Luke 6 - firm foundations

foundationsIn this chapter we see Jesus challenging the Pharisees’ traditions and regulations; praying; choosing his apostles and teaching his disciples (us!) how to live.
Before important events in Jesus’ life he takes time by himself, away from others to go and pray. He does this in Luke 6:12 where we are told he ‘prayed to God all night,’ and then called together his disciples and from them chose his twelve apostles. Do we ground our important decisions in life in prayer, as Jesus showed us?
The apostles he chose were ‘ordinary ‘ men. These men started the Christian church. Our churches today are filled with ‘ordinary’ people with a mix of backgrounds and personalities, skills and talents, just as the first twelve were.  At home group this week we were talking about the number of people with different roles in our church. Some of these people and roles are visual and upfront but others are quietly completing tasks behind the scenes, perhaps unthought of or unnoticed. But together this group of ordinary people are serving others and spreading the word of God in our churches.
When Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, questioning ‘ Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil’ (Luke 6:9), the enemies of Jesus were ‘wild with rage’ (6:11). They were more concerned with protecting their laws than helping someone. They focussed on what should not be done rather than what should be done. In the second part of the chapter Jesus explicitly teaches us what should be done. We should love our enemies, not judge others, ‘do to others as you would like them to do to you’ (6:31). We should give our enemies the same respect and rights as we desire ourselves. He tells us that ‘What you say flows from what is in your heart,’(6:45). He reminds us that our speech and actions reveal our true underlying beliefs and motivations. And when we come to Jesus, and trust and follow his teachings, we can build our lives on foundations that will hold firm. Mrs Sarah Barrett

Luke 5 – Welcome and Healing for Outcasts

fishermenLuke was a Greek-speaking doctor who was determined to write a well-researched, orderly and truthful account of the life of Jesus. Having not met Jesus personally in life, Luke interviewed many eye witnesses to Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection, including some of Jesus’ disciples and his mother, Mary.
Considering that Luke was a doctor, it’s not surprising that his gospel includes many accounts of miraculous healings at Jesus’ hands and some of these appear in chapter 5.  Firstly, Jesus healed a man with leprosy – a disease which would have made him an outcast from society as well causing him to live with pain and infection. 
Later in the chapter Jesus healed a paralysed man carried by four friends who were so determined to bring their friend to Jesus that they lowered him through the roof of the room where Jesus was teaching and laid him at Jesus’ feet.  Jesus not only healed the paralysed man but he also forgave him.  The religious onlookers were outraged at Jesus forgiving the man – they thought only God could forgive sins.  But they hadn’t grasped, or didn’t want to grasp, who Jesus really was.  The Son of God.  He still is.
And it’s that same Son of God who called people to serve alongside him as apprentices, learning how to spread God’s word and grow his Kingdom.  These followers weren’t smooth-talking educated types but rough fishermen, despised tax collectors and people regarded as of no consequence.  Here again Jesus showed compassion for the outcast.  They were the people who needed to come to faith and have their lives changed.   And those followers went on to turn the world upside down, taking the good news of Jesus across the globe and beginning the early church.
There are great challenges facing us in Luke chapter 5.   We are confronted with Jesus’ model of healing and caring for the sick and the outcast.  Do we look at others through the eyes of Jesus?  Are we passionate to see people healed and made whole as Jesus was?  Are we praying for and supporting the sick or people who are outcasts in our society? 
Are we willing to answer Jesus call to ‘follow me’ and willing for Jesus to change us as he did his early followers?  Will we, like them, turn the world upside down for the Kingdom of God?  We can do all this through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us as individuals and as churches.  May we see the Kingdom grow in 2019 and beyond. Revd Pam Rolls

Luke 4

fireworks“Good news for the poor, freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind…”
Moving from Christmas to New Year is a bit of a gear change. The focus for many changes from celebration and consumption, to commitment and control - of the waistline and finances! We often approach the New Year with a sense of resolve and mission. This is similar to the ‘gear change’ in Luke’s gospel as we move from chapter 3 to 4. Chapters 1 and 2 are all about the events surrounding the births of Jesus and John the Baptist, and Jesus’ early years, and the focus of our Advent and Christmas celebrations. Chapter 3 is a bridging chapter covering John’s ministry of preparation, and the fascinating genealogy of Jesus. Chapter 4 is an account of Jesus’ resolve and the beginning of his mission, as he faces 40 days of wilderness testing, and delivers his ‘manifesto speech’ in his hometown. Jesus initially receives a warm welcome in Nazareth, but the mood soon turns sour. By the end of chapter 4, with energy and commitment, Jesus has launched into his itinerant ministry of exorcism, healing and preaching – doing what he said he was going to do, fulfilling a resolution he makes to do his Father’s will. Revd Dr Jonathan Mobey

Luke 2

lady praisingLuke 1:46-55 (NTE)
46 Mary said,
 ‘My soul declares that the Lord is great,
47 my spirit exults in my saviour, my God.
48 He saw his servant-girl in her humility;
from now, I’ll be blessed by all peoples to come.
49 The Powerful One, whose name is Holy,
has done great things for me, for me.
50 His mercy extends from father to son,
from mother to daughter for those who fear him.
51 Powerful things he has done with his arm:
he routed the arrogant through their own cunning.
52 Down from their thrones he hurled the rulers,
up from the earth he raised the humble.
53 The hungry he filled with the fat of the land,
but the rich he sent off with nothing to eat.
54 He has rescued his servant, Israel his child,
because he remembered his mercy of old,
55 just as he said to our long-ago ancestors –
Abraham and his descendants for ever.’