Feb. 27 – (Luke 9:1-17) Why do you think Jesus gave the disciples restrictions before He set them out to minister?  When they came back, Jesus then asks them to feed 5,000! How is what Jesus does next (with the fish and loaves of bread) a sharply focused version of what they themselves had just been doing as they traveled around?  Hmmmm

Feb. 28 – (Luke 9:18-36) It says in verse 18 that “Jesus was praying alone; the disciples were with Him.” I’m trying to picture that (I’m such a literal thinker).  Jesus then asks the disciples who the crowds say Jesus was.  Then He asks who disciples say He was? Peter’s answer was spot on.  For the first time Jesus reveals that His role as God’s anointed Messiah involves suffering and death. He then tells them not to reveal it.  Why would Jesus not want to proclaim it at that time for all to know?  Do they think not understand His unspoken reasons?  Do you think they couldn’t see any purpose in it and got frustrated in the timing of the “Big Reveal”? Have you ever felt God was directing you but the circumstances weren’t lining up?  Maybe…it just isn’t time yet.  Selah

                Let’s get back to who Peter (representing the disciples) said Jesus was.  In their heads they knew it but we know their actions didn’t always do what their head was saying.   Did Jesus reject them for their actions?  Did they still “change the world” even though at times their actions and words didn’t match?  That gives me courage to keep “walking out” my salvation even when my actions (or feelings) don’t match the Truth that I know!

March 1 – (Luke 9:37-48) As I was reading a description of verse 43, I got caught on the phrase, “while they were all marveling at everything He was doing…”. Just because they were “marveling” did not mean they had faith in Jesus.  Many Christians and non-Christians may recognize miracles in their life but not always believe or have faith in Jesus.  I want to ponder that some more…

March 2 – (Luke 9:49-62) Verses 51 -56 involves Jesus and His disciples looking for housing in a Samaritan village on the way to Jerusalem.  First, I have to admit I think of Jesus “evangelizing” mostly with Jewish persons. Here Jesus is looking to lodge in a Samaritan village. I found some interesting background that has given me a new view of who the Samaritans really were (see DID YOU KNOW? below). When the disciples find out the Samaritans would not receive Jesus, they want permission to call fire and brimstone down on the village.  The disciples judged with punishment in mind.  Jesus judged with restoration and reconciliation in mind. What are we to do? SELAH!!!

                DID YOU KNOW?  Samaria was the usual route taken by travelers from Judea to Galilee.  However, although the OT does not teach this, some Jews thought the Samaritans were unclean; to avoid defilement, they bypassed Samaria by crossing the Jordan and traveling on the east side of the river.  The Samaritans were partly Jewish and partly Gentile and were disdained by both Jews and Gentiles.  2 Kings 17:24-31 describes how the king of Assyria brought foreign people to settle in Samaria after he defeated it in 722 B.C. Over time they intermarried with Jews who remained in the area.  The Samaritans had their own version of the Pentateuch, their own temple on Mount Gerizim, and their own version of Israelite history.

                 “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God (9:61b).” If you have ever used a plow you would understand this verse much better.  Even though I have, I know most of you have not.  (Think of driving your car  forward by looking over your shoulder.) As soon as you look back, you lose focus and begin to veer.  Selah!

March 3 - (Luke 10:1-12) Jesus is sending out 72 others ahead of Him.  One commentary said this number probably represents the number of nations in the world (see Gen.10).  Sending them out 2 by 2 fulfills the OT requirement for two witnesses (Deut. 19:15).  Doesn’t just this little extra info give you a different picture of these verse?

March 4 – (Luke 10:13-24) Jesus sent out 70 to heal the sick and deliver them from demons.  When they came back they sounded amazed at God’s power working through them.  Are we amazed by God’s power working through us?  Jesus’ reply to their amazing stories was not to rejoice in that but to rejoice that their names are written in heaven!  Does your salvation bring you that much excitement and joy?  Let’s stop right here and take time to reflect on what Jesus has done for us. Let’s thank Him, that our names are written in heaven and that we have a victorious life because of Jesus.  Then go out and show the world what you got! J

March 5 – (Luke 10:25-42) The man who engaged Jesus in a rabbinic debate “stood up,” indicating he had been sitting with others listening to Jesus.  What other facts about him can you find? This expert in the Law knew the Old Testament rituals better than most people.  But what does Jesus perceive about his knowledge or the Law – the Old Testament Scripture?  From trying to trap Jesus, the lawyer finds himself on the verge of being trapped.  He needs to “justify himself.”  What difficulties have you seen arise as a result of someone’s trying to “justify himself”?  What should one do instead?

                Jesus details the many concrete ways that the Samaritan “took pity” on the victim.  What do you think he wants the expert to see?  Note that in 10:36 Jesus reverses the expert’s original questions in 10:29. The man got the point, at least intellectually, that maintaining the right relationship with God is not simply performing rituals.  According to Jesus’ parable, how does one demonstrate a right relationship with God? In what concrete ways have you been demonstrating your relationship to God?

                How were the two sisters different (10:38-42)?  What was Jesus’ response to Martha’s use of her time? I want to confess.  I have always been more of a “Martha”.  I can’t tell you how many times I have repented of that mentality.  I have learned that the root of it is the fear of man (trying to please man more than please God) and that is idol worship.  As I renew my mind, He is cleaning out those thought patterns and behaviors and I am so thankful for that!  A couple years ago an intercessor from Israel, whom I have never met sent me a message through a trusted friend. He used those exact “women references” to remind me yet again, He wants me to be more of a ‘Mary’ than a ‘Martha’.  I am so thankful that God knows what reminders we need; in the time we need them!  Did you know that the root of the name Marlyn is Mary?  I realized that several years ago as well.  I keep reminding myself that I am just getting back to my roots that Jesus created in me!  Okay, enough about my journey. Anyone want to share part of your journey?