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Posts tagged with: Luke

Figures of baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph set before a background of twinkling lights.

Devotions for Christmas, Part 1: Offer Your Body to God

Christmas has a lot to do with bodies, if you stop to think about it. The nativity narrative in Luke begins with the news that the aged body of Elizabeth will soon bear a son. Then, a virgin named Mary learns that her body will soon contain the very Son of God. When God’s Son is born, he has a real body, one that starts out life in weakness and dependency. If you take away the bodies, you really don’t have Christmas at all.

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A simple manger constructed of wood with torn cloth.

When You Best Move On

When the rules always seem to go in someone else’s favor, when you feel pushed to the margins, when you can’t seem to find your way and people keep telling you, “You best move on,” I pray you hear the soft cries of the holy infant and remember he has gone to prepare a place for you… and there is always room.

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A nativity scene of Mary, baby Jesus, and Joseph during the manger birth.

Just as Planned

Jesus arrived in the world, just as planned from the foundation of the world. His arrival defies both good old-fashioned logic and our twenty-first century imaginations. His humble birth made the Kingdom of God accessible to all, even (especially?) those our traditions and customs and comforts and preferences can find no room to accommodate.

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Graffiti art of a heart with a directional arrow among other paths.

Whom Do You Serve? (Faith & Work Integration – Part 2)

Whom or what do you serve? What is the person or thing that has the strongest influence in the decisions of your life? This is a tough introspective question that every Christian must answer, and definitely everyone called to the marketplace. The reality is that this contemplation gets right to the concept of motives. It exposes our heart’s thoughts…

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A worker contemplating in the middle of a bustling office.

Be A Leader That Brings Hope

In yesterday’s devotion, I highlighted how Jesus chose to come near to two hurting disciples, leaving them with hearts on fire with hope and life. Imagine the impact we as leaders can have when we walk with others in their pain. Leaders who are sensitive to others can bring hope — and sometimes literally save a life.

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Two sets of footprints in the sand, side-by-side.

Walking On The Road With Us

Jesus is intentional about coming to people, especially to people in pain and living in fear. Jesus purposely sought out these two disciples because he longs to reveal himself to those living in fear, doubt, and hopelessness. Perhaps, as part of your ongoing Easter celebration, you also can come near to those who are hurting and show that you care.

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A flower blooming in the middle of the outline of a wooden cross.

After the Stations of the Cross: An Easter Postscript

During the fourteen days prior to Easter, I have been reflecting with you on the Stations of the Cross, to help us prepare for a deeper experience of the reality of Jesus’s death, and therefore a greater celebration of his resurrection. Today, on Easter Sunday, I want to add an Easter postscript to this series of devotions.

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The stone was rolled away.

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

In most human societies appropriate burial of dead bodies is a sacred tradition. It matters profoundly that we ensure the proper resting place for those who have died. Yet, after burials happen, we don’t generally mention them specifically.

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Jesus entrusts his spirit into God's hands.

The Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

At first glance, Luke’s version of the centurion’s response to Jesus’s death seems like a glaring understatement. “Certainly this man was innocent,” rightly identifies Jesus’s lack of guilt. It makes clear once again the fact that he didn’t deserve to be crucified for sedition against Rome. He was no ordinary revolutionary, no guerrilla warrior, no terrorist. So, yes, “this man was innocent.” But couldn’t Luke have done better than this in his telling of the story?

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The thief asks Jesus to remember him. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom to the Good Thief

Three men being crucified, suffering excruciating pain, literally. (The word “excruciating” comes from the Latin cruciare, “to crucify.”) One man begins taunting Jesus, sarcastically calling out for salvation he believes Jesus can’t deliver. The other, sensing something that he has never felt before, defends Jesus as an innocent victim. Then, in desperate hope, he cries out: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” In response Jesus says a most astounding thing, a most encouraging thing, a most curious thing: “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

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Jesus crucified. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

“They crucified Jesus.” “They,” in this case, refers to the Roman soldiers. Rome alone had the authority and the audacity to crucify people, one of the cruelest forms of execution ever devised. Crucifixion was so disgusting that Roman authors rarely referred to it. It was better left unmentioned.

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The woman weeping for Jesus. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Luke 23:27 notes that “a great number of people followed [Jesus]” as he walked to Golgotha. Luke gives no indication that they were crying out for Jesus’s death. In fact, by mentioning the women weeping for Jesus, Luke implies that at least many among the “great number of the people” were upset by what was happening to Jesus.

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Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to Carry the Cross. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Eighth Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry the Cross

Christians from all over the world come to Jerusalem to walk along the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering, the way of the cross. This path through the streets and alleys of Jerusalem is believed to be the path Jesus actually walked on the way to his crucifixion.

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Jesus Crowned with Thorns. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

What cruel irony! Jesus finally received the words he deserved: “Hail, King of the Jews!” For once he wore a crown upon his head. Yet it was not the golden crown of sovereignty or the olive crown of victory, but the thorny crown of suffering.

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Pilate washing his hands of Jesus. Painting © Linda E.S. Roberts, 2007. For permission to use this picture, contact Mark D. Roberts.

The Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate

There has been a tendency in the Christian telling of the Passion story to exonerate Pilate, or at least to make him an unwilling pawn of the Jewish leaders and crowds. Pilate, it is claimed, was a truth-seeking man who was caught between a rock and a hard place. Were it not for the pressure he received from the Sanhedrin and their supporters, he wouldn’t have crucified Jesus. This view of the noble Pilate seems at first to fit the facts of the New Testament Gospels. But, upon closer scrutiny, it falls short in a number of crucial ways.

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