Judging Others

GOSPEL MEDITATION

Luke 6:37–42

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.         Here we have two negative and two positive commands told by Jesus to His disciples. The scribes and Pharisees boasted about their righteousness and deemed all others as sinners, judging them and condemning them.

2.         Jesus does not want His followers to emulate these religious leaders. He Himself spent time with sinners, and was even accused of being a glutton and a drunkard.

3.         To judge meant to not only condemn but to disregard; Jesus wants His followers to learn to forgive others, not meaning to ignore sin, which is a destroyer, but to invite sinners to forgiveness and cleansing.

4.         Jesus wants His disciples to be like Himself, who did not excuse sin but invited sinners to repent. Then with humbleness, this disciple who recognizes his or her own sinfulness, can reach out to those who are suffering under a load of sin.

5.         A mature disciple is an encourager and a forgiver, again not overlooking actual sin, but dealing with it with tenderness and understanding. Indeed, it is important to be discriminating and critical when necessary, but not to be rejecting and condemning.

6.         We are not called to be self-righteous fault finders; we are called to be forgiving of not only ourselves but others.

Love Your Enemies

Luke 6:27–36

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 passage of Scripture.

1.         The historical setting for this passage is essential to grasp. The Jewish people were subjugated by the Romans who had made their lives miserable.  Plus, among the Jews were a number of factions, which held each other in contempt. Now Jesus knew that hatred for His followers would become extreme in near future, and which would continue down through history.

2.         Had anyone prior to this point in history said, “love your enemies?” Perhaps, but we have no knowledge of such. But now Jesus says to His followers, and to us as well, “love your enemies” and the word love here is agape, which means seeking the best for others including enemies. And the highest act of love is the crucifixion of Jesus, His taking our sin and death upon Himself.

3.         We are to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, and bless those who curse us. And when insulted we are not to do the same. For those who ask of us of material goods we are to freely give.

4.         Then comes what has come to be called “The Golden Rule:” “As you wish others would do to you, do so to them.” This is also found in Matthew 7:12.

5.         Jesus then gives 3 examples of this rule: love those who do not love you, do good to those who will not do good to you, and give to others without hope of return. And to do so is favored by the Most High who is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. We are to be merciful like our Father is.

The Beatitudes & Jesus Pronounces Woes

The Gospel Meditation

Luke 6:20–26

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.         The “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5 was preached by Jesus on a mountain. The “Beatitudes” in Luke 6 was preached by Jesus on a “level place.” (See Luke 6:17)

2.         There are 9 beatitudes in Matthew 5 and 4 in Luke 6. In Matthew, there are no “woes.”

3.         In Luke each beatitude has a contrasting woe:

poor vs rich, hungry vs full, weep vs laugh, reject vs accept.

4.         In Luke there is a large crowd gathered to hear Jesus preach. In Matthew there are only the twelve who hear Jesus.

5.         This is only the second sermon Jesus is presented as preaching in this Gospel, the first was at Nazareth.

6.         In our passage is both a promise of true blessing, or ultimate well-being, despite appearances.

7.         Jesus looks to a judgment that will be coming at some future time, and then the so-called tables will be radically turned. Here is the promise of eternal bliss in heaven and the awfulness of eternal separation in hell.

8.         It has long been suggested that Jesus presented complex realities in forms that could be easily memorized. And these presented in ways that people of that era could relate to.

9.         The Book of Revelation seems to incorporate much of what we find in our passage, especially in Revelation chapters 21 and 22.

The Twelve Apostles

Gospel Meditation

Luke 6:12–19

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.   After a period of non-stop ministry, Jesus retreats to the mountains and spends much time in prayer. It was time to identify those whom He would call “apostles” meaning ‘appointed representatives,’ to be ‘sent out’ to do the work to which they were being called.

2.   There were 12 of these: Peter and his brother Andrew, James and his brother John, Philip, James son of Alphaeus, Simon, Judas son of James (named Thaddeus in both Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospel accounts), and Judas Iscariot. Matthias would be chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. (See Acts 1:12–14)

3.   Jesus, after naming the Twelve, comes down with these now apostles, out of a mountain, some say Mt. Hermon, others Mt. Tabor, and is greeted by throngs of people from all over Israel to be healed of their diseases and to be freed of “unclean spirits” or demons.

4.   Let it be noted that they came, not so much for the words Jesus spoke, but to be made well.

5.   Everything would change now; a kind of graduation had occurred, now about one year into Jesus’ ministry.

The Resurrection

Luke 24:1–12

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.         Matthew’s account of the resurrection of Jesus is only 10 verses long. Mark’s is 8, Luke’s 12, and John’s is 10. Arguably, the most incredible event in history and each account amazingly brief. Yes, the account of the crucifixion is absolutely incredible, and again the Gospel writer’s accounts are short.

2.         “Just the facts” Joe Friday of the fifty’s television series Dragnet, says. And this is what we find in our Bible, too, just the facts. Why is this?

3.         Here I think the Holy Spirit of God was directing the writing. Any attempt to “puff” the resurrection would likely come off as over-much, an attempt to glorify by human means an event that simply needed to be stated.

4.         Then, it was a group of women who first were made aware of the rising of Jesus. And in Judaism, in that day, women had no credibility and were largely ignored regarding anything religious.

5.         Then we find an interesting discrepancy among the four Gospel authors in terms of the angel, or two angels, or one man, or two men who met with and spoke with the women at the graveside. Interesting indeed, and there was no attempt to reconcile the accounts.

6.         And even more incredible is that the story of the women about finding the tomb empty, along with the speaking with the angel, angels, man, men, was discounted by the apostles. It all has the ring of authenticity.

The Triumphal Entry & Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

Luke 19:28–40

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.              The final week, often referred to as The Passion Week, of Jesus’ ministry begins with His entry into Jerusalem. He comes in on a young donkey, a colt, that had never been ridden. Many think Jesus had arranged for the colt to be available via his friends who lived in Bethany, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, just 2 miles from Jerusalem.

2.              Two of Jesus’ disciples, no names are provided in any of the Gospel accounts, throw their ‘cloaks’ or outer garments, on the back of the colt, then put Jesus on the animal.

3.              Descending from the Mt. of Olives (Olivet) heading for Jerusalem not more than 2 miles distant, a whole multitude (meaning lots) accompany Him into the city rejoicing with shouts of praise. Their words state that these disciples understand that Jesus is the King or the Lord’s Messiah.

4.              Among the crowd are some Pharisees who shout out to Jesus that He must “rebuke” His disciples (students). In response, Jesus says that if these follower of His would not do so “the very stones would cry out.”

5.              As this large group nears Jerusalem, as the city came into view, Jesus began to weep, and amidst the weeping He is heard to express sorrow for what would come to the city since it would experience utter devastation, to the effect that the destroyers “will not leave on stone upon another.”

6.              This “word of knowledge” came to Jesus, and it would be fulfilled forty years later (or one generation) away. And so, it would at the conclusion of a four-year war with Rome, the city would be destroyed, along with the Temple, in 70 A.D.

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath & A Man with a Withered Hand

Gospel Meditation

Luke 6:1–11

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.         Over the centuries laws regarding what was permissible to do on the Sabbath, 6pm Friday to 6pm Saturday, grew immensely. The focus was on any form of work. The Pharisees, (today the Orthodox) in particular, observed these.

2.         The disciples of Jesus picked off heads of grain (wheat, barley?) and ate the kernels. (Note that Jesus did not miraculously provide for them.)

3.         Some Pharisees, and we might ask, “What were they doing there?”, complained. And Jesus reminded them that even David and his men, when hungry and fleeing from Saul, ate the bread of the Presence, which only the priests had a right to.

4.         Then Jesus said, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath,” thereby identifying Himself as the Messiah and thus could act as did David.

5.         On yet another Sabbath, Jesus, while teaching in a synagogue, healed a man who had a withered hand, and it was his right hand, his ‘working’ hand, a very serious injury.

6.         Jesus asked the man to come forward, stand before Him, and asked a question about doing good (seen as working) on the Sabbath. Jesus then asked the man to stretch out his hand and when he did, it was healed.

7.         No rejoicing by the scribes and Pharisees; rather they were filled with a senseless fury and began to think of ways to stand against Jesus.

Jesus Calls Levi & A Question About Fasting

Gospel Meditation

Luke 5:27–39

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.         Jesus observed a tax collector named Levi (later to be known as Matthew) sitting at his station.  Jesus said to him, “follow me” and he did, abruptly leaving everything behind.

2.         Levi threw a big dinner party at his home and other tax collectors joined in. Some Pharisees and scribes, observing this, wondered how it was that this Jesus would have anything to do with such sinners.

3.         Jesus, sensing this “righteous” attitude stated that only those who were sick needed a physician. Then He uttered the incredible fact that He had come to call “sinners to repentance.”

4.         Jesus’ detractors reminded Him that John’s (the Baptist) followers fasted but that His did not, which was not proper in their eyes.

5.         Jesus, using an analogy from Jewish weddings, in that while the bridegroom is there at the festivities, there is no fasting. But when the bridegroom is gone, and the party is over, then there will be fasting.

6.         Jesus then gives out two parables about practical things, one, not sewing new cloth to patch old garments and two, not putting new (unfermented)d wine into old wine skins. In both cases, the cloth and the new wine would be lost.

7.         Here now was being observed new cloth and new wine. Jesus would not adhere to the old, and useless ways of the Law keepers.

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

Gospel Meditation

Luke 5:17–26

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.         Yet early in Jesus’ ministry, many of the religious establishment were coming to hear him, and here now are the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees, perhaps even Essenes, and these from all over.

2.         One day, sitting to teach in the home of what most commentators think is that of a wealthy person, a group of four (Mark tells us there were four), bring to Jesus a man who cannot walk, a paralytic.

3.         Unable to gain access to Jesus due to the large crowd, they climbed up, likely by means of an external staircase, to what is likely a flat roof made up of sun hardened mud slabs or tiles.

4.         They lower the paralytic, lying on a bed of some sort, to the room Jesus is in. Jesus takes this event as one of faith, that these men thought Jesus could heal their friend.

5.         Jesus’ opening statement is, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” Whereupon the religious folk thought they were hearing Jesus utter blasphemous words. Jesus could detect their mumblings and asks which is easier to forgive sin or heal an obvious serious physical malady.

6.         For the first time Jesus utters to words, “Son of Man,” code for Messiah, and says to the paralytic, “rise and pick up your bed and go home.”

7.         The result was that “awe” and the Greek the word is best translated “fear,” those who witnessed the miracle said that they had seen “extraordinary things today.”

Jesus Cleanses a Leper

Luke 5:12–16

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.         While Jesus was travelling in Galilee, he is approached by a man with leprosy. This skin disease took many forms, and one could pass it on to others by a mere touch.

2.         The diseased man, taking a great risk by being around others in a city, saw Jesus, approached Him, fell on his face and begged Jesus to heal him, if He would.

3.         Jesus reached out and touched the man and said, “I will; be clean.” The touching could have put Jesus into real trouble from others, of course Jesus knew this, but did it anyway.

4.         In an instant the man was healed, which is typical of Jesus’ other healing. There was no period of time elapsing between word or touch and the complete healing.

5.         Jesus then commands the man to perform what the Law of Moses said, this found in Leviticus 13 and 14, so we see Jesus being obedient to the Law.

6.         The word of the healing, so very dramatic, spread far and wide with great crowds coming to Jesus. And Jesus, it is assumed, both continued to teach and heal.

7.         After some unknown period of time, Jesus withdrew to desolate places, we imagine deserts, to pray.

8.         Here we see both the divine nature and human nature of Jesus. His need for prayer is a reminder to us of our need to spend time with our Lord in prayer.