S – “During those days he went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. 13 When daylight came, he summoned his disciples, and he chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles…”
Luke 6:12–13 CSB
O – So much in this chapter and I chose this simple verse – Jesus spent time in prayer with God. At this point in Luke, he is full of the Holy Spirit, a revered teacher and healer and he is on the religious leaders’ radar as “one to watch.” And, he knows he is God’s son. Yet, he spent time in prayer. Not a quick, check-in. All night he talked with God before making a monumental decision.
A – Jesus lived a human life. He knows the weight of big decisions and the need to spend time with God. I need to embrace those longer times of prayer. Prayer is a two-way conversation, not a check-in. I can go to God seeking wisdom, discernment and insight and then, walk in confidence and peace in my decisions.
S – While he was in one of the towns, a man was there who had leprosy all over him. He saw Jesus, fell facedown, and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Reaching out his hand, Jesus touched him, saying, “I am willing; be made clean,” and immediately the leprosy left him. 14 Then he ordered him to tell no one
Lk 5:12–14 CSB
O – There is a lot going on in this story. Jesus now has disciples. They encounter a man in full-bloom leprosy. Leprosy is a skin disease that is highly infectious. This would make this man “unclean” according to Jewish law. The man could not be close to people, go into the temple to worship and had to announce his “uncleanliness” as he walked.
He recognizes Jesus as Lord. (Same word for Lord as the one Peter used when he caught all the fish earlier.) The leper asks the question – are you willing? This is a question many of us ask today of God. Are you willing to do this for me? It makes sense from the leper because he has been an outcast from the moment his leprosy appears. If culture told this man he is unworthy, would Jesus do the same?
Secondly, Jesus touched him. You can imagine the sheer surprise for the man, the disciples and the onlookers when Jesus did that. Jesus made himself ceremoniously unclean by touching the man. Yet, he was instantly healed. Jesus demonstrated that He was the one who made someone ceremoniously clean. (Only two other recordings of healing from leprosy – Miriam and Namaan). Jesus broke the norm to meet the man where he was and took his affliction from him…see the theme?
A – In making Jesus our savior, we must continue to make him the Lord of our life. In the times of asking about his willingness to do something, He is still Lord and faithful. We must keep our faith strong. He continues to take our sins and afflictions upon Himself when we ask Him to take them.
R – Lord, help me to walk in these principles daily.
S – He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.” They were all speaking well of him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from his mouth; yet they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
Luke 4:20–22 CSB
O – Jesus comes out of the wilderness and the devil’s temptations to begin teaching. He is widely accepted and enjoyed. Even here, people are amazed (marveled) at his words (words of grace.) Then, he crosses the line from teacher to Messiah. In reading those words, Jesus makes the definitive point that the scripture is being fulfilled through Him. And the reaction is the same as you and I today. Some are upset, confused and questioned while others accept, rejoice and see it. Jesus continues to be the most polarizing person even today. The big question is “What are you doing with Jesus?”
A – Following Jesus comes with a price tag. Some are going to love you, while others don’t. Be resolved in your relationship with Christ to love both sides genuinely.
S – John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but one who is more powerful than I am is coming. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing shovel is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with fire that never goes out.” 18 Then, along with many other exhortations, he proclaimed good news to the people
Luke 3:16–18 CSB
O – John is assuring people that he is not the promised Messiah. Only slaves unstrapped the sandals of their master and John is saying he is not even that worthy. He distinguishes his role even more with the baptisms. John distinguishes the Savior’s baptism as one of God’s Spirit, as spoken about in the OT. He shares there is a separation coming for those who believe and don’t believe. This is important because Jewish people believed they were God’s chosen people. The message of repentance and relationship would be challenging. Finally, John shared “good news” before Jesus did. All of this was truly preparation for Jesus’ message and ministry.
A – God is detailed enough to send a “forerunner” for the Messiah. What is He doing today in my life to prepare me for my next step of growth or action? Instead of shying away from the process, I need to trust the things He is doing in my life as preparation for things to come.
S – “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.”
Luke 2:52 CSB
O – I love the description of Jesus as he matured from childhood to adulthood. He grew in applied intellect, physically, in his relationship with God and relationship with people. Growth in all these areas is challenging. A few verses earlier it says that he was obedient to his parents. He was submitted to the authority in his life – God and his parents.
A – This is such a great template for us today individually and if you are a parent. If we use these four areas as a measuring stick, it will allow us to gauge areas of growth that we need and already achieved. Noticing these verses don’t come with ages or timeframes, it is worth noting, it takes a time to develop and grow in all four areas.
R – Lord, help me to grow in wisdom, physically, in relationship with You and people today.
S – And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Lk 1:76–79 CSB
O – In this song of praise describing John, you get tremendous insights into the Messiah, Jesus. Jesus came to establish the salvation and forgiveness of sins. Many at that time were looking for physical relief from the Romans, religious injustice, leaders’ rules and a hard life. It establishes God’s compassion and future victory over darkness and death itself. Finally, it offers peace where there was no hope before.
A – Come back to a place of gratitude for my salvation and forgiveness of sins only made possible by the life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I can walk in victory and peace today through Him.
S – “Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will certainly come to your aid and bring you up from this land to the land he swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Genesis 50:24 CSB
O – Joseph demonstrates amazing forgiveness for his brothers at the end of his life. As he prepared for death, he gives them words of hope. “Come to aid” is based on the Hebrew word “pâqad, paw-kad.” God would deliver the Israelites out of Egypt. Ironically, it also means “to visit with friendly or hostile intent.” Could this be a prophetic word along with Israel’s word of a messiah that was to come? How I live determines whether the relationship is friendly or hostile.
A – Early in history, God established the role of Jesus as our messiah. Jesus said he would come back to earth a second time. I want to live each day so that I am honoring Him when he returns.
S – “The scepter will not depart from Judah or the staff from between his feet
until he whose right it is comes and the obedience of the peoples belongs to him.
Genesis 49:10 CSB
O – Amazing that prophetic words about the Savior are spoken over 1,000 years prior to his arrival. It validates the title “Lion of the Judah.” Interesting that Israel would prophesy over each of his sons and it came true.
A – God had a plan for Jesus’ arrival a long time ago. He knew that sin had to be dealt with and a savior was needed. It makes me grateful and confident that his plan is real and works in dealing with my own sin. I can trust in Him.
S – “Then Joseph took them both—with his right hand Ephraim toward Israel’s left, and with his left hand Manasseh toward Israel’s right—and brought them to Israel. 14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and put it on the head of Ephraim, the younger, and crossing his hands, put his left on Manasseh’s head, although Manasseh was the firstborn.”
Genesis 48:13–15 CSB
O – Commentary: Joseph, like so many others, expected God to work in a certain way, but found that He is often pleased to work differently and sometimes even unconventionally. But faith recognizes that God’s ways are not man’s ways. It took Jacob a lifetime of discipline to learn that fact. But he learned it, and now he blessed the younger over the elder. For four consecutive generations this re-versed pattern was followed: Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Joseph over Reuben, and Ephraim over Manasseh.
Allen P. Ross, “Genesis,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures
A – What do you do when God works in unconventional ways? Grow in faith and trust or grow in control and distrust. I need to release more control in my life to grow my faith in what God is doing.
S – “Jacob said to Pharaoh, “My pilgrimage has lasted 130 years. My years have been few and hard, and they have not reached the years of my ancestors during their pilgrimages.” 10 So Jacob blessed Pharaoh and departed from Pharaoh’s presence.”
Genesis 47:9–10 CSB
O – Jacob gives an interesting description of his life. “Few and hard” reminds us that a full life can be remembered more in the significant moment, than in days. The hardness is true. “Hard” is translated in Hebrew to mean “evil, adversity.” He has definitely been a part of or endured both. Yet, Jacob blesses Pharaoh, a ruler that is foreign to him. He follows the pattern laid out to Abraham in Genesis 12:3. (“I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt.”)
A – Life is hard. We will go through tough times and challenges. My hope is to be a blessing more than a difficulty for others. I can bless others no matter the difference between us.
R – Lord, help me to do this.
* The book of Luke is coming after Genesis is finished.