April 23 –The Keep Doing So Factor

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.” – Luke 11:9-10 (NASB)

IIn need? Ask. Receive. Lost? Seek. Find. On the outs? Knock at the Entrance. This is a promise. But these are not promises we will receive substantive goods. Not promises of material prosperity. Jesus is emphasizing the effectiveness of prayer. A threefold promise. The triple exhortation is as follows: ask, seek, knock. Arranged in an escalating scale of intensity. Ask. Asking suggests humility and a mindfulness of our need. When we asks, we expect an answer. This demonstrates a faith in God the Father. Having such a faith makes the prayer warm and personal. Seek. Seeking is asking plus acting. We must be active in striving to obtain the fulfilment of our needs. For example, as we pray for a deeper knowledge of the Bible, we should also diligently search and examine the Scriptures. Knock. Knocking is asking plus acting plus persevering. We are doing the knocking again and again until the door is opened. Another translation would be “continue to ask, to seek, to knock.” We continue knocking at the door of the kingdom-palace until our King, who is at the same time our Father God, and our Savior, opens and supplies whatever is needed.

196

April 11 – Holy Monday – He Knows Our Weaknesses


When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19: 41-42 (NASB)

We are thinking this week about the events during the last week that Jesus spends before His death on the cross. We remember that the crowds sang praises to him as He approached and entered the City of Jerusalem. Even though people were eager to see Jesus come and were singing to Him, Jesus knew that the leaders of the city had rejected Him and were planning to kill Him. So when He looked at the city the next day it made him weep. The timing of this crying may seem incongruous with the triumphal entry, but it reveals that Jesus knew the true superficiality of the peoples’ hearts, and His mood was anything but giddy as He rode into the city. The same crowd would soon cry for his death (Luke 23:21). The very thought of Jesus weeping over a city like this reminds us that He is aware of our weaknesses and He is touched by our spiritual needs. That’s what encourages us to bring our needs to Him because we know He is praying for us in heaven even these days. Let us not neglect to bring our needs to God in Jesus’ name.

197

April 10 – Palm Sunday

“As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Luke 19:38 (ESV)

Today is another special day for us who know Jesus Christ as our Savior. We call it Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday because as the people welcomed Jesus they laid down their robes and palm branches in the road in front of Jesus It is the day the people outside of Jerusalem followed him and sang praises to the Lord as he approached the city. Notice the words “the whole multitude of his disciples.” Many people were following Jesus hoping He would establish His kingdom and free them from Roman tyranny. But Jesus had a different plan. The verse we have for today is the message that God wanted people to proclaim on that day. When the Pharisees suggested that Jesus rebuke those who were singing, He replied that if these people did not tell the message, the stones would cry out. What the people sang was the truth which needed to be heard. It’s is a message which we all need to proclaim. This Jesus who was to die on the cross that very week is our King. We need to recognize Him as the King of our lives and we need to honor Him every day.

198

February 27 – Promised But Wait Ready

“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks” – Luke 12:35-36 (ESV)

The boss is coming home! The owner of the estate is returning from his wedding and honeymoon with his new bride. It may be at any time so we need to be ready, dressed and with everything prepared just so. It is no time to be surprised. The owners will come at any moment but it is not specified by exact time. Certainly we want to be ready and not found doing other things in the meantime. Yes, other things that are happening now might seem more enjoyable than waiting for the return of the boss. It is in verse 37 that we have our promise. The importance here is to be in readiness at all times for Christ’s return. When He comes he will take the servant’s role and wait on them. This remarkable parable pictures Christ, at His return, ministering as a servant to believers. The parable describes a scene in which servants were waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet with his bride. They were to remain constantly vigilant so that the master would be able to come into the house whenever he might arrive at home.

193

December 29 – Finding Favor with God

“ And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” – Luke 2:51-52 (ESV)

The Bible gives us a good amount of detail about the birth of Jesus and who witnessed the Son of God coming to earth. Angels, shepherds, VIP’s from far East, and others became aware of the birth of Jesus. However, we have very little detail of his life between His parents’ presentation of him at the temple and the beginning of his ministry thirty years later. But we have one account when Jesus was twelve years old. His parents brought him to Jerusalem for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Jesus is not in the caravan back to Nazareth and it is discovered he is missing after the first day’s travel. Returning to Jerusalem Joseph and Mary find him in the temple with the teachers of the Law. It was logical to Jesus that He would be where He was for it was His Father’s house and He knew who He was. Other than today’s verses, nothing is said of His life until John the Baptizer announces him and Jesus is baptized by John. We know that Jesus was submissive to his parents and in favor with God and man. 

191

December 15 – It Was Because

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 (NASB
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High;” – Luke 1:31-32a (NASB)
“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21 (NASB)

The birth of Jesus was known before God created the earth and humans. During this season, we sing about the message which the angels told to the shepherds near Bethlehem the night Jesus was born.  But today’s verses tell us that before that, God predicted through His prophet Isaiah the birth of the “Son of God.” God had sent the angel Gabriel with the message about the birth and name of Jesus to Mary who was chosen to be His mother. Gabriel made a visit later to Joseph who was to be Mary’s husband. Gabriel revealed why God had chosen the name Jesus for the child who was to be born.  It was because He would save His people from their sins. The prophecy of Isaiah is repeated in Matthew 1:23. These messages, given to the world before the child was born, are important to us. Jesus was coming in order to be our Savior. We should rejoice today that God sent His Son to save us. It was an important message given before He came.  It is just as important today. God promised to provide a way for us to be saved and Jesus is that Way.

198

 September 25 – Crying Out for Mercy!

“And he called out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”” – Luke 18:38-39 (NASB)

Jesus and his disciples were passing through Jericho. Leaving the Jewish Jericho they approached the Roman Jericho*. As was usual, the people mobbed around Jesus. When Jesus healed the sick and the lame and the demon possessed, He did it totally, completely. He did no partial healings. In this story, when we read the account in the Matthew, there were two blind men. Mark gives us the name of one, Bartimaeus (Son of Thomas). Only Bartimaeus called out to Jesus. He had to ask what the commotion was and he was told it was Jesus. He immediately cries out calling Jesus the Son of David. And he asks for mercy. He knew it was only by mercy that Jesus would stop and heal him. Jesus asks, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The men’s faith was evident and they knew who Jesus was and what He could do. “Lord, I want to regain my sight!” Immediately Jesus healed him with the words, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” Matthew records that “Jesus in pity touched their eyes and immediately they recovered their sight and followed Him. What a merciful Savior He is.

198

September 24 – More Tender Mercies

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God…” –  Luke 1:76-79 (NASB)

More on the tender mercies of our Lord. The passage is excerpted from the prophecy Zacharias offered at the birth of his son John the Baptizer. Zachariah is a common name found in the Bible. This one is not the prophet who wrote the Book of Zechariah many years before. As a priest, Zacharias served his turn in the temple. The Bible tells us that he was chosen by lot to enter the temple and burn incense. Because of the large number of priests, most would never be chosen for such a duty, and no one was permitted to serve in this capacity twice. Zacharias regarded this as the supreme moment in a lifetime of priestly service. It was then that the angel appeared to him as he was alone in the Holy Place. He was foretold that a son would be born to him and his name was to be John. When John is born, Zacharias offers a pray with this prophecy. The words, would be familiar to Zacharias because they are part of prophecies by Old Testament prophets*. The Father of the Baptizer confirms what was said by the prophets regarding his son. 

*Malachi 3:1, Isaiah 9:2 and Jeremiah 31:34

195

August 01 – Unconditional = No Excuses


“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” – Luke 6:35 (NASB)

The fuller context of our passage is Luke 6:17-49. Some will say this is the same discourse as the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7. Others call it the Sermon on the Plain. It could be the same or it could be at a different time and place. That Jesus taught these important lessons on unconditional love more than once is likely. Jesus repeated his lessons many times to different crowds of people who followed Him around. It would be fair to suggest that the commands given here by Jesus on how to live in difficult circumstances with difficult people are too often overlooked, ignored, or deemed too difficult to do. Yes, if we try to exercise love of this kind in our own strength. But it can be done. Jesus never commanded us to do the truly impossible. He is with us always as he abides with all faith believers. This love is unconditional, the love that God demonstrates to us every day. As God’s children we should bear the indelible stamp of His moral character. Since He is loving, gracious, and generous—even to those who are His enemies—we should be like Him.

198

April 6 – Endurance in All


“You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.” – Luke 21:16–19 (ESV)

Our verse yesterday from the Gospel of Mark recorded the same instruction and prediction we have today from the Gospel of Luke. It has the same ominous message and prophecy of what was going to come to all who proclaimed the name of Jesus. Not just for the Apostles but for all who believe even up to the return of Jesus at the end of the age we live in. Those who will be threatened and receive this kind of treatment are promised that they will endure by God’s grace. Just as Jesus promised that since He was the Resurrection and the Life those all who believe in Him would live past the death of their physical bodies. Spiritually, we will live. Perhaps we think it is up to us to preserve by our own strength in order to live through the attacks on our lives by the haters of Jesus. No, we will be preserved by His Name. We carry the name of Jesus as we abide in Him because He is our salvation in all circumstances. For all who in faith believe Jesus in the Son of God, will endure because of His promise of eternal life.

199