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Day 270 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Luke.
Luke 6 – In both the old and new covenants God gives instructions for how His people are to live in faithful response to Him. Observing the Sabbath rest is one such example from the law. Yet in both the old and new covenants human nature is the same in our tendency to take God’s instruction and make it external rather than internal, religious rather than faithful, law rather than grace. These two Sabbath-conflict stories show this human tendency and speak directly against a legalistic, gospel-less way of living.
Jesus points us toward God and toward Himself. On the one hand these stories show us that, as the true representation of God, Jesus must be the focus of our religious devotion. At the same time, Jesus shows us that gospel living entails compassion toward those in need, because this is God’s heart as well. So, in both ways the gospel is shown to be a matter of the heart—a heart of faith toward God and a heart of compassion toward others.
Using a series of contrasts, Jesus boldly outlines God’s surprising vision of people and the world in verses 20-26. Just the opposite of our natural valuations, God’s blessings rest upon the poor, not the rich; the hungry, not the full; the weeping, not the laughing; the persecuted, not the popular.
The gospel of Jesus truly brings blessedness and wholeness. But in this fallen, sin-ravaged world this blessedness will often look like poverty, hunger, weeping, and persecution.
This teaching calls us to apply the gospel to our lives by choosing by faith to rejoice and even exult in trials (James 1:2–4; 1 Peter 1:6–7). We can rejoice because such difficulties in this world can serve as confirmation that we are on the path of God and that in the coming heavenly kingdom we will be rewarded with riches, satisfaction, joy, and God’s affirmation of us despite present suffering.
Few things in life are more difficult or counterintuitive than loving one’s enemies, described by Jesus in deep and practical images (verses 28–35). The gospel alone, with its staggering promises of great reward (v. 35), offers the resources we need for this Spirit-driven behavior. The Word of God informs us of these truths, so that by meditating on them we might grow in believing hope and, thereby, empowered actions.
In this love of enemy we are modeling God’s own character, manifested fully in Jesus. For when we were God’s enemies, He loved us back into fellowship with Himself (Romans 5:6–10). We love as we have been loved (1 John 4:11).
If you are struggling in some way today (and aren’t we all), how will you look to see God’s purpose and plan for you in your circumstances?
Luke 7 – Like many other healing stories in the Gospels, this event shows God’s compassion, power, and plan, all incarnated perfectly in Jesus. God cares for people and has compassion on us as we live in this broken and sinful world; He cares about the things that affect our hearts and grieve us (1 Peter 5:6–7). We also see that, as Creator and Sustainer, God through Jesus can and does powerfully heal brokenness and sin, which is a foretaste of His final restoration of all things (1 Corinthians 15:50–57). God’s plan to restore people from every tongue, tribe, and nation is also shown in Jesus’ commending of this Roman centurion’s faith (Luke 7:9; Galatians 3:28; Revelation 5:9). The centurion serves as a model of what response to the gospel looks like: believing trust, and hope in Jesus’ power and compassion toward us.
The rich story in verses 36-50 touches on many key issues of the gospel and our response to it. First, we see a stark contrast between two different kinds of people, revealed in their heart responses to Jesus and to others. Simon the Pharisee fails to honor the non-prestigious Jesus with even basic hospitality, while also condemning in his heart a humble and sinful woman in need of compassion. Meanwhile the “sinner” of this story, the broken prostitute, responds with a great and open love for Jesus that overrides any fear of man.
Second, this story once again emphasizes that the gospel is about our forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus. Jesus has come to forgive our sins and free us from sin’s bondage, and He has the power to do so; our part is to believe.
Taken together, these gospel truths teach us that our response to Jesus and our love for Him are directly connected to a proper view of ourselves and others. When we understand our brokenness and cast ourselves upon Jesus, the result is forgiveness of sin, love, and peace. If instead we lack compassion for others and love Jesus little, then, like Simon, we show that we do not understand ourselves or Jesus’ grace.
How do you view others, especially those “sinners” around you? What does this reveal about how the gospel has (or has not) captured your heart?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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