October 30 — Bowed Down — Luke 3-5. In today’s reading, two people fell at Jesus’ feet, but in very different circumstances. Peter had just experienced a miracle. After unsuccessfully fishing all night, Jesus allowed him to catch two boat-loads of fish. With gratitude, he fell before Jesus in humility, acknowledging, “I am a sinful man, O Lord” (5:8). The other person who fell at Jesus’ feet was a man with leprosy, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean” (5:12). The leper needed a miracle and was begging Jesus; Peter had received his miracle and was thanking Jesus. Are you needy today? Are you already blessed? In either case, you should fall at Jesus’ feet in worship, acknowledging Him as “Lord” as both Peter and the leper did.
October 31 — Fury or Fear — Luke 6-7. At the beginning of today’s reading, we find Jesus performing a miracle on the Sabbath in a synagogue. Attentive, but ungodly, religious leaders were there: “the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath” (6:7). Rather than being intimidated by them, Mark (3:5) says that when Jesus looked around at them, it was “with anger.” What was the response of the religious leaders to the miracle? “They were filled with fury” (6:11). They saw an amazing demonstration of something only God could do, and they were furious. In the next chapter, we find Jesus performing another miracle that only God could do: raising the dead son of the widow of Nain. What was the response of this crowd of mourners in the street? “Fear seized them all, and they glorified God” (7:16). Fear and praise from the common folk compared to fury and plotting from the religious professionals. What a contrast!
November 1 — Contrasts — Luke 8-9. I noticed a lot of contrasts in our reading for today. Jesus contrasted His physical mother and half-brothers with His spiritual family in 8:19-21. Contrary to what we would normally think, our spiritual brothers and sisters should be just as high on our priority list as our family brothers and sisters who are believers. Secondly, there was a contrast of saving one’s life in one sense and losing it in another (9:24-25). The humble child was contrasted to the disciples’ desire for position: “…he who is least among you all is the one who is great” (9:48). If we truly realized the unmatched value of a life lived for Christ, we would give ourselves much more attention and time to it. Finally, Jesus contrasted the spiritually dead and the physically dead in 9:60. Spiritual death lasts for eternity. We don’t think much like God does, do we?! God said, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isa. 55:8).
November 2 — Short Message — Luke 10-11. The only thing we know that Jesus told the 72 messengers to say is that “the kingdom of God has come near to you” (10:9) following their ministry of healing the sick. I would have expected their message to contain more content. It is as if they were only preparing the way for Pentecost as John the Baptist was preparing the way for Jesus’ ministry. When they returned, they seemed surprised that God had also used them to cast out demons (10:17). Those 36 groups of messengers must have caused quite a stir in that land.
November 3 — Not for the Birds — Luke 12-13. Jesus mentioned sparrows (12:6) and ravens (12:24) in this passage for today. For both examples, He emphasized that we are of “more value” than them. He cares for us so much that He has even numbered our hairs (about 90,000 for redheads on the low end, and 150,000 for blondes). Like for the ravens, He makes sure we are fed. Rather than fretting about our physical needs, we should “seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to [us]” (12:31). That doesn’t relieve us of responsibility but does point us to the right emphasis.
November 4 — Repent or Earn? — Luke 14-16. There is an interesting contrast between the two sons in the parable of the Prodigal Son. When the young wayward son turned in repentance, he said that he had “sinned against heaven and before [his father]” (15:21). He said that twice in the same order (cf. 15:18). I would have expected this order: “…against you and before heaven.” This suggests to me that our sin, even though directed toward mankind, is primarily a sin against God. The older son’s sin was of a different kind. His focus was on his actions and his lack of reward: “I have served … never disobeyed … [but you] never gave me” (15:29). His had a selfish works-based mindset. Do you tend to be more of a repentant sinner or a complaining one?
November 5 — Have Mercy! — Luke 17-19. Three times in these chapters, people cry out for divine mercy. The ten lepers shouted, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (17:13), which they received in healing, although only one returned, “praising God … and … giving him thanks” (17:15-16). In a parable, the hated tax collector who felt remorse over his sin cried out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (18:13). The blind man Bartimaeus persisted in crying out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (18:38), and when he was healed, he “followed him, glorifying God” (18:43). Both the leper and the blind man gave praise to God for having mercy on them—rescuing them from their troubles. Look for God’s hand of help in your life today and then remember to thank Him for having mercy on you.