Weekly Word: Lesson 6
Luke: Message of Hope
THE PERSON OF HOPE:
We all come to a place in our lives, often as teens, sometimes again in middle age, where we ask questions like: “Who am I? Why am I here? What is the meaning of life?” And sometimes, “Is this all there is?” I believe our Creator programmed us to ask these questions. However, our answers come up short unless we also deal with the question Jesus posed to Peter in Luke 9:20. The answer to this question puts all other life questions into proper perspective. The disciples had already come to understand that Jesus was the Messiah. But there were several views of what the Messiah would be like, with most people seeing him as a human liberator of Israel. Is that what Jesus was? Is that why He came? Before Jesus could teach deeper truths, they had to understand and believe what kind of Messiah He really was and what His true identity was. For the disciples and us, the answer to the question, “Who is Jesus Christ?” leads to the question, “How then will I respond to Him?”
I. DAYS ONE and TWO: Who is Jesus? (Luke 9:18-36)
A. Jesus’ question (Luke 9:18-22)
- Often we learn more from being asked questions than from being given information. Perhaps it was to stimulate and crystallize the disciples’ thinking that Jesus moved from prayer to ask the questions in this passage. What was the first question and answer?
- What was the second, very personal question in verse 20? How would you answer?
- Read verses 21-22. Jesus gave further information about what kind of Messiah He was when He called Himself the “Son of Man.” What does Daniel 7:13-14 reveal about the Messianic Son of Man?
- From verse 22, what did the Son of Man yet need to undergo on earth before the events of the Daniel passage occurred in heaven and His kingdom came in its fullness?
- Jesus’ warning not to tell seems puzzling except that Jesus was always careful to do everything in the Father’s timing. Also, why do you think people would be incapable of understanding who Jesus really was until the resurrection and ascension?
B. Jesus’ challenge (Luke 9:23-27)
- Not only would Jesus suffer, be rejected and killed (verse 22), there would be a cost for those who would follow Him. Only Jesus could carry His cross. Only Jesus could die for the sins of the world. But each follower would have a specific role to play in the kingdom with a specific “cross” to carry 1. Peter’s was not like John’s. Mine is not like yours.
- Denying myself doesn’t mean denying my personhood, but rather all that belongs to my old nature: my pride, my self-centeredness, my “right” to run my own life, etc. It is surrendering my will to God and seeking to follow His will for me.
- How might the following references help? Romans 12:1-2; II Corinthians 4:5-7; 12:9; Galatians 2:20
- The word, “daily,” jumps out at me. What does this imply about our relationship with Jesus and the time we spend with Him? I‘ve begun saying each morning, “Here I am Father. This is what I have planned for the day, but I want to do Your will more, so please change my day as You see fit to accomplish Your purpose.” (And sometimes He does!)
C. Jesus’ transfiguration (Luke 9:27-36)
- The most common interpretation of verse 27 is that it looks forward to the Transfiguration which occurred about a week later. How do verses 28-29 support that view?
- What was Jesus doing when this event occurred?
- Moses and Elijah represented the Law and the Prophets (essentially the whole Old Testament). How might this suggest that the Old Testament gave pictorial and prophetic preparation for the death of the Messiah to atone for His people before bringing in His kingdom? For example compare Genesis 22:8-14 (Law) and Isaiah 53 (Prophet) with John 1:29.
- Jesus’ death was called His “departure” (verse 31, NIV). How must this conversation have been a comfort to Jesus as He prepared for the cross? How does it encourage you?
- I have times when I don’t know what to say, and I babble. What was God’s response to Peter’s babbling? (verse 35) In conjunction with God’s command, what is the significance of the next sentence?
- There are many voices clamoring for our attention! Am I willing to focus not on the voices of popular opinion, or even my own preferences, and instead listen to Him? Are you?
- Read Peter’s commentary on this event in II Peter 1:16-18.
D. Jesus’ rebuke (Luke 9:37-45)
- Personally, I’d rather stay on the mountain with Jesus, but the mountain is for those rare times when God speaks into our lives with a special revelation of Himself, or with correction and refreshing to tune our characters to His. He always sends us back down into the valley where life is challenging so the vision we’ve received can become reality as it is worked out in our lives. And it is into the valley that we are sent to live and work as His hands, feet and voice to the people there. To paraphrase Oswald Chambers, God reveals His glory on the mountain so we can live for His glory in the valley 2.
- Read about the scene facing Jesus when they came down the mountain. I wonder if the disciples, remembering the power Jesus had given them in Luke 9:1 thought that authority was now inherent in them? (I remember being very nervous as I prepared to lead my first-ever neighborhood study. I spent much time in prayer, and it went well. The second week I felt self-confident and didn’t pray with the same dependent spirit – and it didn’t go well. I had to learn the power was not in me, but only came as I was in humble relationship with my Lord.)
- Matthew 17:20-21 describes the disciples’ problem. Mark 9:29 gives a further explanation. I wonder if the disciples had placed their faith in themselves like I did? What does this incident demonstrate about the importance of a relationship with Jesus which is nurtured and directed on a daily basis? What does it reveal about the extra empowering we need from Him when doing spiritual work?
- How might the disciples’ error have almost led to the father losing faith in Jesus?
II. DAY THREE: What is the mark of a disciple? (Luke 9:46-62)
A. Humble service (Luke 9:46-50)
- We all have people we greatly admire. What is it that makes them or a disciple great? Is it spiritual gifts, doctrinal correctness, abilities, knowledge, sacrificial giving, articulate speech or something else? See I Corinthians 13:1-3 for another perspective.
- It is amazing to me that after the events which had just occurred, the disciples would argue about who among them was greatest! Read Mark 9:35 to see how Jesus, the servant, explained true greatness. How does this give dignity and value to the seemingly mundane aspects of your life?
B. Commitment (Luke 9:51-62)
- When I compare my level of commitment to Jesus with His commitment to do His Father’s will, I am put to shame. How does verse 51 describe Jesus’ commitment?
- In verse 52, Jesus wanted to go to a particular Samaritan village in spite of the enmity between the two people groups. He wisely sent disciples to prepare people to be ready to accept Him when He came. How could we apply that to our work?
- What difference do you see between the natural human response and Jesus’ response to rejection in verses 54-55? (John 3:17 explains Jesus’ response.)
- In verses 57-62 we see three people who could have been disciples. Verses 57-58 describe the high cost of discipleship. Commitment to Jesus as one’s highest priority was demanded in verses 59-60. In verses 61-62, Jesus said this commitment must be whole-hearted not half-hearted, and it must be exercised “now” not “someday.” How could you explain this level of commitment to someone who questioned your commitment to your work?
III. DAY FOUR: What are the joys of discipleship? (Luke 10:1-24)
A. The disciples’ joyful work (Luke 10:1-20)
- We’re not told whether the previous three chose to follow Jesus, but Luke 10:1 tells us of 72 who did. Given that Jesus was planning to go to these towns, what does this verse imply they were to do as they went?
- Why do you suppose the instruction of verse 2 was given to them rather than to those who stayed home?
- Verses 3-4 imply that this commission was difficult, dangerous and urgent.
- Commentators suggest that a “man of peace” was one who was willing to accept the message of hope. How would the treatment of these disciples in verses 8-10 be evidence of the inward acceptance or rejection of the hope offered?
- What do verses 10-15 suggest about the reasons for degrees of judgment?
- Take a few minutes and soak up the truths of verse 16. What does this tell you about the unity between the obedient disciple, Jesus and the Father? What does this say about how personally Jesus takes to Himself the treatment you receive? How does this motivate you to be faithful in fulfilling your part in conveying the message of hope?
- Verses 17-20 recount the joyful debriefing with Jesus. Why were the disciples successful?
- What is to be the ultimate cause of joy for us, the degree of success we have in our work or our relationship with Jesus? Will you stop right now and thank Him?
B. Jesus’ joy in the disciples (Luke 10:21-24)
- That Jesus gives me joy is not a surprise, but that I bring Him joy is astounding and humbling! To whom did Jesus give praise for this joy?
- Zephaniah 3:17 also describes God’s joy in us. Hebrews 13:15 gives our proper response.
- Verse 22 is “one of the most important verses in the synoptic Gospels on the mutual relationship between the Father and the Son.” 3 What stands out to you in this verse?
- From verses 22-24, how does a person come to know God?
IV. DAY FIVE: Who is my neighbor? (Luke 10:25-42)
A. The good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
- I love the way Jesus answered a challenge with a question – a great way to make someone think!
- Is verse 28 true? Although true in principle, what does James 2:10 say about it practically speaking?
- Read the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. This parable was likely based on a true event. What is the plain meaning of this story?
- The lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?” expecting some people not to qualify. Jesus turned the question upside down: “Am I a neighbor?”; and it became a command: “Be a neighbor.”
- J. Vernon McGee suggests it may also be possible to spiritualize this story. To paraphrase: The man going down from Jerusalem (the city where people met God) to Jericho (a city under a curse) represents the fall of mankind. The thieves represent the devil. Mankind was left helpless and unable to save himself. The priest represents ritualism and ceremonialism; the Levite represents legalism. Neither can save a person. The Samaritan (rejected by Jews) represents the Messiah who came with compassion and the necessary resources to heal and save mankind.4
- How does this possible additional interpretation expand the concept of our needing to show mercy as a neighbor to those around us?
B. The good work (Luke 10:38-42)
- I love this story of Mary and Martha. With which one do you most identify? For me it varies, but I think I’m often closer to Martha.
- Jesus is not letting us off the hook when it comes to doing our housework, cooking and creating a pleasant environment for our families! What is He teaching instead?
- If your days are like mine, the demands can quickly control me rather than me controlling them. I find that in order to sit at Jesus’ feet as Mary chose to do, I must intentionally schedule the time to do so on a daily basis – and normally that means first thing in the morning. When do you have your “Mary time?” If that is not part of your routine, will you plan how you can change that? Having the ritual of a quiet time is not the point, having a vibrant relationship is!
- How have you seen Jesus in a new light from this lesson? To you, who is Jesus?
- The corollary question is: “So what?” followed by “Now what?” Because of who Jesus is, how should you respond? Therefore, how will you respond? Record your plan in your journal and begin doing it today!
1 Note that carrying our cross is not a factor in our salvation, but after we become God’s children, we then have a role as “disciples” identified with Jesus which includes carrying the cross which He chooses for us.
2 Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. (Discovery House Publishers: Grand Rapids, 1992), October 2.
3 Walter A. Elwell, Ed., Evangelical Commentary on the Bible. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989) p. 820.
4 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Volume IV. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983) p. 293.
[button style=”2″ caption=”Lesson Download” link=”https://www.box.com/s/o9s7vspci9zx1xs27y4i”][/button]
© 2013 Thrive.