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Luke 7:1-10

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, APRIL 25


SCRIPTURE:  Luke 7:1-10

By:  Jeremy Witt

In today’s reading, we see a shift in what Luke gives attention to, from his ministry focusing upon the Jews to now we see Jesus’ ministering to a Gentile.  This passage is also found in Matthew 8:5-13.  You should go and read that before reading further.  Notice the diversity of characters in race, religion, and economics.  We see Jewish elders standing up for a Gentile, which was not exactly common.  We see Jews speaking up for a Roman soldier which is even more uncommon.  We see the Roman centurion caring about a slave.  We see a Gentile, a soldier no less, caring about his slave.  The social standing of these people are nowhere near the same nor are they close in religion.  Romans typically had a god for everything.  We see Jesus encountered by Jewish elders.  We see the Roman centurion and his trust in Jesus and care for the “lesser” person (by standards of that day), and we see Jesus crossing all these barriers and cultural norms to bring healing by His spoken word. 

Pardon me as my ADD has kicked in.  How did Jesus heal?  He healed by His spoken Word.  What does John 1:1 say about the Word?  In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God and was God.  Who was the Word?  It is Jesus!  Where was Jesus in the Creation account?  Genesis 1:3 is where we see the Word appear.  God spoke what?  He spoke words, and what does He create?  He creates light.  And who is the light of the world?  John 8:12 tells us that it is Jesus is the light of the world.  1 John 1:5-7 has a few words on the light as well.  So Jesus truly healed the slave in Himself and through Himself as He is the Word and the Light.

Now what we also see is that Jesus affects people regardless of race as we most likely have 3 different races here with the Jews, Gentile, and slave.  We see 3 different social and economic situations, and we could have 3 different religions.  The intersection of it all is Jesus who brings them all together.  There really is a whole lot going on in this passage that shows us how Jesus is all-powerful over the biggest social and cultural barriers.  We need to see beyond these cultural barriers as well.

If you read today’s reading along with the Matthew passage, there appears to be a contradiction.  However, what we miss today are the norms of the culture of that day.  People of standing would send messengers to speak on their behalf all the time.  It would be like an ambassador speaking for the President today.  It was considered to be speaking to the person themselves when a messenger would speak.  Therefore, in speaking to the centurion’s messengers, Jesus was dealing with the man himself.  When the messengers speak the words from the centurion of how his servants would do this as he commanded, they were truly carrying out his instructions directly.  Therefore, there is not a contradiction when we understand this practice. 

In my opinion, the most amazing thing in this passage is the faith of the centurion.  He was a Roman soldier which typically are viewed negatively in Scripture especially by the Jews.  They would use their position and power to take advantage of the Jews.  The fact that the man trusted that Jesus would not need to come to his home but only speak the words would be big for a Jew, but even more miraculous for a pagan Gentile to do.  How might we better understand this?  Think of him more as an atheist/agnostic who was trusting and believing in Jesus’ spoken words.  Notice what Jesus says in verses 9-10.  His faith was big and he trusted in Jesus more than anyone else in all of Israel.  That speaks volumes on his faith. 

What does this say to us?  Who do you relate to most in this passage?  Are you like the slave who is sick and just needs healing?  Are you like the Jews who are trying to help a person?  Are you like the centurion who will trust even the spoken word of Jesus?  We can always go deeper into this application, but honestly, I am convicted of my lack of faith.  I find myself doubting more than believing.  Lord, help my faith to be more like the centurion!

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

Lke 6:27-49

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, APRIL 25

SCRIPTURE:  Luke 6:27-49

BY: Josh Boles

Yesterday one of our key points was that Jesus values things very different than a worldly perspective. Today we continue along that theme. Because God values very different things from the human flesh, His standards for living are also completely different. If we begin to value the things that God values, then the way we interact with people will be different. We see this fold out many times throughout our reading today.

In verses 27-36 we read about Jesus telling us to love our enemies. In 37-42 we read about being judgmental. Both of these passages are about our interactions with other people, and we can clearly see that the interactions we as Christ followers have with the world should be very different than that of a human perspective.

Love is a pretty common word in the human vocabulary, and if you think about it has a pretty cheap meaning. I tell people all the time that I love bacon, but do I really LOVE bacon? Would I give up my life for bacon? Would I sell all of my possessions to help bacon? Doesn't this sound so absurd? Yes! it is absurd, but I think these are the kind of things Christ is trying to get us to consider. Just consider John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

It is in verses like this, and in Luke 6:27-36 where a real definition of love is defined. If you skip down to verse 34 we see Jesus talking about these false motives for love. He tells us that it is wrong to do good to get something in return. It is also wrong to just go through life thinking that doing good deeds for people is the true definition of love. Jesus tells us that even sinners do this.

Jesus gave up His life for sinners, and begs us to portray the same kind of love to people. Loving our enemies is not something we think about too often. If somebody hits us, or steels something from us, our natural response is to retaliate. We see here in verse 29-32 that God’s standards are calling us to respond to people differently. We see this play out even further in verses 37-42. We are not here to judge and condemn, we are here to give generously, and forgive. The main concept here is, we are sent here by God to love. But this has to be a love that is viewed from a Godly perspective, not our own selfish motives.

So how do we know if we love with a God focused love? Just look at verses 43-45 and 46-49. Many times throughout the New Testament Jesus tells his disciples that the world will know us by our fruit. We see this here in verse 44. Every human produces fruit. Every action we make, and every word we speak has a subsequent consequence, whether good or bad. Where does the good we do come from? Our heart, as we see clearly in verse 45. By the way, this is the same place the fruit of all the bad people com from as we see in the second half of verse 45. We are all born with a sinning, human heart. We have to let Christ change our fleshly heart.

We see this as Luke concludes this chapter. There are a lot of people in this world who claim Christianity but do not live their lives according to the love of Christ. They are like as Christ says here, “a man who built his house on the ground without a foundation.” What happened? The house crashed to the ground. When we build the foundation of our life, and motives on Christ, we will stand firm.

Why would we walk through life claiming Christ is king but not doing the things Christ has asked us to do. Why would we claim to be a Christ follower and not love in the selfless way that Christ asks us to. We have to be different, so go and be different!

Posted by Josh Boles with

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