week 10

Luke 22:54-71

In verse 34, Peter was told by Jesus how and when he would sin against Jesus just hours before this all took place. Yet he still let fear of man and his sinful flesh win the day. It is easy for us to stand back nearly 2,000 years and shake our head at Peter and believe we would have responded differently. However, if we take a sober look at our lives we see a list of things that don’t line up. There are so many aspects about our lives that shout that we are not “with Jesus” and that we don’t “know him.” However, the key to this passage is found in verse 62, “And he went out and wept bitterly.” Peter failed in a profound way, but he responded in genuine and heartfelt brokenness over his sin.  Peter’s response to his sin greatly contrasts Judas’ later response to his sin. Peter’s response resulted in life, Judas’ did not.

Spend some time taking an honest look at your life today. What areas of your life build a case of denial that you are with Jesus? How will you respond to this reality? Will you let shame drive you away from his presence and towards death? Or will you respond with a broken heart that draws near to him? If you do there is no limit to what God can do with your life. He used Peter to become the vary cornerstone of the early church.

Luke 23:1-25

I think that our natural tendency is to distance ourselves from Barabbas. He was a murderer and a revolutionary, somebody that we probably wouldn’t associate with. Sometimes we use some choice phrases when someone cuts us off in traffic, but that’s hardly murder, right? Our actions couldn’t be as serious as someone like Barabbas, could they? If we take a closer look at the words of Jesus and the position that Barabbas was in, we might get a surprising answer. Matthew 5:21-22 paints a sobering picture, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” Here we are shown that the Lord cares deeply about the positions of our heart and that even a position of anger is like murder to our Lord. If we look also at the situation that Barabbas was in, we can see that he was in the same position that we all are before we come to faith. We, like Barabbas, are all sinners in need of Jesus to be killed instead of us. This story paints a picture of what it means to be saved by Christ.

As you think about this truth, ask yourself some questions that help to put you in the shoes of Barabbas. What would be going through your mind if Jesus literally took your place on death row? What happens in your heart if you imagine yourself hearing the echoing screams of the crowd bouncing down the stone corridor and into your prison cell? What is a ‘right’ response to the realization that another person took your place for the punishment you deserve?

Luke 23:26-56

The entirety of Scripture leads up to this point. The Most High God who put on a cloak of flesh marched to His death that He did nothing to deserve. Even while He was heading directly to the grave, His character never changed. He encourages the Daughters of Jerusalem, asks His Father for forgiveness for the people crucifying Him, He submitted to the Father’s will by staying on the cross, He pardoned the sins of the man hanging next to Him. These acts of love are consistent with His actions before facing this level of persecution and torment. If even in the most brutal death imaginable, our Lord went the extra mile for His people, then what convinces us that He doesn’t do the same for us all of the time? The crucifixion is the stark realization that “God so loved the world” (John 3:16) and the fulfillment of so many prophecies found throughout the Old Testament.

 

Many people know that the story doesn’t end here though. The resurrection gives us hope that Jesus conquers death, but it doesn’t discount the suffering that our Lord went through on our behalf. He bled and died so that we could experience life in abundance and life everlasting with Him. If the crucifixion didn’t take place, we would have no chance of achieving unity with God. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ… For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works.” (Eph 2:4-5, 8)

 

Reflect on what Jesus did on the cross today. What is true about our standing with God because of the crucifixion? How does the crucifixion affect the way that we relate with God and with others?

Luke 24-1-35

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?” the angel of the Lord told the women who went to honor the Lord’s remains with spices. When approaching the tomb, seeing the two men standing there, the stone rolled away, and no corpse in sight, I wonder what was going through their minds. Were the afraid? I think my natural response would be that someone has stolen the remains, defiling His grave, thereby stealing any last shred of dignity that Jesus had. It would have grieved me inside. The text says that the women were terrified, but they were comforted and reassured before they had time to dwell in that fear. The angels remind the women that everything Jesus said about Himself was true, that he would be risen from the dead!

 

The crucifixion is the darkest night in all of scripture, but the resurrection is a morning bright enough to make the crucifixion seem like a thing in the distant past. All that Jesus came to Earth to accomplish finds its application in the resurrection of Christ. The disciples were still looking in places of death for the One who was risen. I think that while this is a true historical event and the angels meant what they said literally, this truth can be extended even to us today. If Jesus is our only hope of salvation and we seek fulfillment in other places, then we too are seeking the living among the dead. Ask yourself today, is there anything in your life that you’re seeking for satisfaction or having hope in that is not Christ? What is God calling you to do about this? Who can you bring into your life to help you stay accountable to keeping your eyes on Christ?

Luke 24:36-53

Since the resurrection, people have been disagreeing on whether it was legitimate or not. Some people claim that grave robbers stole the body of Christ, others say that the disciples were having mere hallucinations when seeing Jesus after His resurrection, some people even say that Christ was resurrected but only His spirit walked the Earth for the next few weeks until He ascended. However, Jesus said “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” He wanted people to see Him. He wanted people to touch and to feel that He is real and risen and that there is hope for all of those who follow Him because of this fact.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul makes the importance of the resurrection clear by saying “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” That is a bold and weighty claim for Paul to make, but one that he is confident in. If Jesus was not raised from the dead in His entirety of being, then the Christian faith just isn’t a thing. We have hope that Jesus was not left in the grave but defeated death through the resurrection. This is something that we can celebrate and reflect on today and every day! 1 John 3:3 says “All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” Jesus’ resurrection power is not only our hope of salvation but our hope of sanctification and transformation. The same grace of God that was present at the resurrection was present at our time of salvation and continues to work in us every single day. Rejoice and rest in this truth.

 

In Conclusion

One great thing about the Scriptures is that the story is not over. Luke continues his authorship in the book of Acts (or Luke, Part II) and tells the story of what happens next with the apostles. We see how the church spreads and lays the foundation for what the Lord is doing even up to today. My challenge to you is to continue reading and studying to learn more about God and grow closer to Him.

Think about these questions today as you finish your reading: What are some big takeaways from the book of Luke? (Challenge yourself and try to write down 20!) What is God calling you to be obedient to? How can you be “rooted” (Converge theme) in the Word of God in the next month, semester, or year? Who can you challenge to join you in this lifestyle of being rooted?