Reflection on Luke 8:26-39

Scripture

Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So Jesus got into the boat and left.

Observation

Jesus and His disciples sail to the region of the Gerasenes. Jesus is met by a man possessed by a legion of demons who lived amongst the tombs.

As Jesus ministered to this man, the demons begged Him not to be sent into the Abyss. Instead, at their request, He sends them to a nearby herd of pigs.

People come to see what has happened and are amazed to see the man clothed and in his right mind. But they are filled with fear and ask Jesus to leave them. The healed man, though, asks to come with Jesus. But Jesus tells him to stay and tell people about what God has done for him.

Application

Imagine a man so tormented buy many demons that nobody knows what to do with him. Jesus comes and heals him, at the cost of the lives of a herd of pigs.

Instead of rejoicing over a man set free from years of torment, the local people were afraid of the power of Jesus.

To the Jewish person, the loss of a herd of pigs would seem inconsequential. But these were Gentiles, and it was their living that was threatened.

Perhaps the local towns people were themselves demonised, and this was the cause of their fear. in any case, they rejected Jesus. They actually asked him to leave.

When people are confronted with a choice between an immoral lifestyle and salvation, many will choose to continue their lifestyle. This is why the church is hated in so many places.

The healed man remained, and his testimony must have changed some hearts. Perhaps their fear was overcome by love.

Prayer

Lord help me to always put you front and centre in my life priorities. May I never be afraid to follow you. Amen.

Reflection on Luke 19:28-40

Scripture

They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

Observation

It is the day celebrated by the church as Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week and of the events of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Jesus sends two disciples ahead with instructions to bring a colt that they will find in the next village. If anyone challenged them, they are to say, “The Lord needs it.”

So they bring the colt, and Jesus mounts it to ride into Jerusalem. The whole crowd of Jesus’ disciples shout praises to Him along the road.

The Pharisees don’t like this so they tell Him to keep His disciples quiet. But Jesus replies, “If they keep quiet the stones will cry out!”

Application

Jesus told His disciples that if anyone queried their taking of the donkey, they were simply to say, “The Lord needs it.”

It is enough for a christian, when faced with a need to say, “The Lord needs it.”

This is not to justify stealing cars in Jesus’ name, just because we are lacking transport.

If the Holy Spirit tells us to meet a need then we should do it without thinking.

This includes:

  • our possessions
  • our money
  • our time
  • our energy
  • our prayers

Whatever we have that the Lord needs we should give it up instantly.

We like to remember that God provides for us in our times of need. There are many testimonies about God’s provision. Rarely do we recall that God usually uses someone to bless us in those times.

Following Jesus means that He owns us and all that we have. Everything we own- including life itself- is a gift from the Lord anyway.

What is the Lord needing from me today?

Prayer

Holy Spirit, please release generosity in my heart so that when you say, “The Lord needs it,” I respond with joy. Amen.

Reflection on Luke 13:1-9


Scripture

“No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish too.”

Observation

Jesus learns that Pilate has murdered some Galileans as they were offering sacrifices in the Temple. He tells the crowd that they did not die because they were more sinful than others. No, everyone must repent or they too will perish.

He then tells a parable about a barren fig tree. The landowner tells the gardener to cut it down because it is a waste of space. But the gardener suggests they give it another chance. They can leave it in the ground, give it extra attention and more fertiliser, then if it still fails to produce they can cut it down.

Application

A week ago a man entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and went on an evil killing spree that has shocked both New Zealand and its neighbour Australia.

Many things have been said and written, some of them helpful and others not so helpful. Some have demanded tougher gun laws, others have pointed out the hypocrisy of the media that gloss over Islamic terrorism while obsessing over this incident.

Jesus says that it is not important to think about whether any particular group of people is more sinful than others, or who is more worthy of judgement.

We must all repent, every one of us, and turn away from our sins. Otherwise we too will perish.

These events come as warnings to us, reminders that we too will die and face God.

It doesn’t matter whether we are less sinful than others whom we might want to judge. What matters is our own relationship with Jesus.

Turn away from your sins today and ask Jesus to forgive you. Make Him Lord of your life, seeking to follow Him in all you do.

Prayer

Today, Lord, I give up on judging who is the worst sinner. I recognise the sin in my life and I ask you to take it away. I choose to follow Jesus, and I ask for your grace to do that. Amen.

Reflection on Luke 5:1-11

Scripture

As soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.

Observation

Jesus is preaching on the shore of Galilee. The crowd presses in around Him, so He gets into an empty boat and tells Simon to go out a little way.

After Jesus has finished preaching, He tells Simon to go deeper and let down his nets. When Simon does this, there is such a large catch, he has to call for help to bring it in. There is enough fish to fill two boats.

Jesus tells Simon, James and John to come with Him to catch people instead of fish. So they immediately leave everything to follow Jesus.

Application

It was the right place, the right time, the right thing to do. So they left everything to follow Jesus.

When Jesus calls, it is always right to go with Him. He is never late, always on time- the kairos time, the time of opportunity, the crossroads moment.

A decision “Yes” or “No” in that moment of calling changes the direction of our whole lives.

Not all of us are called to abandon our business and family on a spur of the moment decision. But when the call to take a new direction comes, you know because God has been talking to you for months, maybe years.

The opportune moment comes, or perhaps a crisis, and Jesus says, “Come and follow me.”

I have found in my life that God plants an idea or dream in my heart. I think “Yes. Some day that will happen.” Suddenly “some day” is “this day” and always too soon in my human thinking. But in God’s timing the opportunity, the resources and support from others, all come together and I am persuaded to say “Yes” again to Jesus.

Prayer

Lord I thank you for your invitation to work for you in your Kingdom. Help me to always say “Yes” to your call. Amen.

Reflection on Luke 3:15-22


Scripture

“I baptise you with water, but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am- so much greater that I’m not worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

Observation

People are eagerly expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they begin to ask John the Baptist if he is the one. John says that there is someone coming soon who is much greater, and who will baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

One day, Jesus comes to be baptised by John. The heavens open, the Holy Spirit descends , and a voice from heaven says, “You are my beloved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

Application

The baptism of John was a baptism of repentance from sin. The baptism of Jesus is a baptism into the Holy Spirit and fire.

When we turn from our sins and ask Jesus to take control of our lives, we are immersed, soaked and filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the empowering to live for Christ and in Christ. The Holy Spirit comes with many gifts to enable us to have the power of Christ, and the fruit to give us the character of Christ.

Sometimes the expression of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is delayed. I have no explanation for that. I do know that at conversion we get all of the Holy Spirit.

There is another baptism, a baptism of fire. Fire represents judgement on sin. For those who do not follow Jesus it is a destructive fire. For those who so know Jesus, it is a purifying fire, a fire that burns away all of our sin.

Water baptism is a one-off event that symbolises our death to self and resurrection in Christ. Spirit baptism is a constant process in which we soak continuously in the grace of God.

Prayer

Glorious God, thank you for the baptism in the Spirit and of fire. Soak me and burn away all the chaff from my life so that I can be totally dedicated to you. Amen.