In the hours immediately before the death of Jesus on the cross, Luke 22:31-38 reveals the details of his one-to-one conversation with Peter. Though Jesus did everything he could to warn Peter of what was going to befall him, sadly, Peter’s response was only full of bravado and (as we know) we could never fulfill what he promised.
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.
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.
There’s little to account for the amazing change that came over the disciples of Jesus as recorded in Luke 24:1-12 and Luke 24:36-53, apart from the fact that they came face to face with the risen Jesus. The fact that he was and is alive changed everything for them …and does a similar thing to those who likewise believe their testimony.
The story of the dying thief on the cross next to Jesus is recorded in Luke 23:32-43. Given his circumstances (that he was convicted, condemned and dying), the fact that he found grace in the eyes of Jesus (who was also dying), stands as a testimony to the reality of the saving power of the Saviour. The story teaches us many things, but greatest of all is the challenge to all to come to Christ and find that salvation He offers those who do.
There’s no denying that Jesus born in Bethlehem has had a great impact upon the world. There is no-one like him nor has there ever been. So many things set Jesus apart from ordinary human beings, even aspects surrounding His birth. The gospel writer, Luke, set out to establish these things as fact and tells in Luke 1:26-38 that Jesus was born of a virgin. The virgin conception of Jesus has long been hotly disputed, but is so vital to so many aspects of the Christian faith which stands of falls on the test of truth. If it is true, then it is one of the most amazing events ever to happen and should cause us to view Jesus in a totally different light.
Rev Dr Jared Hood preached this message from Luke 19:16-31, reminding us that we live in a world where materialism and ‘worldliness’ seems to be everything that people strive after. But Jesus unmasked the whole idea of worldliness through this parable. The Rich Man had everything. He was clothed with purple and fine linen, but treated Lazarus, a beggar at his gate, with contempt. The real nature of worldliness is callous, selfish and idolatrous and it leads to death not life. Sadly the core of a worldly lifestyle is rebellion. Those who do not want to believe will be not be convinced even if there was the best evidence available – such as someone rising from the dead! The cure for worldliness is to humble yourself and submit to God in repeantance and faith.
Life has many surprises. So do the Scriptures. One of the great surprises in the New Testament is found in the unfolding conversation between the Roman centurion and the Lord Jesus. Although it appears that they never actually met in person, there was a great interaction between them, especially concerning the centurion’s servant’s ill-health. But while the approach the centurion made to Jesus was surprising, so also and even more was the surprising result of the faith the centurion exercised in Jesus that day. The same holds true for any and all who come to Jesus with the kind of faith the centurion knew.
Also, below are some ‘snapshots’ of our Naval Service 2016!