Mar. 20 – (Luke 15:1-7) Let’s get creative in thinking about this parable. When you came to the Lord you were “the one” that all of heaven was celebrating over. How joyous they were that you accepted Christ as your Savior. You then become part of the 99. Now let’s fast forward when your child accepted Christ as their Savior. This is every Christians’ most heartfelt prayer and desire. Because you have been saved, you become "just so" (see verse 7). Do you mind being part of the “just so” crowd? No! Now think of the person who just cut you off in traffic or honked at you “for no reason”. They are somebody’s child. Shouldn’t we feel toward them and diligently pray for them as we would our own unsaved child? Selah!
Mar. 21 – (Luke 15:8-10) Recall something (so valuable you thought life could not go on without) that you lost and were frustrated that you couldn’t find. If you are older, it might be your glasses or your keys or your phone. I can get desperate at times. As I am frantically trying to retrace my steps, I am asking Jesus to please help me find them! How do you feel when you are looking? Are you angry at yourself? Blaming others? Frantic? When you found it, how did you react then? Now try to put that in context with those you know are “lost”. “Oh Jesus, please help them ‘find’ you!” Oh, that we had the same passion. Selah
Mar. 22 – (Luke 15:11-31) The prodigal son is a well-known story. How do you feel about the younger son who takes his dad’s money and squanders it? In that culture, the younger son’s share would have been half of what the older brother would receive or 1/3 of the estate (Deut. 21:17). Do you think he deserves the pig’s food? How do you feel about the older son? Does he deserve to have been more appreciated and rewarded for his loyalty to his family? As you know, Jesus intends the younger son to portray the tax collectors and “sinners” (v.1). He has painted a negative portrait of the elder son, who represents the Pharisees and teachers of the law (v. 2). Where is Jesus extending hope to his critics in this parable (vv. 28-32)?
Did you know? The pods mentioned I 15:16 are most likely carob pods. The pods of the carob tree were used for animal feed, but poor people often ate them as well.
DID YOU KNOW? Old Testament believers never addressed God as Father, though occasionally a writer says that God is like a father (Ps. 103:13). It was Jesus who first taught his followers to approach and address God as Father. Remember Luke 11:2-13? If you dare, go through Luke and highlight where Jesus refers to God as Father. In what ways, should these fatherly portraits influence your relationship to God?
Mar. 23 – (Luke 16: 1-9) This whole chapter is given to Jesus’ teaching about wealth. In these first verses, Jesus teaches a parable that I’ve always had a hard time relating to. Knowing Jewish culture at that time does give us a better picture of what Jesus is trying to teach us. Did you know Jews were forbidden to lend money at interest? Many people got around this by lending in kind, with oil and wheat being easy commodities to use for this purpose. It is likely that what the steward did in verses 1-9 was deducted from the bill the interest that the master had been charging. That would leave just the principal to be paid back. The debtors would be delighted, but the master wouldn’t. Nonetheless, he couldn’t openly lay a charge against the steward without owning up to his own shady business practices. Thus, when the master heard about what had happened; he couldn’t help but admire the man’s clever approach even though he suffered financially because of it. Are you looking at this differently now?
If we were faced with a first-century Jewish story about a master and a steward, we would likely identify the master as God and the steward as Israel. What situation is Jesus indicating that Israel is in and what is he implying they should do?
Mar. 24 – (Luke 16:10-17) From a parable about money (vv.1-9), Luke moves on to an actual teaching about money (vv.10-17). Here Jesus speaks of it as a trust. What difference does it make to view money as a trust rather than as a possession? How would it look practically in our lives if we treated our money and material goods as a trust? Selah
As in most peasant societies, in Jesus’ day there was a very small number of extremely rich people and a very large number of the very poor. The rich included the chief priests (some of their opulent houses in Jerusalem have been discovered by archaeologists), so any attack on the rich would include an attack on them. The Pharisees were more of a populist movement, but the danger they faced, with the land as a key part of their religion, was that they would equate possession of land, and the wealth it brought, with God’s blessing. Jesus’ stern warnings at the end of chapter 14 had already made it clear that this was not the way. The Pharisees might have pointed out that much in the Jewish law encouraged their view of possessions as a sign of God’s favor. Jesus, of course, takes the opposite view, with much of the prophetic writings (as well as the law’s commands for Israel to care for the poor and needy) clearly on his side. His relationship to the law, however, is not exactly straightforward.
How do verses 16-18 reveal Jesus’ view of the law and the prophets (Old Testament) as taking their place in a sequence of events within God’s plan?
Mar. 25 – (Luke 16:18) This verse is one most Christians have differing beliefs and opinions about. Is it because the divorce rate in the Christian home is the same or worse than a non-Christian home (In this age non-Christian couples are not marrying sooo no divorce is legalized at the separation.)? Or have we been too legalistic about our view on divorce? I know my view has changed as I’ve lived life and studied His Word. No matter how you view divorce, His Word never changes. It is up to us to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to us and follow. I leave you with one other question about these verses in chapter 16. How are verses 10-18 all connected by the challenge of being faithful? Selah
Mar. 25 – (Luke 16:19-31) The parable of the rich man and Lazarus can bring understanding or misunderstanding to our “life after earthly death”. One might think we should not have riches because it will lead us to hell. We may also think that if we have a physically horrible earthly life, we will enjoy a heavenly reward. How can we know what this is saying? What has the world taught us to believe about this that goes against Truth? Selah