A Good New Message Interrupted!

Luke 20 begins with a phrase that we should not overlook. — Luke 20.1– One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and telling the good news . . . It is easy to allow the next verses in this section to obscure Jesus’ purpose for going to the Temple. He was […]

House Cleaning

I use the Bible to inform my daily prayers. Following the direction of one of my heroes, Frank Laubach, I include one of the Gospels in my prayer time. The Gospels are the place in the Bible where we discover Jesus’ actions, attitudes, and teachings. They are the best place to learn how to live […]

The Day Jesus Wept Over a City

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, he wept over the city. Luke records the event. — Luke 19.41-44 – As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, Saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. […]

The Day Jesus Arrived in Jerusalem

For the past ten chapters in Luke’s Gospel, we have traveled with Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem. Not only did Jesus arrive in Jerusalem, the center of the worship of God, but he came when the city was filled with pilgrims who had come to worship God at their most memorable festivals. Rudy Ross has […]

What difference are you making?

I trust that people who read my blog or watch the YouTube videos are followers of Jesus. Jesus taught his followers by his words and actions how to live as citizens of God’s kingdom. He told parables to grab our attention and to convince us to embrace his attitudes and behavior, contrary to that of […]

Another Person Joins Jesus’ Team

When Jesus began his activity in Galilee, he started with twelve men and a handful of women. Along the way toward Jerusalem, the crowd grew in size. Some people were curious, others were opponents, but some became devoted followers. Luke 18.35-43 is the story of a blind beggar, who received his sight and became a […]

The Blind Are Healed

When Jesus began his public ministry in his hometown of Nazareth, he defined God’s agenda in a quote from Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he has anointed meto bring good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim release to the captivesand recovery of sight to the blind.” (Luke 4.18) […]

What’s in it for me?

If you follow Jesus, be prepared for continuing education. Jesus never stops working with his followers to align their attitudes and behavior with his. When Jesus’ disciples thought the Lord was too important to bless children, he said: “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such […]

An Offer of the Lifetime Rejected

As we follow Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem, we encounter a diverse crowd of interested people. — Luke 14.1-5 – Some are prominent religious leaders. — Luke 15.1-2 – Tax collectors and sinners participate in table fellowship with Jesus. — Luke 17.11-19 – Lepers meet Jesus on the road. — Luke 18.15-17 – Jesus […]

Welcome Children – Welcome the Kingdom

One significant contrast between the first century and 2021 is the way we value children. We seldom scroll through Facebook without seeing many pictures of children, cats, and dogs. In contrast, children in the first century were at the very bottom of the social order. They had no value until they were able to enter […]

I wish I wasn’t like that guy!

I remember the day when I realized I was like the “bad guy” in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Let’s look at the parable and see how I am like the Pharisee. Maybe, you can identify with the parable, too. The Setting Jesus told this parable on his journey to Jerusalem. […]

Prayer – Not Despair

The setting for the Parable of the Widow and the Unjust Judge is in the midst of the discussion of the coming kingdom of God. If you read Luke 17.20-37, it will be evident that the events mentioned there are not for the faint of heart. As difficulties ensue, some followers of Jesus will be […]

The Coming Kingdom (Part 2)

Please go to the Bob Spradling YouTube channel today to listen to Rudy Ross explain Luke 17.31-37. Rudy has devoted many years to better understand the End Times message of the Bible. I think you will find his teaching interesting and helpful. In verse 33 we have Jesus’ teaching on how to live the best […]

The Coming Kingdom of God

I asked Rudy Ross to carry the load of interpreting Luke 17.20-30. Rudy has spent years studying what is often called the “End Times.” I believe Rudy has a good grasp of what we can know about future events on God’s calendar. I hope you will take 10 minutes to listen to our discussion on […]

The Reject Among the Rejects

Few things in life are more tragic than to have experienced leprosy in first century. Leprosy was both a physical disease and a social ill. Leprosy was contagious and persons inflicted with leprosy were banned from contact with others. Leprosy was believed to be a punishment for sin. Therefore, lepers were viewed was second-rate humans. […]

Think About That!

When Jesus told parables, he used them to prod and provoke thinking. The parable in today’s blog has created a number of different interpretations, as people seek to understand Jesus’ message. — Luke 17.7-10 – “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the […]

The Law, the Prophets, and the Kingdom

Students of Old Testament divide it into three sections: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. The Law concerns itself with the formation of God’s people as a nation and his guidance for them. The Prophets are words of correction and hope for the nation. The Writings are books like the Psalms, Job, and Proverbs. […]

We can’t have it both ways.

Jesus concluded his teaching on faithfulness with these words. –– Luke 16.13 – “No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Don’t you think that religious leaders would agree […]

Faithful Followers of Jesus

If you followed Jesus from Galilee on his journey to Jerusalem, you would have had quite an adventure. I suggest that you try reading the Gospel of Luke from the vantage point of someone who walked with the crowd that made the trip with Jesus. — Pay attention to the various kinds of people are […]

Wise “Children of the Light”

The Parable of the Dishonest Manager has puzzled me for several years. I am indebted to an excellent commentary by Joel Green that has helped me understand the meaning of Jesus’ words. Luke 16 is connected to character issues that Jesus brought to the attention of the religious authorities of his day. We will first […]

The Prodigal Son – Then and Now

Some of my best friends were prodigal sons and daughters before Jesus rescued them and brought them home. The Book of Ephesians describes what God has done for every human, including the most notable prodigals. — Ephesians 2.1-7 – You were dead through the trespasses and sins In which you once lived, following the course […]

A Good News New Year’s Story

Luke 15 records three of Jesus’ parables about the value God places on the lost. The parables escalate in importance. In the first parable, a shepherd has lost one of his 100 sheep. In the second parable that we will study today, a woman has lost a coin that represents one-tenth of her savings. The […]

Jesus is a friend of sinners.

Luke 15 begins with a frequent complaint about Jesus’ behavior by the religious leaders. — Luke 15.1-2 – Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” A Review of Jesus’ Mission […]

The Cost of Discipleship

One of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s best known books is “The Cost of Discipleship.” In the book, Bonhoeffer attacked the “cheap grace” that was marketed in Protestant (especially Lutheran) churches. It involved an unlimited offer of forgiveness, which served as a cover for ethical laziness and Christian worldliness. Had Bonhoeffer been present to hear Jesus in the […]

Giving Jesus First Place

Luke 14.1-24 takes place at the home of a prominent Pharisee. The scene and the crowd changes with verse 25. — Luke 14.25 – Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them . . . The crowd following Jesus may have reflected some of the diversity of Christianity in […]

Good Advice for the Status Conscious

When people invited Jesus for dinner, they needed to be ready for an “in your face” confrontation. You will recall the dinner (Luke 14.1-6) where Jesus was invited by a prominent Pharisee to join his friends for dinner. They invited him to examine his beliefs, but ended up being put to the test themselves. A […]

Jesus Includes Outsiders

It is important to notice small details when reading the Bible. For example, I wonder how many times I have read this passage and missed that the Pharisee in the story was a “prominent” member of the Pharisees? — Luke 14.1 – One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent […]

When Jesus Grieves Over a City

The word, “Pharisee,” is usually reserved for hypocritical, self-righteous, religious persons in our day. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were not single dimensional. One of the reasons why Jesus interacted with them so frequently was his desire to help them become his followers. In today’s passage from Luke, we find the Pharisees warning Jesus about […]

The Importance of One Insignificant Woman

When Jesus announced the advent of the kingdom of God, it had the effect of putting up a sign in the window of the world saying, “Under New Management.” The management of the world’s system works under the assumption: Production = Value. That system is still the standard today. — A football player who doesn’t […]

God reaches down to pull us up.

Jacob is not one of my favorite characters in the Bible. When I read the events of his life, they remind me of afternoon “soap operas” on TV. In Genesis 28, this less than laudable man received a message from God in a dream. –– Genesis 28.12-13 – And he dreamed that there was a […]

Patience and Prayer

My high school friend Butch Roll invited me to church numerous times, only to receive excuses as to why I couldn’t attend. He told God that he was giving up asking me, but God told him to ask me one more time. On that occasion, I said “yes,” and God used the experience to change […]

When Bad Things Happen to Good People

I borrowed today’s title from an award winning book by the same name. Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote the book after the death of their young son. I have never read the book, but the title has captivated me since the book first came on the market. The Issue of Suffering Every minister is confronted with […]

What in the world is going on?

Jesus was the most unusual Man to walk the face of the earth. He was so remarkable that people struggled to explain who he was. — King Herod was so startled by his activity that he thought Jesus may have been John the Baptist raised from the dead (Luke 9.7). — Other people wondered if […]

Jesus, his friends, and conflict

You would think that the most loving Man to walk the face of the earth would be received with equal love and respect. Instead, people devoted to the religion of his nation sought his death in the most inhumane way that had been devised by humans. As Jesus journeyed to Jerusalem, he knew what he […]

Your Service Work Matters

In Luke 12.35-40 Jesus used two parables to describe how his followers needed to remain aligned with his attitudes and actions. They were to be dressed for action and alert, making sure they served their Master’s purposes. In verse 41, Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?” Jesus responded […]

The Privilege of Working with God

Jesus ended his discussion on worry with this counsel: “Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well” (Luke 12.31). Dallas Willard defines the kingdom of God as the “effective reach of God’s power.” If people wonder if they are able to live in God’s kingdom, Jesus next words […]

What is the “Fear of the Lord?”

Deuteronomy 6 explains the “fear of the Lord” with these words: “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the Lord your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, “So that you and your children and your children’s children may fear […]

Be careful of who you listen to.

I learn something new each week, when Rudy Ross and I talk about the Bible. For example, I didn’t know that leaven was prohibited from being placed on the altar as an offering to God. Leaven or yeast was equated with wisdom, and human wisdom could not be offered to God. Rudy has a great […]

A tough dinner that got tougher!

Dinners in the first century were often occasions to discuss weighty issues. Jesus wasn’t invited to the Pharisees house to chit-chat about meaningless issues. He was invited to be tested and examined by religious authorities. Jesus turned the discussion to what should have become self-reflection on the part of the authorities. God has impressed on […]

When a good meal turns bad!

As a young preacher, I had a dinner with my father that was anything but fun. I had preached at a church that broadcast their Sunday sermons on the radio. My dad listened and was not pleased. The next day, he took me out to dinner and spent nearly two hours telling me all the […]

Hearing Jesus. What could go wrong?

A large number of people stopped what they were doing to see and hear Jesus. What could go wrong? Sadly, something did. Like any large gathering, some came as detractors. They claimed that Jesus was working side-by-side with Satan. Other people appeared to come only to see miracles. The signs they asked for were a […]

If you listen to Jesus, what can you learn?

Today’s article covers two short sayings by Jesus that were given to a crowd of doubters, cynics, and followers. You will recall that there were mixed responses to Jesus’ healing of a man who was mute because of demonic oppression (Luke 11.14-16). Some of the crowd believed that Jesus used magic in cooperation with Satan […]

How Jesus Conquers Evil

Jesus taught his followers to pray, “Your kingdom come” (Luke 11.2). We know God’s kingdom is present, when the rule of evil is diminished by the power of God. Jesus’ acts of healing and deliverance were evidence of the fact that God’s kingdom was coming to the world. About one-third of Jesus’ actions in the […]