Weekly Word: Lesson 9
Luke: Message of Hope
PARABLES OF HOPE (Part II)
Scripture is clear that we do not deserve eternal life, nor can we earn it by the good things we do. However, those who truly trust in Jesus and receive eternal life through Him are changed from the inside out, and evidence of that is a life characterized by obedient actions. Stated another way, not only do people enter into a relationship with God through faith, but that relationship also produces a life which is then lived by faith. What does a life of true faith look like?
DAY ONE: Faith and Obedience (Luke 17:1-19)
A. Forgiveness demanded. Luke 17:1-10
- A local talk show host once said that the reason he would never become a Christian is because Christians are required to forgive! He doesn’t understand that God’s children who have received great forgiveness from God are therefore willing and able to forgive others.
- What is a person of faith never to do in verses 1-3a?
- What two things is a person of faith always to do in verse 3? Are they optional?
- From verses 5-6, how much faith is required in order to obey the commands above? Do we need “more faith” or do we need to exercise the faith we already have?
- Jesus gives a parable in verses 7-10 to describe obedience prompted by faith. May a kingdom servant require an explanation from the master before deciding whether or not to obey? Can the servant demand a reward after merely doing his duty?
- How does this parable relate to Jesus’ command that His disciples forgive repentant people?
- How did Jesus Himself model this kind of forgiveness? (Luke 23:33-34)
- Is there anyone whom you need to forgive? Will you obey and do so?
B. Thankfulness desired. Luke 17:11-19
- Read this fascinating story. The Law required that a person cleansed of leprosy show themselves to the priest to be examined and declared clean. (Leviticus 14)
- Did the ten men begin obeying Jesus’ command before or after they were healed?
- See if you could articulate a faith principle from this story. Record it in your journal.
- The responses of the ten men are instructive. Nine religious men took their healing for granted. The Samaritan, probably not religious, responded differently. Which one represents your attitude when God answers your prayer? Which is your response to people who are kind to you?
- Take a moment and journal a prayer of thanks to God for a specific answer to prayer. Then share it with someone else as an act of praise to God.
DAY TWO: Faith and Reality (Luke 17:20-37; 18:31-34)
A. Faith and recognition of the kingdom. Luke 17:20-37
- As you remember from past study, the Jews were looking for a Messiah who would bring in a glorious political kingdom and free them from bondage to Rome. When the Pharisees looked at Jesus, in spite of His miracles, they saw an ordinary looking man who was diverting loyalty of the people from themselves the religious leaders to Himself. It took people of faith to see beneath the surface to the reality of who Jesus really was.
- Jesus had been preaching about the coming of the kingdom of God, so the Pharisees’ question was logical. Verse 21 indicates that the kingdom of God was already present in their midst in the person of Jesus, the King, thus well within their reach. All they needed to do was acknowledge Him.
- Verses 22-25 indicate that a time was coming when the kingdom would no longer be “hidden” or merely spiritual, but would be visible to everyone. While they (and we) should be looking for the King’s return, they must not be distracted from doing kingdom work while waiting. What would happen first to the disciples (implied in verse 22)? What must happen first to Jesus (verse 25)?
- Jesus gives two examples of people rejecting God either actively or passively and God then judging them. If you would like, you can read the story of Noah in Genesis 6:5-8 and 7:6-24. The story of Lot is in Genesis 19:1-28. What similarities do you see with our generation?
- What do verses 30-37 teach about the following:
a. The suddenness of Christ’s return, in spite of ample warning.
b. The necessity of being prepared ahead of time.
c. The fact that being close or related to a person of faith is not adequate preparation.
d. The destruction that comes to those who disobey. Whether Lot’s wife looked back out of curiosity, or from a desire for those material things she was losing, or some other reason, she lost her life for this act of disobedience.
- Explain the principle stated in verse 33. There is much in this life which is of great value. However it would be wise to ask if there is anything or anyone which you might be hanging onto in this negative way. Would you be willing to release control to God and let Him decide what He will give back to you?
B. Faith and understanding of Scripture. Luke 18:31-34
- Skip ahead to Luke 18:31-34. Each time Jesus talked about His coming crucifixion and resurrection, He gave more detail. What new things do you learn from this passage?
- Why do you think the meaning was hidden from the disciples? Why might the meaning of a passage of Scripture be sometimes hidden from you and me? What do we need in order to truly understand God’s Word? (John 14:26)
- Think about the courage and faith of Jesus, who, knowing what was ahead, persevered in doing the Father’s will. I fall so very short. Would you join me in praying for these traits and cooperating with our Father by persevering in the path He has set us on? Remember Hebrews 12:1-3.
DAY THREE: Faith and Prayer (Luke 18:1-17)
A. Parable of perseverance in prayer. Luke 18:1-8
- How many times have you prayed and prayed and not received an answer? What has that done to your faith? I have been praying some of the same requests for years with some women who are cross-cultural workers, seemingly without an answer. What are we to understand from that? Does God care? Is He good? How are we to respond?
- Jesus gives a parable of contrast to illustrate this dilemma we face and the response He wants us to have. From verse 1, what are people of faith to do?
- Contrast the character and attitude of the unjust judge with that of God.
- Because of God’s character, what can we assume if He delays in answering our request? (See also Isaiah 55:8-9; Romans 8:28-29)
- How might this delay also be a means of increasing our faith?
- When you pray “Thy will be done,” is it a trite phrase or a heartfelt desire?
- As you think back, have you ever seen that what appeared to be God’s slowness in answering was actually perfect timing?
- Where should our primary focus therefore be: on our Father, or on ourselves and our problem? From verse 8, what is God looking for in us?
B. Parable of humility in prayer. Luke 18:9-14
- Describe the two types of people represented by the Pharisee and the tax collector.
- Contrast the content of each man’s prayer.
- To whom was each one actually praying?
- Which one was truly righteous? Why?
C. Example of faith in prayer. Luke 18:15-17
- People were exhibiting faith in bringing their children to Jesus in spite of the rebuke of the disciples. How was their faith rewarded?
- Are you surprised that it was the disciples who rebuffed their approach? In what way do you or I hinder the disenfranchised from coming to Jesus?
- Jesus commends child-like (not childish) faith. Describe the characteristics of this kind of faith.
- Why are we able to come to God with confident, child-like faith? (Romans 8:14-16; Hebrews 4:14-16; 7:24-25)
DAY FOUR: Faith and Actions (Luke 18:18-19:10)
A. Professed faith. Luke 18:18-30
- This ruler who had physical sight was spiritually blind as demonstrated by his actions. Notice that Jesus’ first question was designed to help him recognize who Jesus was.
- On what basis did the ruler want to receive eternal life? (verse 18)
- Was it the man’s riches which stood in his way, or his attitude toward his riches?
- A variety of interpretations are given for Jesus’ statement of verse 25. 1 Probably the most accurate is to understand that it is impossible for us to save ourselves by any means. Only God can grant eternal life. (Also see John 1:12-13)
- What promise is given to the disciples who have proven their faith is genuine by giving up everything to follow Jesus?
- Verse 30 promises rewards in the age to come, but also in this age. List some of the ways God has already rewarded you.
B. True faith. Luke 18:35-43
- In contrast to the ruler, who did the blind man recognize Jesus to be? (The term, “Son of David” was a messianic title.)
- How did the blind beggar demonstrate true faith in verses 38-39?
- How did he exhibit true faith in verse 43?
DAY FIVE: Faith and Discipleship (Luke 19:1-27)
A. Transforming faith. Luke 19:1-10
- Do you remember the preschoolers’ “Zacchaeus song”? I loved that song and that story!
- There was no question that Zacchaeus was a sinner. It would be expected that a religious leader would have nothing to do with him. What was Jesus’ response to this seeker?
- Compare Zacchaeus’ response in verse 8 with the ruler in 18:23. Both were wealthy men. While it is faith, not works, which is required to receive eternal life, which one demonstrated by his works that he had true faith? (Compare this with James 2:14-18) Zacchaeus went far beyond the requirements of the law in making restitution, proving his actions came from a changed heart.
- What evidence of true faith are others able to see in you?
- Jesus confirms the spiritual transformation of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:9.
- Stop and praise God for the truth of Luke 19:10, and the truth that when you were lost, He came to seek and to save you!
B. Trustworthy faith. Luke 19:11-27
- Jesus then told a parable to illustrate that although He would be gone for some period of time, He expected His disciples to be trustworthy in His absence, serving Him obediently as they waited in faith for His return.
- What would Jesus be doing during this interim period from verses 11-15?
- What was the reaction of his enemies in verse 14? What was the cost to them in verse 27?
- What was the response of the faithful servants (disciples) in verses 16-19? What do you think was the cost to them as they worked to increase the master’s minas? What was their reward when He returned?
- What was the response of the unfaithful servant (disciple) in verses 20-21. There was no cost to him until the master returned. At that point, what was the cost in verses 22-26?
- Let’s personalize this parable. What “minas” have we been given? (See John 14:15-16; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 1:3; 4:11-12 for ideas)
- Compare this parable with I Corinthians 3:10-15. God has given us different gifts and different responsibilities. We sometimes forget that He will hold us accountable for how we use them. Which type of servant represents you?
- How does John 15:1-8 encourage you regarding how God enables us to produce fruit/minas for Him? Are you seeing John 15:5 at work in your life?
- If you or I were to stand in a court of law and be charged with the “crime” of having faith in Jesus, what evidence would there be in your life or mine by which we could be convicted?
- I am challenged to meditate on these passages of Scripture and personalize their truths by making them part of my life and lifestyle. Which of the evidences of faith are present in your life today? What needs to change? What will you do about it?
1 This passage is covered in more depth in the archived Matthew study, Lesson #14, Day 3. https://www.womenoftheharvest.com/word/word_week212.htm
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