‘The parable of the barren fig tree’ (Luke 13:6-9, Peter Phillips)

The parable of the barren fig tree in Luke 13:6-9 belongs to Jesus’ words at the end of Luke 12 and his response to the people who told him of the death of certain Galileans killed by Pilate’s soldiers, and continues theme of our urgent need to make our peace with God. The people of his time could interpret the signs of changing weather, but not ‘the present time’ in which showed He was their Messiah and King. Despite this, and using the news of the day, Jesus persisted in calling people everywhere and immediately to repentance.

‘Saved to serve the King’ (Luke 19, Rev Peter Phillips)

Jesus tells a parable in Luke 19 and perhaps we didn’t notice the context. He tells the story to highlight his mission to “seek and save the lost”. It connects with Zacchaeus’ conversion, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and how the people didn’t understand his mission or have him as king. We read of a present saviour and a coming judge. Will we serve him as king?

‘The events of a terrible night’ (Luke 22:54-71)

The lead up to the cross in Luke’s gospel, especially in Luke 22:54-71 is stark and tragic. From the courtyard where Peter sat by the fire and there denied his Master, to the courtroom where the religious leaders of the day denied their own Messiah, the story is full of irony and tragedy. And yet as Isaiah once prophesied, ‘It was the will of the Lord to bruise him’. It was all in God’s plan of course, that His people might be saved. His loss, our gain.

‘The depths of an awful moment’ (Luke 22:39-53)

After describing the events in the Upper Room, the text of Luke 22:39-53 take us to the holy ground of the garden of Gethsemane. There, Jesus wrestled with the enormity of what it was that the Father was asking Him to do and submitted Himself to the Father’s will even though it would come at great cost.  Why did He go through with it? Because He loved His Father, leaving us to ponder an important question about our love for God and our desire to see His will being done.

‘The ordinary, unusual and extraordinary in the birth of Jesus’ (Luke 2:1-35)

There are those who think that God only works in a big way, through miraculous events. He certainly has in the past and there’s no telling what He will do in the days ahead, but to fill out the whole picture, we need to remember that God also works in the ordinary things of life – birth, census…things like that. Luke 2:1-35 tells us some of these things – even including the extraordinary – by which he has made known to us the path to eternal life – through Jesus, His Son.

‘Loving Jesus more’ (Luke 7:36-50)

Simon was puzzled by Jesus; who was he? Was he from God, a prophet even? So he invited him to eat with him – and Jesus accepted. In Luke 7:36-50, we find that during the meal at his home, a woman Simon knew to be a ‘sinner’ (prostitute) wet Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair and anointed them with perfumed ointment. But Jesus knew who she was, and that she had done this to him because she was a forgiven sinner; faith in Jesus had saved her; she had believed in him, and he had forgiven her, and she had done this to him because, having been forgiven much, she loved him much.

If Jesus has forgiven our sins, we cannot help loving him, and long to show our love for him, for we know our forgiveness cost him death on a cross; we know that the Son of God loved us and gave himself for us. If we love Jesus, we will know our love for him is not yet what it ought to be, and we will long to love him more, and we will nourish our love for him by meditating on his love for us, by the inward working of his Spirit, and by prayer. The proof of our love for him is not feelings, or tears, or costly gifts, but obeying him. Love for him will enable us to obey him and so prove our love, and our obedience with increase our love for him who died for us to save us from our sins.