Devotionals are sometimes adapted from my Portuguese originals. They emphasize obedience to Christ as Lord, living like God’s special people, and participation in his spiritual rescue project. The devotionals come several times a week urging us to live the Word of God daily. Get them by email here or sign up for the whole shebang.
Preparing the Quick Bible Truths tweet for this morning, which lately has been following the daily NT reading schedule, I wanted a submission really upbeat and positive. Well, Luke 20 isn’t one of those chapters for cheery thoughts. It presents the conflict between Jesus and the authorities in its final, hottest moment, before his betrayal.
After Jesus cleanses the temple, they challenge his authority (1-8). Not every question is a simple request for information. Questions are used for many purposes, with a variety of motivations. Theirs, like the later question on taxes, was designed “to take advantage of what he might say so that they could deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor” (v. 20). One would think that “teaching … and proclaiming the gospel” (v. 1) would be innocent and harmless activities, but the Lord invaded their territory “in the temple courts.” As well, he was teaching “the people,” where the priests, scribes, and elders (probably indicating the Sanhedrin) exerted their influence. Everything Jesus did was wrong, in their mind. Continue reading →
The Son of Man entered Jerusalem as the One who had come to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:1-10). On the back of a colt, he came as the Prince of Peace. The people saw this and proclaimed:
As he approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:37-38 NET).
Peace in heaven. God has conquered contrary forces and brought peace. Now he will blanket the earth with peace. So they thought. Jesus says they know nothing of what brings peace. As the city lies beneath him in his descent to the gates, he says, Continue reading →
Luke 15 is the scheduled New Testament reading for today. Below, I’ve translated the Portuguese devotional thought based on the chapter, or one verse of it.
But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Luke 15:2 NET
If your only concern is personal purity, and not purification for others, you’ll side with the Pharisees who criticized Jesus.
If, however, you share the same spirit of Christ, the desire to rescue the impure and transport them back to the presence of the Father, you will do as he did: search out the lost wherever they are. Continue reading →
Here are five introductory points for tomorrow’s lesson on “How to Beat Hypocrisy,” from Luke 12:1-12. I include them here and now, since I don’t know if I’ll get the whole outline translated or not.
Some days ago an American actor admited his hypocrisy, since he campaigned against polluting the earth and rode in his private, polluting jet. Generally, people tend to point out hypocrisy in others, but Jesus wants us to confess our own and repent of it.
The text of Luke 12:1-2 is divided, according to the markers (“speak,” “say”), in three paragraphs: verses 1-3, verses 4-7, and verses 8-10. (NET, NRSV, ESV e NKJV follow this division exactly.) Continue reading →
Now an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Luke 10:25 NET
The ultimate test is getting the right answer to this question. The expert, above all people and more than all issues, should have had the answer on the tip of his tongue. He wanted, however, to harm Jesus. Our Lord wanted to bless him with life through this question.
Only the “honest and good heart” (Luke 8:15) will find eternal life, and not the one who wants to justify himself (Luke 10:29).
When, like the expert, you stand up, let it be to get eternal life, rather than escaping the responsibility to confess Jesus as Lord and obey him in everything. Let it be to love God totally, and your neighbor as yourself.
All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change.
James 1:17 NET
They say that one of the trials of living with an alcoholic parent is never knowing how he will react, whether today he’ll be nice or mean, whether he will ignore the child or beat him. Continue reading →
But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves by refusing to be immersed by John.
The Jewish leaders’ refusal to be immersed by John signaled their rejection of God’s purpose for them.
John had been “sent from God” (John 1:6) to prepare the way for Jesus. His message included a change a life and immersion in water so that sins might be forgiven. Although his baptism was preparatory and temporary (see Acts 19:1ff), during that period it was part of God’s purpose as a concrete sign of repentance and to bring about God’s forgiveness. Continue reading →
“Then astonishment seized them all, and they glorified God. They were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen incredible things today.’”
Luke 5:26 NET
When Jesus forgave the sins of the paralitic man, he was criticized. But when the crowd saw Jesus cure the man, and the man walking and carrying his stretcher, the witnesses glorified God and exclaimed that they had seen something extraordinary.
Afterwards, Jesus calls Levi to follow him, and criticisms rain down on him again, No praises.
The verse above concludes the passage about the paralytic, but do you reckon that Luke isn’t wishing that the reader would make a similar exclamation about Levi’s calling?
For what is more incredible: forgiving sins, reclaiming a soul, inspiring a fat cat to leave his riches in order to follow the Lord, or restoring a man’s body? Is it not the former?
Today, things haven’t changed much. We are impressed with the material, while the spiritual passes unnoticed. Or criticized.
You have your opinion, I have mine. Usually, opinions, being what they are, don’t matter much. Some of us prefer Apple, others a PC. In the end, both get the job done. But at times an opinion matters and means the difference between life and death, between right and wrong.
Text: Matthew 22
Memorize: “While the Pharisees were assembled, Jesus asked them a question: ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?’ They said, ‘The son of David.'” Matthew 22:41-42 NET
Usually, Jesus’ enemies asked him questions, attempting to test him and make him stumble. Sometimes he answered them, sometimes not. This time, however, our Lord challenges the Pharisees with a question, which deals with the central issue of his identity. No matter of personal opinion, the answer was Continue reading →