Saturday 30 June, 2012

Luke 6:6-11

6 On another Sabbath he went into the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was shriveled. 7 The 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. 8 But 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. 9 Then 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?” 10 He looked around at them all, and then said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was completely restored. 11 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Jesus’ passion for people is amazing – helping the man was more important to Him than sticking to “the rules”.  When the rules got in the way He went back to God’s purpose for the instruction.  Good vs evil, healing vs not healing, work vs not work – what would God want in that situation? Jesus cared so much for the man with the deformed hand that he decided to challenge the way the authorities saw the world and help the man to do life better.

And what about the man with the deformed hand?  Can you imagine the situation?  He was in the congregation in church when Jesus was teaching.  Jesus saw him and his hand and called him to stand in front of everyone.  So imagine how that would have felt.  He could have just stayed where he was or walked out or pretended Jesus wasn’t talking to him but he did walk out and stand in front.  That was pretty brave.  He could probably feel the eyes of the Pharisees on him and Jesus – their anger and their rules.  Not the most friendly place.

How do I react in unfriendly situations?  I need to remember why I am there and keep my eyes on Jesus.

Written by Therese Manning

1 (reply)
  1. Justin Ware says:

    I love the way you put yourself in the healed man’s shoes Therese. I can imagine the thoughts running through his head: “I’m healed!… But the Pharisees, they are so powerful and so discouraging.” It makes me think to times in my own life where I have perhaps hidden God’s grace and blessing on me away from those who I was afraid would not approve.

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Friday 29 June, 2012

Luke 6:1-5

6 One 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. 2 Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” 3 Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He 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.” 5 Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Jesus, and his disciples, the good guys, getting about changing people’s lives, are taken to task over a handful of grains of wheat! According to the letter of the law as described in the scriptures, their accusers are in the position of strength – they are correct. So how does Jesus deal with them – He takes them back to the basis of their accusations – the scriptures and says [paraphrased , “Don’t you remember the part where it says how David did the same thing?….The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath – not the other way around!”

I need to ask: Who is accusing me and what is my response? I want my response to be: “Jesus – the son of Man, is the Lord (the boss) of me – I answer to Him. It’s easy for me to get caught up in what I’m supposed to do or what I’m expected to do, but really – what does Jesus want me to do? That’s the question I need to make sure I answer. Lord help me to hear you speaking so I follow you, not rules.

Written by Linda Quinn

2 replies
  1. Ainslie Woods says:

    Great thing to remember to ask ourselves when the situation gets confusing or heated – what would Jesus want me to do? Thanks Linda.

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Thursday 28 June, 2012

Luke 5:33-39

33 They 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.” 34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.” 36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. If they do, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And people do not pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And none of you, after drinking old wine, wants the new, for you say, ‘The old is better.’”

Jesus is challenged about the devotional life of the disciples, especially in regard to fasting.  Of course fasting is not meant to be on display, but then again we are speaking of the religious people.  Jesus simply makes plain that the disciples will fast. When He has gone. This is an encouragement to us to fast.

He also makes plain that the old and new do not mix well.

Written by Ps.Richard Botta

1 (reply)
  1. Lynn says:

    I was not familiar with wine and the effect of new wine has if poured into old wine skins so this parable interest me.
    Jesus uses interesting parables in His teachings. The Pharisees were those who drinks the “old wine”, who think the way to God’s kingdom is through “religion”, through their own merits . And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, “the old is good”. They find it hard to accept Jesus, whose arrival is like the “new wine”. Jesus is the way. The good news. Jesus accepts all those who follow Him (His disciples), He accepts those who trust Him. He is not saying fasting is not important as He did say His disciples will fast when He is gone.
    ps. Jesus often retreat to quiet place to pray and He does fast.

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Wednesday 27 June, 2012

Luke 5:27-32

27 After 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, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. 29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But 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?” 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus goes against cultural stigmas and invites Levi a tax collector to follow him. Although Levi was rich, he was viewed as a traitor; he had made his wealth by betraying his Jewish people, heritage, and religion. Levi was probably following Jesus, because when the crowds came to listen, he could set up his booth, collect taxes and get richer. While taxing the people, Levi would have seen the miracles, and heard Jesus teach. Jesus would have noticed him & instead of telling him to leave, He said, ‘Follow Me’ He invites Levi to become one of his followers. Jesus doesn’t care that society hates Levi or that he’s a sinner, He just wants Levi to follow Him. Jesus chose the outcast, despised, and rejected – Levi certainly fit that description.

Levi leaves his tax gathering booth, all the money, rose up, and followed Jesus. He invites Jesus to a great feast in his own house, the only people he knew were outcasts like him, so they were invited. Am I prepared to befriend the socially outcast, go to their home for a meal? Will I worry what people will think about me if I mix with the outcasts of society?

In these days of political correctness, will the outcast listen to me & come to a place of knowing they are sick and in need of a doctor. I don’t need to convince them, the Holy Spirit will do that, I just need to be a place where they can see Gods love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.

Written by Cathy Croft

1 (reply)
  1. Megan Cornell says:

    Good one Cathy. It is always easier to mix with our ‘own type’ but we need to reach out to others too. Let’s pray for opportunities.

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Tuesday 26 June, 2012

Luke 5:17-26

17 One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When 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. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” 21 The 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?” 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

Jesus is teaching, inside a large group of religious people were gathered. In fact it seems that there was a larger than normal group there.

Luke records that the power of God was present to heal in a stronger than normal manner. Is this a reference to the gift of healing?

Some men had a friend on a stretcher and they wanted to see him healed. Unable to get in via the door, they go to the roof and make a hole and lower him down to Jesus. Now this is an act of desperation! It shows the great love the men had for the paralysed guy, and how strong their expectation and faith in Jesus was.

Jesus sees their faith. What did He see? He saw them carry this guy onto the roof, make a hole, and lower Him down. He sees their faith and perseverance.

Jesus, clearly realizing one assumes, that the man needs healing, and that the friends had brought him to be healed doesn’t go there. He says, “Your sins are forgiven”.

Now the expectations of the man and his friends are dashed, and Jesus has managed to insight the displeasure of the religious men. A classic lose, lose!

The religious guys claim He is blaspheming, knowing that God alone can forgive sins.

Jesus however had not created a lose lose. He knew what their response would be and used it as an object lesson to show who He was, the Son of Man. It was a question of authority, and to show that He had the authority He healed the man.

The man now gets what he came for his healing and leaves rejoicing. The crowd saw a miracle, and more, great authority, and they too praised God.

So it is clear that God’s power to heal can be ‘more present’ at some times to heal then others.

It’s clear that faith can be seen and Jesus responded to that faith.

It is clear that authority to forgive was seen as the domain of God and Jesus equated Himself with God.

I need to be more aware of when Jesus is present to heal and to ensure my faith can be seen!

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Monday 25 June, 2012

Luke 5:12-16

12 While 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.” 13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 Then 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.” 15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

It doesn’t matter how many times I read this passage, I always stumble over Jesus’ reply to the man with leprosy. The man asks, “Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus has the power to heal, to provide, to comfort… But how often do we fail to ask, under the impression somehow that He is unwilling to involve Himself in our daily lives? I need to meditate on Jesus’ words, let them ring in my ears, “I am willing.”

Written by Beth Waugh

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Sunday 24 June, 2012

Luke 5:1-11

5 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He 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. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So 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. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and 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 fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

These 11 verses tell us about when Jesus met His first group of disciples – a group of fisherman.

The verses that have struck me are 4 – 6.  Jesus asks Peter to go deeper and then he will definitely catch fish – even though he had been fishing all night without catching anything…  Peter isn’t keen at first as he is obviously tired, but follows Jesus request.  The outcome = nets full of fish!!

For me, there have been times when I get caught up in disappointment, distractions, sickness, the world, … things that take my eyes off Jesus.  What if at these times, I chose to “go deeper” with Jesus, to trust His voice – what if a mighty breakthrough was waiting on the other side of the disappointment?  My”net full of fish” outcome.

There are times where I need to take myself out of my comfort zone and push further into the deep with Jesus, where I can’t stand, but I can rely on HIM!  He knows the next part of my plan A & that’s the road I want to travel on – even when I can’t see what’s coming up.  Scary but exciting, giving Jesus the control!

Written by Ps. Mandy Miller

1 (reply)
  1. Ainslie Woods says:

    Peter teaches us much about trust here. As Mandy said Peter had tried to fish all night and it was what he did for a living – he knew a thing or two about how to catch fish! Jesus was a carpenter so what would he know about fishing yet Peter took Him at his word and experienced a miracle. I often find it harder to hand over stuff to God that I am familiar with or I think can manage myself. Thanks for the encouragement Mandy!

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Saturday 23 June, 2012

Luke 4:38-44

38 Jesus 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. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. 40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, 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 Messiah. 42 At 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. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Jesus attended the synagogue and it was after this that he performed many miracles ie. healing the sick and casting out demons.  Theory first and then the practical outworking of God’s purposes.

People begged Jesus to heal Simon’s mother in-law.  They knew Jesus could make her well.  There was faith in that room and ultimately that village because they were all healed.  Once Simon’s mother in-law was healed she immediately went on to do what God called her to – serve!

Jesus pleased his heavenly Father above pleasing men and women.  This is evident in his deciding to move onto the next town to preach. It would have been easy to stay in a place where you are so wanted and needed. He chose to be obedient and move on not knowing how he would be received in the next town.

A desire for the supernatural is stirred by the reading of this passage.  To see people set free and God’s awesome power displayed.   Get clued up first though ie get understanding on the topic first. This understanding will help build faith.  We see Jesus attended the Synagogue where knowledge was obtained from Scripture. Jesus also shows us the importance of getting away from it all and seeking God’s will as opposed to what is popular or reasonable.  Jesus intentionally went somewhere isolated where he could hear God clearly, free from distraction.  We need to do the same.

Written by Ainslie Woods

1 (reply)
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Friday 22 June, 2012

Luke 4:31-37

31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. 33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! 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!” 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. 36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

The passage in Luke 31-37 describes an intriguing account of a man who is possessed by a demon. When encountering demon possession in the bible, it is useful to bear in mind CS Lewis’s accurate analysis of our tendency to take the wrong approach when we reflect on the role that demons play in life:
‘There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They (demons) themselves are equally pleased by both errors.’

I myself have made both errors in the past, so it is helpful for me to be mindful of my beliefs regarding demons, who are very real and active in the world, without getting carried away.

The intrigue in the biblical passage for me initially is that this demon, although speaking against Jesus, is openly and publicly acknowledging him as the “Holy One of God”

On deeper reflection, it is noteworthy that this man is “in Church” despite being possessed. If you met someone whom you suspected was under demonic influence, how would you respond? Would you invite them to Church?

Do you hold a view of demons that is compatible with the bible, or do you base your beliefs on film and television?

Written by Justin Ware

3 replies
  1. Linda Quinn says:

    We are saturated today with the “supernatural” in our entertainment and it is so easy to respond as C.S. Lewis described. The truth is there is evil at work around us and it is to be neither dismissed nor feared. Jesus amazed the people with His authority in this passage – first in how He taught and then in how He handled the situation with the demon possessed man. He responded perfectly and has given us the authority to do the same. I know I have that authority, but I am challenged today to walk in it.

  2. Catherine Croft says:

    Demons don’t have a problem believing that Jesus Christ is Lord, but this will try to stop the truth being spoken, as it is the truth that will set people free.

  3. Allen Leu says:

    Thanks Justin. Yes, No one like demons. But thanks God as the bible said: ….you have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1John 4:4.

    So, I am not afraid of it, because Jesus is the greatest 🙂 Amen.

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Thursday 21 June, 2012

Luke 4:23-30

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’” 24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I 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. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy[a] in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They 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 off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Today’s bible story is about Jesus’ work in Nazareth.

In Nazareth people were amazed at the gracious words that came out from Jesus and said: “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

Jesus challenged their attitude because He knew what was in their minds?

No matter what Jesus had done in Capernaum, Nazareth’s people were unwilling to accept His words because of His low identity – “the son of Joseph” (similarly Nathanael said: Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? John1:46)

But, Jesus still preached the gospel first to His own town; even though He knew “no prophet is accepted in his own country”

Also, Jesus warned them that if Nazareth/Jewish people did not accept Him, God’s salvation would go to the Gentiles who are originally unrelated to God   – like Elijah was sent only to a widow in Zarephath in Sidon and Elisha cleansed only the Naaman the Syrian.

Today, how do I see/identify other people in Church?  By their outside or inside?

How do I see/treat God’s warning in my life? How do I respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit that has spoken to me?

Written by Allen Leu

2 replies
  1. Justin Ware says:

    I love the way that Jesus shatters the expectations
    of his audience in the Galilean synagogue, but the reaction of the audience is quite shocking.

    It makes me ponder: how do I respond in situations where my “doctrine” is challenged? If I am honest, I probably lean towards becoming defensive, which others may perceive as being self righteous. For me this verse really calls me not to put God in a box and not place expectations on him that I’m not happy for him to break.

  2. Ainslie Woods says:

    Its interesting to note that Jesus still preached the gospel to his own town even though many would not accept him or his teachings. He did it because among the many who dismissed him were some that would believe and be transformed. I’m encouraged as we face a similar situation today. There will always be some that believe. Thanks for the reminder Allen.

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