Luke Devotional – Week 2

Rev. Doug Heiman   -  

January 9 – The Gospel of Luke

Luke 3:1-20, In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord,  make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in,  every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
  the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.’”

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

19 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20 Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.

John’s message to his people and to all who came to him was one of repentance and forgiveness. He told the Jewish folks that they must not presume on their heritage as Abraham’s children. There were many who heard John’s prophetic message, were convicted, and asked what they must do to live out their repentance. When we are convicted by God’s word, we should always seek to obediently respond. Repentance is the response God is looking for. It is so much more than a prayer of confession. It is a deliberate turning to leave behind the ungodly behaviors and take hold of all that his holy and good. What would Jesus say to you if you asked, “What should I do?” What needs to go? What needs to enter into my life? 

Prayer: Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, give me the courage to let go of all that does not belong and take hold of all that is of Jesus. Amen. 

January 10 – The Gospel of Luke

John 3:21-38, When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melki, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josek, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melki, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan, 38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

I love the image of Jesus praying and the heavens opening up. This is the goal of prayer. Not just for us to get heaven to respond to us but for us to respond to heaven. 

However, in this case heaven came down through the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. It was accompanied by a voice declaring that Jesus was God’s beloved Son with whom He was well pleased. 

This was Jesus’ public commissioning. He was already God’s Son. This was the announcement to the world that Jesus was the one who had been promised and has now visited His people. 

Jesus entered into the waters of baptism to identify with all who were sinners, yet was without sin. This was a heaven and earth merging moment. Heaven came down in all of its glory to enter into the depths of human sin. 

The wonder and glory of God’s plan was being unveiled one step at a time. We are beginning to see glimpses of what is to come in God’s rescue story. 

Prayer: Father, thank you for coming to us in Your Son. Thank you for launching the rescue of all rescues to bring us into Your kingdom. Amen.   

January 11 – The Gospel of Luke

Luke 4:1-13, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

Jesus had just been commissioned for His work as the Messiah. He was identified at His baptism as the beloved Son of God. So, everything should be a breeze from this point out, right? That is what we often think or at least hope will be the case. 

Even the Son of God experienced severe testing as He began His ministry. As the Israelites went through the wilderness testing for 40 years so Jesus went through the same for 40 days. Whether we want it or not, testing is necessary to develop spiritual fortitude within us and to discover where we stand with God.  

James tells us what the appropriate attitude of testing is because of what it produces. 

James 1:2-4, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Jesus’ testing was focused on who He was as the Son of God and by what authority He trusted to accomplish the mission He had been sent. Satan falsely presented himself as the ultimate power and offered foolish actions to accomplish what He would through the Father’s plan. The real temptation for Jesus was that Satan offered a shortcut to get there. Jesus saw through the lie because He knew His Father and used Scripture correctly to keep Himself on track. 

Testing is necessary so that we can grow up beyond being babes in Christ. May we know the heart of the Father and His word so that we can pass the test on our discipleship journey. 

Prayer: Father, give us a passion to know You and Your word so that we can faithfully discern Your will and remain standing when all the testing is said and done. Amen. 

January 12 – The Gospel of Luke

Luke 4:14-30, Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. 23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

Jesus was fully empowered by the Spirit of the Lord. The Spirit descended upon Him at baptism, sent Him into the wilderness, empowered Him to go to Galilee, and was the fulfillment of Scripture. Jesus came to bring to life the new age where persons would be redeemed, healed, and set free. This is the way of the kingdom of God. 

As Jesus spoke the truth of grace, it was also a message of warning. He retold the stories of Israel’s past that revealed God’s grace generously went outside their own borders and was accepted. As Jesus reminded them of this historical reality, they revolted against Him. 

Jesus’ message is grace-filled truth for those who will receive it. It is also a warning of judgment for those who will not. God has always acted consistently according to His nature. HIs message is both a generous welcome and serious warning for whatever is needed at the time.  We need both at different times in our own lives. What message do you need to hear today?

Prayer: Father, help us to hear the message of grace and warning. May we receive both as they are needed. Amen. 

January 13 – The Gospel of Luke

Luke 4:31-37, Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority.

33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

It is not surprising that everyone was amazed at Jesus’ teaching. The Word of God was speaking the word of God. This meant His teaching had inherent authority. This authority would continually be unveiled throughout His ministry. It would be accepted by many and rejected by the religious elite. 

Jesus’ authority was also revealed as He battled the powers of darkness. As He brought the kingdom of heaven to earth, the dark powers struck back. Even in a synagogue service, a demon-possessed man spoke up asking what Jesus was going to do but also declaring that he knew who Jesus was. 

The evil spiritual realm knew what earth did not yet know. Jesus was God. Jesus was not wanting this knowledge out yet. He wanted to be known as a prophet as He began His ministry with a growing understanding that He was the Messiah. 

Jesus revealed that He had heavenly authority by driving the demon out. Once again, He spoke with authority, and the man was set free from the devilish powers that had imprisoned him. The people were in awe once again at the power of His word.     

The kingdom of God was advancing one teaching and one healing at a time. This was an unfolding picture of what the new age would ultimately become- a world of healing and wholeness. 

Are we still amazed at the authority of God’s Word and what it continues to do in our lives and world? 

Prayer: Father, thank you for the power of your word as displayed in Jesus and Scripture. May I recognize its full authority by submitting myself to You and to these wonderful words of life. Amen. 

January 14 – The Gospel of Luke

Luke 4:38-44, Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

40 At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.

42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

After synagogue services, Jesus was headed to Sunday dinner (more likely Saturday dinner). The tradition is longstanding for those who continue to carry it on. It appears Simon’s mother was having a big spread. However, she was deathly ill. It became another opportunity for Jesus to display His authority and reveal His wellness plan for the kingdom. 

Once she was healed, she did not miss a beat but went back to preparing dinner. Word got out, and the community brought all the sick and demon-possessed. For a brief moment that evening, heaven had fully descended on earth in Capernaum. As before, Jesus was recognized for who He was by the evil spirits, but Jesus still did not want to be known as the Son of God.

Jesus revealed a pattern that would be familiar throughout His ministry. He intentionally took time to be alone with His Father. It was from those times that He was given His clear purpose. He was to proclaim the good news of the kingdom so He could not locate in one place for He had to tell as many as possible. 

In a short amount of time, Jesus quickly revealed His heavenly authority. However, we see that not only did Jesus heal individuals, but He gave us a picture that the kingdom had come. However, there was so much more to be revealed and is being revealed today. 

How do you see the kingdom of God at work in the world today?

Prayer: Father, we want to do the work of the kingdom. Use us to bring healing and hope to those who are hurting and helpless. Amen.