Through the Bible, August 21

Reading: No scheduled reading

Thoughts and Reflections: Today is the regularly scheduled day to catch up on your reading for the third week of August if need be. If not, following are some thoughts for your consideration for today from this week’s readings.

  1. We might sometimes think that had we been present to witness Jesus as He preached and performed miracles that faith in Him would have been an easy thing. The Bible suggests otherwise.  It is quick to show us that many who were privileged to hear and see Him in person did not believe.  This included members of His own family, some Samaritans, Herod, as well as the Jewish religious leaders. Apparently, even first-hand encounters with Jesus didn’t convince everyone.
  2. It is evident that people thought Jesus was someone special. Some thought He was John the Baptist raised from the dead, others that He was Elijah (as prophesied in Malachi 4:5), still others that another of the Old Testament prophets had risen (see both Luke 9:7-8 and verse 19).  Just like today, people were trying to figure out Jesus.  Though they may have thought highly of Him and known He was someone special, only one conclusion was/is correct; He is as Peter confessed, “the Christ of God” (Luke 9:20).
  3. As we’ve previously noted, Luke gives special attention in his account of Jesus’ ministry to individuals and classes of people not highly regarded by the culture of that day. He speaks directly to Jesus’ dealing with women, lepers, tax collectors, non-Jews, the sinful, widows, etc.  The fact is that every culture and every age has its own marginalized and “outcast” people.  Our challenge, as followers of Jesus, is to be more influenced by the attitudes and actions of Jesus toward these people in our own day, than we are by the culture in which we live.

Devotional Thought:

Will We Ever Learn?

What if you had an enterprise you wanted to “get off the ground”;  you were just getting started but you had big plans, huge plans. What kind of people would you be talking to?  With whom would you be rubbing shoulders?  Who, in your mind, was going to be key to helping make this thing happen?

Now, think about what Jesus did during His three years of ministry; with whom He interacted, where He spent His time, the people He chose to rub shoulders with.  All the while knowing that His “enterprise” was nothing short of the very kingdom of God and that kingdom was a world-wide endeavor.

Reading the gospels ought to firmly impress on us, among other things, the importance Jesus placed on people—all people, individual people, rejected and disenfranchised people. Quickly surveying a portion of this week’s reading (Luke 3:1-9:62) shows Jesus engaging the demon-possessed, the sick and handicapped, fishermen, tax collectors, sinners, women, the hungry, Gentiles, widows, etc. That’s about the most powerless, un-influential, socially and politically irrelevant group of people you could compile.

That should tell us something very loudly and very clearly; Jesus was not about building an enterprise, He was about people.  His love and care and concern and interest were for people.  The typical measures of human worth and value meant nothing to Him.  Each one was made in the image of His Father and the object the greatest love ever known.

Do we have something to learn about our efforts involving His enterprise, God’s kingdom?

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