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Christmas Reflections: Walk Through Luke - Chapter 13



The Gospel of Luke tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.


December 13

Day 13

Luke chapter 13

There are 24 chapters in this book

They bring us through the story of Jesus - the reason for this season.


I also include in the bottom or comments some “extras” like short videos and songs that you may have never heard (or artists you may not know) that resonate with me during this holiday time.


Each post will start with who is who so that you can get a solid understanding of what this chapter is about. I encourage you to read the chapter in your own Bible after you read this. If you don’t have a Bible there are lots of free apps. I use several versions in my studying to ensure I have a full understanding of what I’ve read.


This is my commentary.


Who was Luke?

A physician, a researcher, a traveling friend of Paul (mentioned in Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24), perhaps someone researching facts to help the legal case for Paul while in prison in Rome, a non-Jew, the only Gentile author of a book in the New Testament. He penned not only Luke, but also Acts.


New characters continue to be introduced - new in this chapter:

* some worshippers

* Pilate

* Man and his gardener

* Woman with extreme arthritis


MIXING BLOOD

The chapter starts out with followers telling Jesus that some worshippers in Galilee were brought to Pilate. He had them killed and he mixed their blood with the blood of sacrificed animals. Jesus asked “do you think this happened because they were more sinful than others? Of course not. But if you don’t change your lives and turn to God the same thing will happen to you. 18 people also died when the tower of Siloam (south of Jerusalem) collapsed and fell on them. Do you think they were more sinful? No. But if you don’t decide to change your lives you’ll be destroyed too.”


I had to stop and think about those two stories of murder and death by something like an earthquake.


In both cases people died. In both cases we don’t really know what happened to lead up to the deaths.


The first group must have done something to have been brought to the government leader before they were judged guilty of something and killed. For the second story - we don’t know if there is sin, blame, fault. We just read people were dead.


In the first news story - it’s interesting to think the people being discussed were Galilean. That is what Jesus was. These people had traveled to their pilgrimage to worship and pray to God. In a few more days you’ll see how these people - who also were learning from Jesus - would turn on him. So in the end the human who was killed became the sacrificial lamb.

It wasn’t our blood mixed with animal sacrifice but in a way it was. Jesus’ blood became the sacrifice FOR us. Keep your eyes on him.

Perhaps this next story will help you see him again even more clearly.


FRUITLESS

Jesus told another story of a man who had a fig tree in his garden but it didn’t produce any fruit. He told his gardener he had been waiting for fruit for 3 yrs and it never produced so he wanted the tree cut down since it was wasting space. The gardener challenged him and asked the man to give it one more chance and one more year. He would dig up around it and fertilize it. If it still doesn’t get any fruit then he could cut it down.


Not sure what that story may mean to you - but what it says to me is that the man owned the tree and the land but he entrusted the care of the land to an experienced gardener. The gardener could have just done what he said and cut the tree - but he knew that perhaps just by digging in deeper, moving the soil, and adding stinky fertilizer - it may help the tree grow.

Maybe the man represents God, the gardener Jesus, and us the tree.

God could easily dismiss us, but Jesus intervenes as the master gardener to give us one more chance and one more year and that it might not be comfortable when He prunes us by changing our circumstances, and relationships and digs the dirt around our hearts, and puts smelly fertilizer there that may seem like poop in our lives but meant for our good because it helps us grow.


OSTEOPOROSIS

Another time Jesus was teaching in the synagogue when a women who was crippled for 18 years had an evil spirit inside her, her back was bent, and she couldn’t stand up straight. Jesus told her she was healed. He laid his hands on her and immediately she could stand up straight. She started praising God. Nothing is outside His script and power to change in our lives. Jesus can do anything. In this case the lady was afflicted, asked for help, and she got it.

How many times do we struggle through things and just blame God, not ask him for help.

How did she know that day after almost 20 years of maybe wondering why her life was the way it was - did she think this man could help her? Was it because she saw him helping others and it was working? Or did she just believe. If it was by seeing him work in other lives.


MY OWN REDEMPTION

I can tell you this - see what he has done for me. If you’ve known me a really long time - you have memories of me. I will always hope they’re good but perhaps some of them are not good. In my younger years I was less kind, empathetic, positive, or focused on my faith. I pretty much fail at something every day but I keep trying to be more like Jesus. If you knew me from ATL then you also know my home and everything I had was destroyed in a massive flood. Through that experience 11 years ago Jesus came firmly up and front in my life stronger than ever before and had pursued me relentlessly ever since.


He changed my heart, He wiped tears from my eyes, he restored my situation and continued to provide far far more in me and for me than I had done in life up to that point.

If I told you some stories of his grace over me - it may stun you. He helped me Rise Above.


He can do the same for you.


It does not mean people will not want to impede you or trip you up. The closer you get to God the more upset or jealous some people will get.

  • Some of those people will be your blood family (oh could I tell you a story about this which has been heartbreaking and makes no sense).

  • Some will be your friends who you love dearly (here’s another one I could tell you stories you would think are crazy).

  • Some will be people you would think were aligned with goodness but just aren’t. I don’t need to tell you stories about this - just turn on any news channel. You’ll see it everywhere.


Back to the chapter. See what I mean.

Of course the synagogue leader was upset because Jesus healed this lady on a sabbath. He told the people there are six other days in the week and to come be healed on those days.


Jesus told the Pharisees they were hypocrites since they untie their work animals and lead them to drink and eat every day. That is also considered work.


Jesus explained this woman was a descendant of Abraham but Satan had a hold on her and it was not wrong for her to be untied and freed from her sickness.


The people criticizing him felt ashamed of themselves. The rest of the people were happy for the things he was doing.


When we feel tied or held down or back, don’t feel well, or need help - Jesus won’t wait for a sabbath to pass. There’s no “we are closed” sign. He is always active willing and waiting for us.

Go to him with your needs and pray. We may not always get the healing we want - but he knows our whole life and can see what we can’t.


Jesus taught more and explained that Gods kingdom was:

  1. Like a mustard seed - when someone plants it, it grows, becomes a tree, and birds make homes in the branches

  2. Like yeast mixed in a bowl of flour that makes the dough rise


The seed can’t grow unless it is planted and mixed with dirt. The yeast can’t become bread if it is not mixed with flour.


God’s kingdom cannot be ours if we do not seek it, learn about it, understand Jesus and become mixed with it by having the Holy Spirit live within us.

Once a seed is planted in our heart it’s like the Grinch - that heart heals and gets bigger.


Not everyone will learn this lesson.

Neither did they back then and yet these stories have been told for 2000 years. May we all have eyes to read, brains to comprehend, and ears to listen that open hearts to receive.


Back to the chapter.

Jesus taught in every town and village and some asked how many people would be saved. He said:

  • the door is narrow

  • Not everyone who wants to go in can

  • If a man locks his door you can stand outside and knock but he might not open it

  • You can knock again but he might say “I don’t know you”

  • You might say to him that you ate and drank with him when he was teaching in the streets

  • He may tell you to go away since he didn’t know you and that you are a person that does wrong

  • You’ll see all the prophets inside but you’ll be left outside

  • You’ll cry and grind your teeth in pain

  • People will come from everywhere and sit down at God’s table

  • The people at their lowest will now be at their highest

  • The reverse will also be true


WARNING

Just then some Pharisees came to Jesus and advised Him to go away and hide because Herod wanted to kill Him.


This sentence showed me that not all teachers of the law hated him. Jesus taught from the Bible. He was knowledgeable. He knew much.


There will be people you’ll meet in future chapters that will show you it’s not about your title - it’s about your heart.

It’s not about what you do - it’s about who lives inside you and what he did to ensure you have life everlasting.


Jesus wasn’t scared.

He told them “go and tell that sneaky fox that today and tomorrow I am going to heal people and force demons out of them to finish my work. The next day I’ll be finished. (3 is a significant number here). After that I must go because all prophets must die in Jerusalem.”


Then He spoke to Jerusalem saying the town stones people to death who God sends there. “How many times did I want to help you like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings - but you wouldn’t let me.

Now your home will be left empty. You won’t see me again until that time when you say “welcome! God bless the One who comes in the name of the Lord” - this is super powerful when you think of the plight in the Middle East which continues to plague that part of the world. **


Tomorrow more to come with Ch 14.


—-


PRAYER

Lord thank you for your word. Thank you we live in a place where we still are free to worship you without fear of being killed or someone as gruesome as having our blood mixed with animals just to make a bold statement. I pray for those people in the world where that is still a reality for them and yet they still worship you. May we have more urging in our hearts to not just be a living tree here on earth - but with your help may we produce fruit and do what we were created to do. Lord I’m speaking about myself but I know there are others reading and may this also resonate with them in a way they understand you speaking to them as well. Thank you that you can heal and straighten me out in any area of my life if you want to. You never stop pursuing me. God thank you for sending Your Son to exchange His life for mine. I will never deserve the gift - nor be able to give a comparable gift in return. This week as people are rushing around to finish buying gifts - May we take moments to remember the greatest gift of all. Amen


MUSIC - the universal language

Here’s a song to welcome us to this day:

Here’s the song I thought of today to share https://youtu.be/0Hl3-GjR70w


And one more beautiful song


EXTRAS:

This is a clip I found that shows how fast a tiny seed can grow if it’s in the right conditions. Same is for our mind and hearts. Nothing is impossible with God https://youtu.be/5npnTv13osc

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