Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees, Have No Fear, Acknowledge Christ Before Men

Gospel Meditation

Luke 12:1–12

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Recite the Lord’s Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.         Jesus warns His disciples of accusations the Pharisees are spreading among the crowds of people coming to hear Jesus teach and preach.

2.         Despite the efforts of the pharisees, nothing of what they attempt will remain hidden, thus go unpunished.

3.         So then, Jesus says that His disciples will spread His word far and wide.

4.         Yes, those who oppose the words of Jesus will cause fear, but He says that His disciple are not to be afraid. Afterall, Christians can only lose their lives; they will not be prevented from being in His presence. And these only fear God.

5.         Jesus’ followers, though many, are all of value––not one is forgotten––this is the encouragement Jesus gives to all who follow Him.

6.         Indeed, all who proclaim Jesus to the world, these will the Son of Man, Jesus Himself, declare as His own.

7.         On the other hand, and here is where fear is real,  that those who reject Jesus as Lord will be denied salvation.

8.         Now then, Jesus goes on to say that those who speak negatively about Himself will be forgiven, but those who speak against the Holy Spirit and His working, cannot be forgiven.

9.         Jesus then assures His followers who will suffer for His sake that they have nothing to fear as the Holy Spirit will be present to defend them.

Woes to the Pharisees and Lawyers

Gospel Meditation

Luke 11:37–54

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Recite

the Lord’s Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and

yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage above and

the Bible passages listed under the title, “Scripture

Reading.”

1.    Pharisees, a religious party, not priests, and lawyers, also known as scribes, the professionals, these held enormous influence throughout Israel, and ruled over the synagogues.

2.    For a second time, a pharisee invites Jesus into his house for a meal. Jesus does not conform to the pharisee’s extra-biblical demands and so invites an attack on Himself.

3.    Jesus proceeds to mention three woes, or warnings, to the pharisee. The pharisees may be careful with their extreme rule keeping, but essentially, they miss the whole point of what is said in the Hebrew scripture.

4.    Following the three woes spoken to the pharisee, Jesus next turns to a one of the lawyers, or scribes, who must have also been at the meal. And Jesus issues three woes to this person as well.

5.    The pharisee and the lawyer lay upon the common person burdens that are difficult if not impossible to perform, while at the same time, do not observe such themselves.

6.    Jesus, out of His agape love for these religious persons, confronts them with their hypocrisy. Yet, their response is an ongoing effort to challenge and harass Jesus, “lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.” (Verse 54)

True Blessedness, The Sign of Jonah, & The Light in You

Luke 11:27–36

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Recite the Lord’s Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage above and the Bible passages listed under the title, “Scripture Reading.”

1.    Here are three separate statements by Jesus, and it is likely that He said these, and others, any number of times.

2.    The brief account titled here in the ESV “True blessedness,” comes following a nameless woman praises Jesus by alluding to the mother who bore Him, and this from a very feminine perspective.

3.    This is followed by an account when Jesus was ‘enjoying’ considerable and favorable attention. He relies upon His audience’s understanding of the Book of Jonah, especially about Jonah being inside a great fish for three days. Jonah is one of the Twelve Minor Prophets, and Jonah 4:1–10 is especially relevant.

4.    Jonah was sent to the Gentile city, Nineveh, which was reigned over by a woman titled “Queen of the South,” and who had travelled to Jerusalem to hear King Solomon. And the people of Nineveh repented upon hearing the words of Jonah.

5.    Jesus said the people of that city Nineveh, at the end time judgment, will fare far better than the current Jewish generation because “something greater than Jonah is here.”

6.    Now a parable about a lamp that is lit, it is not covered over but put where the light will shine.

7.    Jesus warns His followers that the light in them must shine out into the darkness.

Jesus and Beelzebul & Return of the Unclean Spirit

Luke 11:14–26

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Recite the Lord’s Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage above and the Bible passages listed under the title, “Scripture Reading.”

1.           From ancient days there were exorcists who errantly thought they were casting demons out of people. Then along came Jesus who in actuality did cast out demons, and in our passage is the story of such a situation. His ministry was obvious, but Jesus’ opponents said it was by the power of the chief demon, Beelzebul, that He did this work.

2.           This charge must be made or those who were rejecting Jesus would have to admit Jesus’ authenticity and superiority.  

3.           Jesus, in defense, points out that if the Satan casts out demons, then Satan is divided against itself. Then Jesus indicates that the Jewish exorcists cast out demons by the power, or trickery, of the chief demon Beelzebul.

4.           Jesus then states that those who charge Him of being in league with Satan are against Him. He also charges that what their “sons” do is by the working of Beelzebul.

5.           With that, Jesus states that if it is by the finger or power of God that He casts out demons, and the “if” word means that He does cast out demons by the power of God, then the “kingdom of God” has come upon then, right there and then.

6.           Then a warning to the false exorcists, that their work merely results in a worse demonization of those who come to them.

Mary and Martha & The Lord’s Prayer

Gospel Meditation

Luke 10:28–11:13

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture. Two stories now.

1.         The first story: As Jesus was entering an unknown village (could it have been Bethany, the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus?) a woman named Martha invited Jesus into her home. There is no evidence to suggest the Twelve were there as well.

2.         Martha was bothered that her sister Mary did not help with serving a large meal to Jesus. Very gently Jesus tells Martha that her sister has chosen to do well, not better, and Jesus politely says He will not stop her.

3.         The second story: After Jesus was away praying, His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. (It was customary for Rabbi’s to teach their followers a special prayer.)

4.         Early on Jesus, as part of the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 6:5–13, had instructed His followers how to pray, and this known as The Lord’s Prayer.

5.         Here now, in a setting different from that of Matthew’s, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. The result is a shorter and slightly different form of prayer than found in The Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew’s Gospel.

6.         Jesus relates a parable or story about a person who goes to a neighbor requesting help in feeding guests who had just shown up.

7.         The neighbor in need does not give up easily despite the rejection from the neighbor.

8.         Jesus then tells His disciples not to give up in their asking, seeking, and knocking–all referring to prayer, and the reason is that the Father gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

9.         Students of the Scripture, over the centuries, have given a number of different, even conflicting, explanations for the final verse, verse 13. And we likely will as well.

Jesus Rejoices in the Father’s Will & The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Luke 10:21-37

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.         At the return of the 72 disciples, and hearing of the success of their mission, Jesus rejoices in the Holy Spirit.

2.         His rejoicing is not in the numbers of those who received the 72 but in the fact that those who were reached was on the basis of nothing more than grace, something that could only come by means of revelation.

3.         At that point, it would seem, a lawyer (read scribe belonging to the Pharisees), in testing Jesus, asks Him how one can inherit, or receive, eternal life. The reason for and behind this query is not certain. It could be a taunt, an accusation, or a sincere longing.

4.         Jesus asks the scribe about what is written in the law and the response from Jesus is the two great commandments, love God fully and love one’s neighbor.

5.         Jesus proceeds then to tell a story, or parable, whether based on fact or fiction is unknown.

6.         It is the story of a certain man, most likely Jewish, who is robbed and beaten on the Jericho Road, not an unusual event, and left for dead.

7.         First a scribe (a descendant of Aaron), like the scribe Jesus is telling the story to, then a Levite (a descendant of Levi), sees the man and passes on without giving aid, likely to avoid becoming ‘unclean’.

8.         A Samaritan then comes along, and at considerable expense to both reputation and material possession, assists the helpless man.

9.         Jesus then asks which of the three was a neighbor to the robbed and beaten man. Of course, the answer is the Samaritan, the one who showed mercy.

10.       Jesus then says, “go and do likewise.” And we must ask, “Would the scribe standing before Jesus be able to do this?”

Jesus Sends Out the 72, Woe to Unrepentant Cities, & The Return of the 72.

Luke 10:1–10

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture.

1.         Is it 72 or 70 that were sent out? Manuscripts differ, my guess it was 70, and these went out two by two, to areas where Jesus Himself would soon be coming to.

2.         There was a major harvest just ahead, but the workers were few. In addition, the work would not be easy, rather it would be dangerous, and as an example Jesus says it is like sending lambs out to wolves.

3.         The 70 were to travel lightly and accept whatever help people in the towns they would enter provided.

4.         At the heart of their work was healing and proclaiming that the kingdom of God would be coming near to them.

5.         Jesus issued a word of “woe” or dreadfulness on those cities who rejected His word. In fact, it would be better for cities like Tyre and Sidon, pagan areas, modern Syria, along the upper eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, than for those of the House of Israel.

6.         Lastly, Jesus states that those who will listen to the 70 are really listening to Jesus. But also that those then that reject the message of the 70 are in reality rejecting both Himself and the one who sent Him, that is, the Father.

Anyone Not Against Us is For Us, Samaritan Village Rejects Jesus, The Cost of Following Jesus

Luke 9:49–62

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.   While Jesus and the disciples are traveling south to Jerusalem, now in Samaria, see a man casting out demons in Jesus’ name.  And they attempt to stop him because is not one of them. Jesus says, “Do not stop him.” Thus, he is not against you but for us.

2.    Along the way, Jesus sends messengers, some of His

apostles, into a city to “make preparations” so they may

 refresh on their journey. But they are denied such, as

 Samarians, and for many centuries, held to a rival faith and

 had a rival temple in the capital city, Samaria.

3.    James and John (the sons of Thunder), after being

 refused accommodations by the Sarmatians, asked Jesus if

 they could cast fire from heaven upon them. Jesus

 thereupon rebuked these brothers.

4.    Along the way a Samaritan wanted to go with Jesus,

that is, become one of His followers. Jesus, however,

 warns him of the troubles that he would encounter if he

did so.

5.    And there were more of these would-be followers, and

 in each case Jesus warns them of the “cost of discipleship,”

 as Diedrich Bonhoeffer so eloquently put it.

6.    The passage ends with Jesus making reference to a

 farmer who while ploughing a field, and that he must not

 look, evidently in order to plough a straight line, but if he

 did, he was not fit or qualified for the kingdom of God.

Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit, Jesus Again Foretells His Death, & Who is the Greatest.

Luke 9:37–48

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.        Among those who had heard of the healing power of Jesus was a man with a son who had a series of difficulties, one of which was possession by a demon–he sought Jesus to heal this son. The disciples of Jesus, the nine who had not gone with Jesus up on the mountain, could not cast the evil spirit out but Jesus did.

2.        Then, Jesus for a second time (there would  be one more) told the twelve that He would be “delivered into the hands of men.” However, they did not understand Him, and Luke says this was due to the fact it was “concealed” from them.

3.        And of interest here, Luke reports that they were afraid to ask Jesus about what He meant.

4.        It is of interest also that Matthew’s (Matthew 18:1–6), and Mark’s (Mark 9:33–37) account of the twelve arguing about who is the greatest amongst themselves, both differ from Luke’s.

5.        Jesus’ reply to His disciples is that the one who receives a child because the child believes in Him, this one is the greatest and receiving the child is the same as receiving Jesus, and whoever receives Jesus receives the one who sent Him.

6.        This one, who is faithful in the small and seemingly unimportant ministry, is the greatest.

The Transfiguration

Luke 9:28–36

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture.

1.         This passage has been referred to as “The Transfiguration” for many centuries and it refers to the fact that Peter, James, and John saw that the appearance of Jesus was altered or changed.

2.         The trio, known as the “inner three,” went up into a mountain to pray. We are reminded that Moses went up into a mountain to receive the Ten Commandments. There was something about this going up that is difficult to understand, but it could be so that the four would be alone.

3.         Suddenly two “men” appeared with Jesus and were talking with Jesus. These men were Moses and Elijah, but we do not know how the three disciples knew this.

4.         Their appearance was “in glory,” and they were talking with Jesus about His departure, which likely would have included his death, resurrection, and ascension. And it would all happen in Jerusalem.

5.         The three disciples were sleeping apparently, and also it is likely this event took place late at night. When they awoke, at some unknown point, they saw both the glory of Jesus and also Moses and Elijah standing with Jesus.

6.         Peter wanted to provide a way for the two visitors to remain with them there on that unnamed mountain, but just then they were enveloped in a cloud, which proved to be a fearful event for the disciples.

7.         Out of the cloud however came a dramatic message:

“This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” After the message concluded, they were alone with Jesus.

8.         It would be a long while before the three spoke of this.