, and drinking. Although he continued to work in the slave trade, he had gained sympathy for the slaves during his time in Africa. He later said that his true conversion did not happen until some time later: “I cannot consider myself to have been a believer in the full sense of the word, until a considerable time afterwards.”

Newton later became an Anglican priest and an ardent Abolitionist. One of the most beautiful fruits of Newton’s repentance and choice to follow Jesus was his writing of what is probably the most famous Christian hymn in the world.  HERE  is “Amazing Grace” sung by Judy Collins.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Slavujak.  http://www.biblicalartist.net/originaloils.html
praying friend cartoon.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/32b4c-prayingcartoon.gif
van Hemessen.  http://www.abcgallery.com/H/hemessen/hemessen4.html
house.    http://media.ldscdn.org/images/videos/welfare/pef-self-reliance-curriculum/2014-06-1360-he-is-building-a-palace-768×432-still.jpg

2011.) Luke 5:1-16

January 16, 2017

“Jesus teaches from the boat” drawing by Annie Vallotton,              for the Good News Bible

Luke 5 (NIV)

The Calling of the First Disciples

1One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

5Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

The particular ancient Greek word Luke used for Master is unique to Luke’s Gospel. The word has the ideas “commander,” “leader,” or perhaps even “boss.” With this title, Peter shows he is willing to take orders from Jesus.

We have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net: Peter could have come up with any number of possible excuses.

– “I worked all night and I’m tired.”
– “I know a lot more about fishing than some carpenter.”
– “The best fishing is at night, not in the day time.”
– “All these crowds and loud teaching has scared the fish away.”
– “We already washed our nets.”
– “Jesus may know religion but He doesn’t know fishing.”

Peter didn’t make such excuses, and His faith in Jesus was well rewarded. Peter understood that he probably knew more about fishing than a carpenter did and that he had worked all night without any results. The only reason why Peter did what Jesus asked was because he believed in Jesus, not because the circumstances seemed right.

It makes all the difference in the world when our work is directed by Jesus. We can work-even work hard-for a long time with no results. But when Jesus directs our work, we see results.

How many harvests do we miss out on because we make excuses instead of doing what Jesus said?

–David Guzik

“Peter’s Catch of Fish” by Eric de Saussure, 1968.

6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

Jeremiah 3:12-13 (NLT)

I am merciful.
I will not be angry with you forever.
Only acknowledge your guilt.

9For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” 11So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

The Man With Leprosy


12While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Isaiah 38:16 (ESV)

O Lord, restore me to health and make me live!

13Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him.

14Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

15Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.



This song was  suggested to me by my son Devlin.  He said the idea of the song fits Peter, the leper, and tomorrow, the rest of the chapter — the paralyzed man and the tax collector — yes, all of them! And perhaps all of us, too!  What do you think?  Lyrics follow —  HERE  is Jars of Clay and “Dead Man / Carry Me.”

I’ve got a lot of things on my mind.
I’m looking at my body
through a new spy satellite.
I try to lift a finger,
but I don’t think I can make the call.
So tell me if I move,
’cause I don’t feel anything at all.

Oh, oh, oh…

So carry me!
I’m just a dead man,
lying on the carpet,
can’t find a heartbeat.
Make me breathe!
I wanna be a new man,
I’m tired of the old one;
out with the old plan.

I woke up from my dream
about an empty funeral.
But it was better than the party
full of people I don’t really know.
Well, they’ve got hearts to break and burn,
dirty hands to feel the earth.
I’ve got something in my veins,
but I can’t seem to make it work…
…won’t work.

So carry me!
I’m just a dead man,
lying on the carpet,
can’t find a heartbeat.
Make me breathe!
I wanna be a new man,
I’m tired of the old one;
out with the old plan.

Can you find a beat… Inside of me?
Any pulse? Getting worse…
Any pulse? Getting worse…
Inside of me… Can you find a beat?

Carry me!

I’m just a dead man,
lying on the carpet,
can’t find a heartbeat.
Make me breathe!
I wanna be a new man,
I’m tired of the old one;
out with the old plan.

Carry me!
(Carry me!)
I’m just a dead man,
lying on the carpet,
can’t find a heartbeat.
Make me breathe!
(Make me breathe!)
I wanna be a new man,
I’m tired of the old one;
out with the old plan.

Album: Good Monsters (2005)


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Vallotton.   http://www.artbible.net/3JC/-Mat-13,01_Parable%20The%20sower_Parabole%20Le%20semeur/20%20VALLOTTON%20JESUS%20TEACHING%20FROM%20A%20BOAT.jpg
De Saussure.  http://www.artbible.net/3JC/-Mat-04,18-First%20disciples%20_Premiers%20disciples/20%20DE%20SAUSSURE%20LA%20PECHE%20DE%20PIERRE.jpg
Jesus heals a leper.   http://celebrationpublications.org/sites/default/files/blogart/patmarrin/unclean.jpg?1389365923

2010.) Luke 4:14-44

January 13, 2017

The city of Nazareth is set among the hills of Galilee.

Luke 4:14-44 (NIV)

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,

Jesus comes back from his battle with Satan stronger than before. By God’s grace, we, too, can be made stronger in faith when we resist the devil and flee temptation.

and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him,

As Jesus sat, He prepared to teach instead of returning to His seat among the congregation. Everyone was wondering how He would explain what He had just read. He said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” In this, Jesus answers two questions.

  • “Who did Isaiah write of?” Jesus answered that question, “Isaiah wrote of Me.”
  • “When will this come to pass?” Jesus answered that question, “Isaiah wrote of now.”

–David Guzik

21and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”


2 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV)

Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ”

24“I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.

The story is found in 1 Kings 17:7-16.

Her story is found in 1 Kings 17:7-16.

27And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

Namaan's story is found in 2 Kings 5.

Naaman’s story is found in 2 Kings 5.

28All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.

This is quite a response to a sermon. These people were angry that there was something wrong with them, that their request for a miracle was denied, and that Jesus implied that God loved the Gentiles too.

Obviously, Jesus is not being truly seeker-sensitive here. Some today might say that He needed help in tailoring His message so that it would be easier and more enjoyable to hear.

–David Guzik

29They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. 30But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Well, now. They wanted a miracle, and Jesus did an unexpected one right in front of them, escaping miraculously!

Jesus Drives Out an Evil Spirit

The main feature for the Christian pilgrim at Capernaum is the synagogue. The limestone remains of the synagogue are most likely dated to the fourth century AD, and are built on the remains of first century AD synagogue base made of basalt. The first century synagogue would have been in existence at the time of Christ.

31Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. 32They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.

33In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evilspirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34“Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

Such irony! The demons know who Jesus is, but his friends and neighbors in his hometown do not.

35“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

36All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!” 37And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

Jesus Heals Many

A space-ship like church has been built over what is claimed to be Simon Peter’s house. Glass in the church floor allows one to see down into the house.

38Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

40When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ.

42At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Jesus knows the value of solitude and time alone with God. Jesus is clear on his mission, which is not to amaze people with miracles, although that may be a part of it, but to preach the good news of the kingdom of God. Let us pray for a deeper understanding of both these truths in our own lives.



HERE  is a song which will get your weekend off to a joyful start! Graham Kendrick and “Jesus put this song into our hearts.” Join with all the people in these stories who are rejoicing in the kindness and wholeness Jesus has brought to them!


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
today.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/0c410-today-logo.gif
Capernaum.  http://morrismurdock.com/tours/blog/images/stories/l4-capernaum-syn.jpg
Elijah and the widow of Zarephath.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/aa95d-p_0004.jpg
Naaman in the river Jordan.   http://www.wholeheartedmen.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/naaman-healed.jpg
St. Peter’s house.  http://www.padfield.com/israel/Capernaum/p7hg_img_1/fullsize/saint-peters-house.jpg

2009.) Luke 4:1-13

January 12, 2017

“In the Wilderness” by Ron DiCianni.

Luke 4 (NIV)

The Temptation of Jesus

1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.


“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces. God hath many sharp-cutting instruments, and rough files for the polishing of His jewels; and those He especially loves, and means to make the most resplendent, He hath oftenest His tools upon.
–Archbishop Leighton

I bear my willing witness that I owe more to the fire, and the hammer, and the file, than to anything else in my Lord’s workshop. I sometimes question whether I have ever learned anything except through the rod. When my schoolroom is darkened, I see most.
–C. H. Spurgeon

He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.'”

John 4:34 (ESV)

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”

5The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”

8Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”

Matthew 16:15-17 (The Message)

Jesus pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am.

9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10For it is written:
” ‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'”

12Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”


Mark 8:33 (NLT)

Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Jesus rebuked Satan by quoting three times from the book of Deuteronomy:

1) Deut. 8:3 — Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

2) Deut. 6:13 —   Fear only the Lord your God; you shall worship him.

3) Deut. 6:16 — You must not test the Lord your God.


from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael 

“Every weapon by sharpening becomes sharp,” says the Tamil proverb. How can we sharpen our sword? In one sense we cannot and need not, for the Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God never grows blunt. But we can immensely sharpen our powers of using it.

During the temptation in the wilderness our Lord met the tempter with exactly the right word. We sometimes forget that this showed He had read the book of Deuteronomy so carefully that He knew it from end to end. He knew just what room in the armory held the exact weapon He wanted. As He had no Bible with Him in the wilderness, it is certain that He knew those words by heart. The word He had read had become a part of Himself.



Speaking of truth on the high places — HERE  is an older James Taylor singing “Go, Tell It on the Mountain.”


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
DiCianni.  http://www.tapestryproductions.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Ron-DiCianni-In-the-Wilderness-1-360×570.jpg
bread.   http://www.jewishsupply.com/assets/images/sabbath/challah-bread-recipe-photo-420-ff0404schooa091.jpg
cross on hill.   http://kathleenrouser.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/cross-1.jpg
God/Satan chart.    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/15/d8/a1/15d8a1999197da27374e911b1cba769a.jpg
Bible reading guy.  http://midweekjolt.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/bible-reading-guy-782907.jpg