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Christmas Reflections: Walk Through Luke - Chapter 17



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


December 17

Day 17

Luke chapter 17

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:

* ten lepers

* More Pharisees


TEMPTING

This chapter starts out by sharing our responsibilities when our brothers and sisters sin. Trials and temptations come to all of us. Don’t be the one doing the tempting. One version says It would be better for you to have a cement block around your neck and be tossed to the bottom of the ocean. Another says the punishment of betraying others will be worse than the heaviest boulder being tied around your neck while you’re hurled into the deepest sea. Pretty graphic. Betrayal is serious.


HEART CONDITION

Ok this might take me a bunch of words to get it out because I am frustrated, sad, mad, and since it’s my post I’m going to describe some times when people I cared about betrayed me. When I read this first part of the verse all I could think about is wishing they had that punishment and THEN I started to think - is the lesson that? Not really. It’s about My Own Heart condition over the betrayals.


3 impactful betrayals:

Over the years I’ve worked with more than one person that either took my ideas as their own, competed against me when I didn’t even sign up for the fight, and being told to stop being “so good” because it’s making another team look bad. What?!? All true stories. More than one time.


3 former (there’s more than 3):

In my career lifetime this has unfortunately not been an unusual scenario.

  1. Once I had a “friend” and we were great friends - take my resume (my exact word for word resume) and put their name on it as if it was their own - in order to get a job. They got the job. That was strike one of the downfall of our “friendship” which I thought was a strong bond.

  2. Another time in another job I was able to hire another friend and help them shine. Bright. This person ended up taking credit for programs as if they were their own, won a very significant award for it, never gave credit where it came from, and ultimately staged a private and covert campaign that resulted in me leaving my job.

  3. The third example is the betrayal from family. It’s not even worth putting ink to paper over any more but suffice it to say that it has separated a significant part of blood family from one another.


WEAKNESS

All of these examples are because of someone weak wanting to be stronger off the back of someone stronger. It’s about the quest for power. It’s about putting self interests in front of service. It’s about how temptation of money and prestige makes people do crazy things to people they say they care about. Jesus said in the passages yesterday you can’t serve two masters.


While I had to grow through those experiences - I truly had to wrestle with MY heart condition.

How do you forgive people who are not only NOT asking for forgiveness but who are intent to continue the charade as wolves in sheep’s clothing.

FORGIVE

Today I prerecorded an episode of my podcast on the book The How of Happiness. The topic was forgiveness. One of the key points of the chapter was that forgiveness is mostly for you. Forgiveness isn’t always for the traitor or betrayer. It’s for YOU. It’s so you can clear your mind and heart so that you can move into something more around what God has purposed you for.

The What's On Your Bookshelf podcast episodes come out every Wednesday and this one will air around February.

SELF AWARENESS

We betray (sin against) God every day in one way or another. These chapters and the Bible are meant to be messages for us to become more self aware and to turn from those ways toward a better way. I’ve forgiven the people who hurt me in the above stories. Walking away from them isn’t the same as unforgiveness.

If Jesus could forgive me daily for my many trespasses then I can try to forgive as well.

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Maybe there is someone you need to forgive. Maybe even it’s yourself. Jesus even TAUGHT us to pray this to Him “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil...”


Maybe you too have had things happen “to you”. I hope whatever I write next will help make something different happen “through you” and if it does - don’t forget to thank God for the gift of change.


If we see our friends sinning- We are to:

1. Warn them

2. Every time they ask to be forgiven - always forgive them.

The Bible says even if they commit the same sin again 7 times - if they ask for forgiveness - give it.

YOU GOTTA HAVE FAITH

The disciples asked Jesus to bless them with more faith. He said you can’t have more or less faith. If you have faith you have it. Think about that. Even if your faith is as small as a mustard seed (which is very small) you could look at a tree and say pull yourself up from the roots and go relocate into the water and it will obey.


WHAT HE SAID

Jesus gave an analogy - “suppose you are a master of your household and you come in from a long day of work. You wouldn’t tell your servant to pull up a chair and sit down - you’d ask him to make you dinner. The servant doesn’t get special thanks for just doing his job. It’s the same with you. When you’ve done everything you’re expected to do for God, it is what was expected.”


MERCY ROAD

While the crew was walking toward Jerusalem they crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. Nearby there were ten leper’s with very contagious skin disease. They shouted “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us”. Everyone could see they were diseased. He told the men to go show themselves to the priests. As they started to walk away - they noticed they were healed. One man turned around, came running back to Jesus, kneeling and shouting with gratitude, glorifying God, and thanking Jesus. Turns out he was a Samaritan.


Jesus said “10 of you were healed. Only one came back. Where are the other 9? Can none give glory to God except this man who is from Samaria?” He then turned to the man and said “get up because your faith has healed you.”

Jesus doesn’t segregate, He can restore anyone at any time.

THE UNASSUMING BAD GUYS

Enter the Pharisees. I try as I’m reading these chapters to not think of them as annoying. During their time they were significantly powerful and “important” people that knew the law of God and believed what they thought was the best and right. Jesus tried His best many times to tell them the right things to think. This time they asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come.


Jesus told them that “the kingdom doesn’t come by counting days on a calendar or when someone says “Look there it is!” He told them “the kingdom is already among you.”


He turned to His disciples and told them a day was coming when they’d desperately want to be seeing Him again. But they won’t see a thing. People will say “look! Over here!” But there will be nothing. Don’t fall for that nonsense. The second coming of the Son of Man isn’t something you go see - it just happens.


Have you ever seen when the sky lights up during a lightning storm? It will be like that . But first He will have to suffer many things and be turned down by people (in the coming days of this commentary you will learn more)


JESUS IS COMING BACK

Jesus said his second coming will:

1. Be like the days of Noah. People were living their everyday lives the day the family entered the boat. The people suspected nothing even though he warned them

2. Be like when Lot walked out of Sodom. People were living their normal lives but when he left - a firestorm came down and burned everything

That’s how it will be - just something that seems all of a sudden.


When the day comes you won’t have time to grab anything and you can’t take anything with you. If you try to grasp anything from your life you’ll lose it. Let that life go so you’ll gain life on God’s terms.


On that day there might be 2 men fishing and 1 will be taken up. There might be 2 women working in a kitchen and 1 will be taken up.


QUESTIONS

The disciples were trying to process it all and asked Jesus where this would happen. He said :

“Watch for the circling of vultures. They’ll spot the corpse first. Then the action will begin around my dead body. These signs will indicate that the time is near.”


—-


Tomorrow chapter 18


PRAYER

Lord thank you for your word. Thank you for my friends and family that keep me on a straight path. Thank you for changing my life from the inside out - even when those experiences may make me feel “sad/mad/bad”. Help me to get through those feelings to find “glad”. Help me to remember that I do have faith even as a teeny tiny mustard seed and that faith can move mountains when I trust you more. May I never take for granted your blessings on me. Thank you that while we don’t know when you’re coming back - that your promise still holds true and you will come for us. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Thank you for providing everything I need in abundance. Thank you for continued forgiveness and daily renewal. Keep me from temptations and rebuke the enemy from anywhere near me and my most treasured loved ones. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen


MUSIC - the universal language

The song that resonates with me today is this one by Matthew West https://youtu.be/JflRQLKjAQY and this one by Jordan Feliz https://youtu.be/pPo4wuQolTQ?si=XW_Pl_q3t9wEeS_y and one more from Lauren Daigle https://youtu.be/yHCsANscc4E


EXTRAS:

Short Clip about how easy it is for Jesus to forgive even when we feel we don’t deserve to be forgiven https://youtu.be/n7J6MkZgBfo


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