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?
We currently live in a super-hero obsessed culture and it can often affect the way we think about sharing the message of Jesus. We can fall into the trap of thinking the apostles are like ‘super-Christians’ and sharing Jesus is for other ‘super-Christians’, [pastors, trained-evangelists, extroverts, people gifted in talking and sharing]. We often think “I’m ordinary, I’m unimpressive, I’m unequipped, I can’t do it, Jesus can’t be expecting anything from me”. But according to Acts 1:1-11, Jesus is the real hero of the book of Acts. We don’t need to be super or a hero, but just need to be used by Him.
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.”
In Matthew 4, we read one of the most exciting passages; a master class in facing temptation. Like us, Jesus faced temptation. Unlike us – and everyone who has come before – he never fell into it. How should we respond?
In Mark’s gospel, we meet Jesus and see his authority and power, much to the amazement of his disciples. On display is his power over nature, over demons, to forgive sin and even over death. How should we respond?
The resurrection is central to Christianity. Without it our faith in futile (1 Corinthians 15:17-18) and we have no hope (1 Peter 1:3). Reason says that dead people don’t rise but that was known in the first century AD as well as now. Scripture records the careful eyewitness of such a surprising event and even 50 days afterward (Pentecost, Acts 2) there was already a debate about the resurrection! It was testified so that you may “believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” (Romans 10:9). “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
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.