Thursday 31 October, 2019

Luke 9:57-62

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59 He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” 62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

I’ve often read this passage and thought Jesus sounded harsh – surely the second man could have buried his father first and then followed Jesus? Or the third man could have said goodbye to his family before following Jesus?

But Jesus is calling us to respond ‘yes’ to His call, NOT ‘yes, but first…’ There are times when my son asks me to play cars with him and I say ‘yes, but first let me put this load of washing out, or finish this text message, or have a shower’. But often one thing leads to another (for example I notice the dirty dishes on the way to the laundry!) and I’m sad to say that sometimes I never actually get to the cars.

There is ALWAYS more to do in life. There are always good things we have on our list to do. But if Jesus is asking something of us, whether it be to pray or to act or to simply to sit before Him, our answer cannot be ‘yes, but first’, it has to be ‘yes’. This will involve costs, but the God who is asking this of us is no stranger to cost. Jesus paid the ultimate cost because He wanted us for eternity. What cost could compare?

Written by Rhi Mellor

3 replies
  1. Kim Fleming says:

    Love your thoughts Andrew. It’s so easy to say ‘yes but first’ thanks for the reminder to always just say ‘yes’

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Wednesday 30 October, 2019

Luke 9:51-56

51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.

How do I respond when someone opposes me?

I can think of a number of times in my life, where I needed to get something important done, but for one reason or another, someone, or a group of people, felt the need to oppose what I was doing.

Recently I stood up for someone in my local community who had been unfairly treated by a government department, but it seemed impossible to get any sort of reconciliation or even an acknowledgement that the treatment of this person was unfair. After many many hours of advocacy, I still don’t feel like I have gotten anywhere because of the level of opposition.

I must say that I can identify with the disciples here. My human nature is to want to overcome opposition. My human nature is also that I want to make life difficult for those who make things hard for me.

But the message of Christ is demonstrated here as much as it is spoken in Matthew 4:43-44:

“You have heard it said “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy” but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

I honestly think that this is one of the hardest and most costly messages that is central to the mission of Christ. Not just in the challenge of actually living out this very challenging call to be a person of peace, but also in the challenges of how nuanced it can be to “love my enemies” and how much I am meant to “pray for those who persecute me”.

Do I just pray that they would see the light? Do I pray for their salvation in Christ? Or do I genuinely pray for their wellbeing and prosperity in the exact opposite spirit to what my human nature desires? And how much am I meant to have my actions follow my prayers!!?

Lord, I thank you for this word today and the challenge that it brings to me. Father help me to truly continue to wrestle with the principles that you call me to live by.

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

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Monday 28 October, 2019

Luke 9:43b-45

While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples, 44 “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

As I read this short passage, a phrase immediately stood out to me: “… they did not understand what this meant… and they were afraid to ask Him about it”.

It got me thinking, when have I been afraid to ask questions?

Some options that came to mind (there are probably others):

  • I’ve been afraid that the person might get angry/annoyed with me for asking questions
  • I’ve been afraid that I’d look silly or ignorant for not understanding something, so I kept quiet
  • I’ve been afraid to ask questions because I really didn’t want to know the truth since the answer was not what I wanted to hear

The writer, Luke, doesn’t tell us why he and the other disciples were afraid to ask Jesus questions on this matter, so we are left to wonder why. But I will try to address the 3 possible options I listed above.

  • Nowhere in the Bible do we see Jesus or the Father get annoyed with people for asking questions unless they were asking for the purpose of trying to prove their own point – Sincere questions are welcomed by God
  • Nowhere in the Bible do we see Jesus or the Father mocking someone for their ignorance – Humility is welcomed by God
  • The Bible is clear that the truth brings us freedom, even though sometimes it can initially be painful to face a truth that you don’t want to hear – Honesty is welcomed by God

I am so grateful that we don’t need to be afraid to ask God questions. He is patient and kind even when we are slow to learn, and He brings us freedom through His truth and through our honesty.

Written by Shelley Witt

1 (reply)
  1. Sam S says:

    Preach!!
    What a great post – you could get up the front and do 50mins on this, easy!!
    So interesting to consider what made Jesus angry, on the one hand, and what Jesus welcomed – which is exactly what you describe here.
    What a dunk!

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Sunday 27 October, 2019

Luke 9:37-43a

37 The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38 A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.” 41 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” 42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.

In our passage for today we are seeing Jesus minister in one of the 4 key ways in which he did during his 3 years of Ministry.  Deliverance was central to what Jesus did. We see an utterly desperate father, taking a step of faith firstly asking the disciples to heal his son and then Jesus.  I love the desperation the father has, as any dad would, he takes a position of begging Jesus. However, Jesus response is quick and immediate to the father’s distress for the sons struggle.

Before delivering the son, Jesus takes the time to rebuke his disciples.  He knows that they have the authority, at the beginning of chapter 9 Jesus had sent them out to teach and heal, yet had they so quickly forgotten how God had used them previously?

The disciple’s hesitation and inability to deliver this young son challenges me.  It makes me ask the question, where am I incapable or ineffective because of unbelief? Where am I enabled by the Holy Spirit to bring healing or deliverance yet unable because of my weakness?

Jesus, thank you that you give us opportunities to show your power and love in this world.  Help us to remember that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in each of us.  Help me today to move in the authority of who you are and call me to be, taking the opportunity to maximize the moments you give rather than go through the motions.   In Jesus Name, Amen!

Written by Ps. Annique Botta

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Saturday 26 October, 2019

Luke 9:28-36

28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) 34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.

What an incredible scene. A moment where the divine glory of the Son of God breaks through the veil of his humble human nature. But a moment Peter, James and John almost missed!

Very sleepy, probably because of the rigorous ministry of Jesus, and possibly because it was early morning (often Jesus got up early to pray), the disciples were almost sleeping through an incredible encounter.

As he wakes enough to realise the moment he’s in, Peter is awkward and rushed. I bet he was just a little distracted by Moses and Elijah. Thinking to himself, “man, I have only read about these guys; what if I can actually talk to them…oh, the questions I can ask them.” Poor Peter had no real idea what was going on though.

Then comes the moment that trumps them all – God comes to them all and says, audibly, “guys, Jesus, my son, is the chosen one, give Him all your attention.”

Surely it was a not so subtle correction of Peter, who was getting all excited about Moses and Elijah, but had not yet fully realised that Jesus, his suddenly glowing teacher and companion, was far greater than both of them together. But God graciously, and wonderfully, redirects Peter’s zeal.

I may sometimes be literally or metaphorically very sleepy; I may find myself with more than a bit of misdirected Zeal. But God takes gracious and wonderful care to constantly keep my focus on Jesus. He alone has the words of eternal life, and He alone can bring about my destiny.

God, no matter what the moment in my day, or week, no matter how glorious or mundane, help me to heed what you told the disciples; that Jesus is the one I need to have my constant attention set upon.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Friday 25 October, 2019

Luke 9:23-27

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

This famous quote of Jesus contains an amazing truth – losing my life equals saving my life. Perhaps this could be summed up as sacrifice yourself and find yourself.

The Message translation of v24 makes it clear – “Self help is no help at all. Self sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.” Rather than trying to reinvent myself, or trying to be someone I am not to get the blessing of God (eg. Esau trying to be Jacob to get Isaacs’s blessing), Jesus says give up yourself to God. I notice this sacrifice is:

Deliberate

With purpose

Costly

Our example is Jesus, who sacrificed himself for us. He trusted God the Father that this sacrifice was what was needed and had purpose. This sacrifice was his purpose, and God honoured him and raised him to sit at his right hand.

When I sacrifice myself (my money, my time, my plans, my comfort) I rely on God to provide. My heart turns to him. These sacrifices are precious because through then I turn to Jesus. These sacrifices are not burdens or obligations but lead me to God. There I find myself.

Am I clinging to the self made me or the me I think I should be? How costly that will be to lose myself.

Dear Jesus, thank you for taking up your cross and sacrificing yourself in my place. Only when I lose myself will I find myself in you. I commit to sacrificing my life to you again. I want to draw nearer to you Lord. Amen

Written by Claire Moore

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Thursday 24 October, 2019

Luke 9:18-22

18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” 19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” 20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” Jesus Predicts His Death 21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

This is one of those momentous passages.

“Who do the crowds say I am?” Anyone could see that God was bringing his promises to fulfilment. (Maybe he’s the new Elijah who Isaiah said would announce God coming to his people? … Except that was John the Baptist.) They can see that resurrection and restoration is what God is doing. But looking from the outside is not enough.

“Who do you say that I am?” The “Christ” – the “Messiah” – the “anointed one of God”: Anointed to be king, like David; Anointed as a prophet; Anointed as the priest (like Aaron); Anointed by the Holy Spirit as the “Son of God”; and Anointed for death. Jesus isn’t the one preparing the way. Jesus is the Lord who comes to bring restoration to God’s people.

They needed to walk with Jesus to see this, listening to him and listening to the Father (Matthew adds that’s where Peter heard this). What should they do with this hugely important insight? Be quiet – until the right time. This pairs with Acts 1:4-8: They are to wait for the Holy Spirit to come to them too, and then they will receive power and will be Jesus’ witnesses to the whole world.

What about me?

If I want to know who Jesus is, I should not listen to the crowds. I need to listen to Jesus, I need to listen to the Father. I need to encounter him personally and to be filled with his Spirit. At the right time, my words and my actions will also show Jesus to people around me.

Written by David Cornell

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Wednesday 23 October, 2019

Luke 9:10-17

10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. 12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.” 13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.) But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

What strikes me about this passage is generosity. Jesus had withdrawn with his disciples, hoping to spend some quiet time with them debriefing from their mission and teaching and sustaining them. Although not mentioned in Luke, it is evident from Mark’s gospel that John the Baptist had just been beheaded. Since he was Jesus’ cousin and close to the disciples also, time out would have been welcome for them to grieve together. But when the crowd came Jesus had compassion on them and spent time healing and teaching them – a generosity of time and energy.

Feeding the 5000 with abundance left over also shows Jesus’ generosity towards us with our daily needs, as well as, of course, his authority on earth. He gives thanks (blesses) God for the food and there is miraculously enough.

God has that same generosity towards us. He is always there to listen, teach and minister to us and he amply supplies our daily needs.

Father, help me to be aware of the abundant blessings you give me – not just materially but in time, love, family, nature, speaking into my life. Thank you.

Written by Megan Cornell

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Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Luke 9:1-9

9 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. 7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9 But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.

So far in Luke’s telling of the Gospel, the disciples of Jesus have had amazing experiences with Jesus. They have been present with him as he has healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, proclaimed the truth and taught the way of life.

But they are about to experience God working through them… something entirely different.

Jesus gives them the Holy Spirit and authority to do the very things they have seen him do. He even commands them to live the kind of life he has been living, not worrying about even the basics of life like food and shelter but trusting that their heavenly Father will provide for them in this ministry.

Jesus calls me to do the same, not to be content watching from the sidelines as his church is at work in the power of the Spirit, or to be content reading the Gospel accounts. Jesus calls me to receive that same authority and power and to be obedient to his Spirit. Then I will experience God at a completely deeper level.

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Monday 21 October, 2019

Luke 8:40-55

40 Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house 42 because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years,[a] but no one could heal her. 44 She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. 45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” 47 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” 49 While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” he said. “Don’t bother the teacher anymore.” 50 Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” 51 When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. 52 Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” 53 They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54 But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.

I am struck by the woman who is healed through touching Jesus’ cloak. I am struck particularly by the awareness Jesus has of this moment. It says to me something very significant about Jesus. Jesus is personally aware when power goes out from Him. Even here in the midst of a thick crowd where He cannot specifically tell who around him is drawing healing power from Him, He knows that someone has just done so.

It seems Jesus does not want this miracle to finish without being personally involved in what He’s doing. Jesus is not a force that we can use or command, and He is certainly not an impersonal figurehead whose name we invoke. Jesus is personally invested in every answered prayer, every miracle wrought, every day of our lives in Him. Jesus wanted to know the woman who touched him, and encourage her faith personally.

Star wars may be an inspiring and enjoyable franchise, but I don’t think I’d ever feel a personal connection with the force. But I do feel an immense sense of being seen, and heard, and powerfully cared for by Jesus. I am so thankful He is my personal God and King.   Amen.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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