Father God, You are the Lord of all creation, worthy of all worship and obedience. Today I ask You to give me ears to hear Your Word, as well as the grace and desire to listen and obey it. I want my heart to be like the seed on good soil that endures to the end and bears much fruit. Help me to value what You value and never to be ashamed of Jesus or His words. Take away all my excuses for not following Jesus wherever He leads me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Luke 7-9
In chapters 7–9, notice the variety of reactions and responses to Jesus. Who is believing? Who is rejecting? Though we may be surprised by who accepts Jesus and who does not, the gospel is for all, including the poor, the needy, and the socially outcast.
Luke 7:1–38 A Roman centurion, recognizes Jesus’ authority over sickness, and Jesus heals his son, saying, “I have not found such faith, even in Israel.” Jesus has compassion on a widow and raises her dead son to life. The people were filled with awe and praised God.
Jesus healed many people of diseases and demons and gave sight to the blind. Some people, including the despised tax collectors, were responding rightly to Jesus, but the Pharisees and experts in Jewish Law rejected God’s plan.
Luke 7:39–50 A woman with a sinful reputation kisses and washes Jesus’ feet during a dinner party at a Pharisee’s house. The Pharisee host is astonished that Jesus would allow this sinner to touch Him. No prophet would allow that, the man reasons. But Jesus understands the woman’s actions to be a grateful, loving response of a person whose many sins have been forgiven. Consider these two very different responses to Jesus!
Luke 8:1–3 Notice that Jesus’ traveling followers included some women who had been healed of sickness and evil spirits. Prominent women are also among Jesus’ supporters.
Luke 8:4–18 The parable of the soils illustrates four responses to Jesus, and how the Devil, the difficulties of life, and the pleasures or riches of this world may affect people’s response to the Word. The same seed is sown in the four soils, but the harvest or crop differs according to the soil. Notice the emphasis on hearing and listening well to the teaching of the kingdom Word of God. In particular, focus on Luke 8:8, “Anyone who has ears to hear should listen,” and Luke 8:18, “Therefore, take care how you listen. For whoever has, more will be given to him; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.” We might believe our hearts and ears are closely connected, and they are. Jesus wants His followers to hear and listen well with a good and honest heart, holding on to the Word, enduring and bearing fruit.
Luke 8:19–53 Jesus shows His authority as Lord in various ways. Observe that He has the right to redefine true relationships as well as to command the wind and the waves, because He is Lord over the wind and waves. Jesus is Lord, and demons have no choice but to submit to His authority. Many people respond to Jesus’ power and authority with fear.
Jesus then heals a woman from a shameful condition and publicly restores her honor, saying, “Daughter … your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” For Jesus, raising the dead is no more difficult than waking a sleeping person. He is a powerful King!
Luke 9 As we read, we discover exactly who Jesus is. Jesus demonstrates the coming of the kingdom of God by showing His authority over sickness and evil. He does so by sending out the twelve apostles to heal and preach. By miraculously feeding 5,000 people and then rebuking an unclean spirit, Jesus astonishes the crowds with the greatness of God and shows He does what only the Lord God can do.
Peter truly recognizes and confesses Jesus as God’s Messiah. Then He further clarifies His mission as the suffering Messiah and the Son of Man, going so far as to twice predict His coming death. God also speaks from heaven, saying of Jesus, “This is my Son, the Chosen One; listen to Him!”
47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.
- Being a follower of Jesus requires endurance. The parable of the soils reminds us not everyone who hears the gospel responds to it rightly. How have you seen these various responses to Jesus and the gospel among people you know? Listening well to God’s Son and God’s Word is very important. Determine to be a listener who endures and bears much fruit.
- Jesus shows His power over all creation. If Jesus has such authority, His followers can trust Him with their lives.
- Think of someone who seems unlikely to become a follower of Jesus. Remembering the surprising responses in Luke 9, pray for that person and ask God to show you a way to talk about the gospel with them.
- Consider again Jesus’ words. He says we should listen and put into practice what He says, and that this response will cause us to bear much fruit. Talk with another follower of Jesus about how you might listen better to Jesus and do what He says. Plan together how you might transfer what you learn from the Word to others and so make disciples. Discuss together specific steps of obedience you will take in those areas, and pray for one another to be good soil that yields much fruit.