Posts tagged with: Luke

The legs of someone sitting on top of a skyscraper

Following Jesus Today: Taking Risks

Following Jesus isn’t safe. If we’re going to follow Jesus today, we will inevitably take risks. We may put at risk our comfort, reputation, safety, or financial security. Yet, the more we trust Jesus and pay attention to him, the more we will be empowered to take risks for the sake of his kingdom and for the people he has entrusted to our care.

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A number of people joining hands in the middle of a circle

Following Jesus Today: Healing Beyond Healing

Healing was central to the ministry of Jesus. When he healed people, he demonstrated the reality of the kingdom of God. God’s power defeats disease. God’s love creates wholeness. So when God reigns, healing happens. Jesus offered physical healing, yes, but also healing beyond healing . . . relational healing, psychological healing, spiritual healing. Jesus seeks to make us whole in every way.

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An old car in a shed being worked on

Following Jesus Today: Must I Leave Everything Behind?

Sometimes Jesus calls people to follow him by leaving their current lives behind and starting over again in a brand new location. This happened to the first disciples of Jesus, for example. For most of us, however, following Jesus is something we do in our familiar cities, families, and workplaces. To be sure, following Jesus still requires plenty of leaving behind. Jesus will ask us to discard our worldly values, unjust practices, prejudicial biases, selfish materialism, and inborn “me first” attitude. We will come to see our whole life, including our daily work and everyday relationships, as contexts in which can follow Jesus faithfully.

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Three neon signs that say "Perfect"

Following Jesus Today: You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Follow Jesus

In Luke 5, when Simon Peter observes Jesus doing an extraordinary miracle, he tells Jesus to go away because, as he says, “I am a sinful man.” But Jesus does not go away. Instead, he calls Simon to follow him and join his kingdom-centered mission. This is good news for us! It means we don’t have to try to be perfect in order to follow Jesus. Jesus calls sinners to follow him, people like Simon Peter, people like you and me.

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A family in a fishing boat bringing in the nets

Following Jesus Today: Responding to His Call

In the biblical Gospels we see Jesus calling those who will be his disciples. They respond by following him, literally. Today, we also respond to the call of Jesus. We are disciples in response to his initiative. Jesus calls us into relationship with himself and into a life of service. Following Jesus changes the way we work and live each day.

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The face of a male lion

Following Jesus Today: Proclaiming the Kingdom of God

Jesus said that his purpose was to proclaim the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is not a place, an inner state of spiritual awareness, or life after death. Rather, the kingdom of God in the preaching of Jesus is God’s reign, God’s rule, God’s sovereignty. When we allow God to reign over every part of our lives, over every action and every word, we begin in this age to experience the reign of God. We celebrate the good news that “Our God reigns!”

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A person in the middle of a field with her hands raised in prayer

Following Jesus Today: Prayer and Purpose

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus chose purpose over popularity. His clarity about his life’s purpose and his ability to choose this over other tempting options were supported by his practice of prayer. Jesus often withdrew from the crowds in order to engage in conversation with his Heavenly Father. This clarified his sense of purpose and strengthened his resolve to do what he had been called to do. Similarly, you and I need time alone with God if we’re to know and to fulfill our purpose in life. Prayer elucidates and energizes purpose.

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A crowd of people with their hands in the air

Following Jesus Today: Purpose Over Popularity

Early in his ministry, Jesus was extremely popular with the crowds. They marveled at his teachings and were astounded by his healings. They wanted Jesus to stay with them. Yet Jesus was not governed by the feelings of others. He chose purpose over popularity. His example challenges us to live our lives in fulfillment of our calling, not in order to get the most “likes” or win the most “friends.” When we are clear about our purpose, then we can devote our lives to what really matters.

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A man tightrope-walking over a chasm

Following Jesus Today: Honoring the Authority of Jesus – An Example

Honoring the authority of Jesus can be difficult when he asks to do what we’d rather avoid. Loving our enemies, for example, is not something we’re naturally inclined to do. Many of us also struggle with other things Jesus said, like going directly to someone who has wronged us in order to reconcile. Truly, following Jesus is not always easy, but he will help us through the power of his Spirit.

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The synagogue in Capernaum.

Following Jesus Today: Honoring the Authority of Jesus

Jesus taught with surprising authority. Those who heard him marveled at the clarity and power of his words. We who seek to follow Jesus today are called, not just to marvel, but to believe and obey. Even when Jesus says something that makes us uncomfortable – like “Love your enemies” – our challenge is to act in faithful obedience. In this way our lives are built on solid ground.

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A "PUSH" sign on a door

Following Jesus Today: Anticipating Resistance

As Jesus faithfully proclaimed and lived the kingdom of God, he faced resistance, even from those who had been close to him. We will experience something similar as we seek to follow Jesus today. Knowing that resistance will come allows us to be ready. We won’t stand alone, but will follow Jesus in a community that can help us discern what is right and persevere in the face of opposition.

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Hands gripping a barbed wire fence

Following Jesus Today: Serving People on the Margins

Jesus came to bring salvation to the poor, the captives, to blind, and the oppressed (Luke 4:18). He served those on the margins of his own culture and religion, offering God’s grace to all in need. We who seek to follow Jesus will imitate his example. We will reach beyond our comfort zones, seeing and serving people who are not like us.

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Freedwoman’s Hand Sculpture by Adrienne Isom, Juneteenth Memorial Monument, Austin, Texas.

Following Jesus Today:
Celebrating and Striving

Through his death on the cross, Jesus conquered sin and brought us into new life. Individually, we are saved by God’s grace given through Christ. Yet the death of Christ also brought peace to a broken world. It forged reconciliation between divided and hostile peoples. It made possible the experience of God’s peace in this world, a peace infused by justice, shaped by love, and embodied in unity. We who follow Jesus celebrate what he accomplished on the cross. We also commit ourselves to joining his mission on earth until that day when God’s kingdom is complete and all things and all peoples are united in Christ.

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A young boy looking at an Iron Man toy on a table

Following Jesus Today:
More Shocking than Iron Man

In Luke 4, Jesus makes a shocking claim. He is the anointed one foretold in the prophecy of Isaiah. He has come to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. Jesus has come to free the oppressed and announce the time of God’s favor. What Jesus began so many years ago he continues to do today through those who follow him faithfully and are filled with his Spirit.

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A hand reaching for a brownie on a plate

Following Jesus Today:
When You Are Tempted

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is tempted by the devil. Scripture teaches us that this was real temptation. Jesus felt strongly the pull of opposite desires. Yet he chose the way of God’s kingdom. The fact that Jesus experienced genuine temptation means that he sympathizes with us when we are tempted. We don’t have to hide in shame. Rather, Scripture invites us to speak openly of our struggles so that we might be helped by God’s mercy and grace given through Jesus.

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