When the two travelers on the road to Emmaus met with Jesus, as recorded in Luke 24:13-35, they were downcast and disconsolate. They were men without hope. Jesus, whom they had known and had put their hope in, was dead. While they had heard rumours of Him being alive, this all must have sounded so fanciful. Strange. But when a stranger met them on the road and opened the Scriptures to them, all that changed! Jesus fixed their fallen-apart world and hope was renewed again!
The well-known parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 is really about two sons. It is a parable about the love of God who welcomes sinners home but also a parable about repentance and those who think they need no repentance.
In Luke 15:1-10 we read how the Pharisees thought people were accepted by God and how they therefore found fault with the company Jesus kept. Jesus tells of the true way to be accepted by God and receives sinners. God values the lost, shows his love in the effort to find them and rejoices when they are found.
God spreads a banquet for all peoples yet the self-righteous are unwilling to enter the kingdom. They give weak excuses to justify their unbelief and despised the sinners who came readily. Sinners who know they need a saviour enter the kingdom instead of those who rejected the invitation. Jesus tells a parable in Luke 14:15-24 that shows our need – are we willing to accept the invitation and welcome others into God’s kingdom?
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.
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?
In Luke 12, Jesus is teaching about life and death only to have someone interrupt with a self-centred request! Life is more than possessions, food or clothing. Do we trust God to meet our needs? God gives abundantly but are we rich toward him? “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
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.
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.