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Death is sobering. Let the thought of dying permeate your thinking right now. You may say, “But I don’t want to think about death, it hurts.” I know. Thinking about death can hurt. But, to not think about death is irresponsible and immature. Death stings like a scorpion’s deadly poison. But what if there is a truth that eliminates the sting of death? What if there is life after death? Is there more than just this life? Whether or not there is life after death, or stated another way, “a resurrection,” is the most important truth for all people. If there is a resurrection after we die, it changes everything. It impacts how we live before we die. If there is a resurrection, we need to prepare for what comes after we die. If there is a resurrection, does it change the purpose and meaning of the life we have now? Does the resurrection lead to a life that is eternal, or will we die once again?
In the first four chapters, Paul explains HOW we are saved by Jesus. In summary, he writes that we are saved by faith. Those who believe Jesus dies for their sin, and that Jesus is the substitutionary punishment for us, are saved. After explaining how to be saved, the Apostle Paul changes the subject in chapter five. He answers a very important question, which is, “WHY are we saved?” What motivates God to save us? Why, does God choose to save people. Paul addresses God’s motive for salvation. The short answer to Paul’s question is simple. The reason we are saved is because of God’s love. We know the answer because we are familiar with what Jesus said to Nicodemus. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” God loves the world. That’s why.
Do you look around at what is going on today and fell like life is slipping away? Is your heart sick? Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Perhaps God is showing us how much we are trusting in this world. We don’t know how much we trust in this world until the things of this world are taken away. How would we pray to God if tomorrow the grocery stores were taken away? Give us this day our daily bread is a different prayer when there are no stores and no flour. Why should our prayer with no store be any different in a world with stores? Put faith in God for His blessings and don’t put faith in this world.
Jesus sets a beautiful example of ministry. He faithfully prays to God. He trusts God will hear His prayers. He actively engages in discipleship. He is very intent on Growing God’s kingdom through equipping and enabling others to take His place. He leaves a legacy of people who follow in His footsteps. Lastly, Jesus ministers to all people, and we need to do the same. Let’s follow the example of Jesus for the sake of glorifying Him and for our joy.
Everything about the Law of God, whether the law is from the Mosaic Covenant, or the New Testament, points to Jesus. The Mosaic Covenant points to Him prophetically. The commands of the New Testament call us to follow His example. Let’s not be like the Pharisees who use the commands of God to fill themselves with pride. Let’s live knowing God’s commands are for good. They point to mercy and love. They declare Jesus as our Sabbath rest. God’s commands lead to life.
Levi is a follower of Jesus. He knows that Jesus is worth forsaking everything. Jesus is a cause for celebration. Levi invites people to his home to be with Jesus because Levi knows that Jesus heals those who repent. Those who are with Jesus love Him and are devoted to Him as a bride is to her Husband. Levi and all those who follow Jesus know that following Him means being given a new life. The old things pass away and the new things have come.
There are many miracles that Jesus performs, but not all of Jesus’ miracles are written in Luke’s account. The fact that Luke gives details surrounding these two miracles in chapter five, the healing of a leper and a paralytic, we may expect that they reveal very truths into the person of Jesus. These miracles reveal the extent of Jesus’ authority. They will show that Jesus has the authority to declare the unclean clean and that He has the authority to forgive sin.
To be a disciple of Jesus requires a radical and continual evaluation of life. Jesus requires His disciples to follow Him in every way. We can take this sentence, “Being a disciple of Jesus requires me to evaluate how I blank (fill in the blank) and make changes as necessary.” The blank can be eat, drink, work, love, dress, drive, and play. In short, the blank is best filled with the word, “everything.” Being a disciple of Jesus requires me to evaluate how I do everything.”
Throughout Luke’s gospel, we will see two responses to Jesus. Some people respond like the people of Nazareth, and they want to throw Jesus off a cliff. They like Jesus up until a certain point. They are no different than people of today. People today like Jesus up to a certain point. But, as soon as the topic of sin emerges, talk of Jesus is no longer welcome. The gospel is not enough. Others, like the disciples who continue to follow Jesus, are willing to hear the truth, even when it gets difficult. When Jesus asks them, “Do you want to stop following Me as well?” Peter responds, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69) What about you? Do you believe Jesus is the Holy One of God who has words of eternal life?