New Testament In a Year: March 31 – Luke 6:27-49

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Luke 6:27-49
(27-36) Love Your Enemies
Jesus is not telling us to do anything that He has not done Himself. When He was here on earth, Christ did not only love those who followed Him. He also loved those who hated Him like the scribes and Pharisees. While He was hanging on the cross, He prayed for His Father to forgive those who were abusing His body. He taught, He healed, and He fed others without expecting anything back in return.

If we were kind and good people, it would be easier to understand why God would send His Son to die for us. But God is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. The merciful miracle is that He loved us at our darkest. We did not love Christ, yet He loved us anyway. We were not good to Him, but He was good to us anyway. We did not give Him anything, yet He gave us everything.

(37-42) Judging Others
Instead of focusing on the faults of others, Christ urges us to focus on our own faults. It is easier for us to spot the specks in others while ignoring the planks in ourselves, but we must make a conscious and consistent effort to examine, correct, and improve ourselves. Sabrina Gauer challenges us to work on our own planks. “It takes conscious effort to love instead of judge,” she writes. Read her full post here.

Favorite verse: (35) But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

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New Testament In a Year: March 30 – Luke 6:1-26

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Luke 6:1-26
(12-19) The Twelve Apostles and Jesus Ministers to a Great Multitude
From these verses it appears that Jesus had a large following of disciples, and from this large following, He chose twelve whom he named apostles and who followed Him everywhere. Judas Iscariot is harshly criticized for betraying Jesus, Peter is ridiculed for denying Jesus, and the rest are ribbed for fleeing at Jesus’ darkest hour. But what of the “great crowd” of disciples? Perhaps they only stuck around for a few days to hear a few good words and see a couple hundred miracles being performed, but they were not committed to Jesus for the long-term. Jesus the Christ desires faithful followers who are dedicated to His mission and will stick by Him to the end.

(20-23) The Beatitudes
Jesus says, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” This reminds us that Christians who are persecuted ought not to think that people hate them because something is wrong with them. It is on account of Jesus the Christ that they are disliked. People don’t necessarily hate us, just the Christ in us.

Favorite verse: (9) And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?”

New Testament In a Year: March 29 – Luke 5:17-39

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Luke 5:17-39
(17-26) Jesus Heals a Paralytic
Nothing could keep these men from getting their friend before the only One who could heal him of his paralysis. We should be just as determined to get our friends (and strangers) to know Jesus the Christ, who is the only One who can fill empty souls and make broken hearts whole. These men had faith that Jesus would physically heal their friend. We must also have faith that He will give spiritual healing to those in our lives who need it.

(27-32) Jesus Calls Levi
In Jesus’ day, tax collectors were generally hated and despised by the Jews. But by inviting people like Matthew and Levi to follow Him, Jesus showed that no one is ineligible for salvation and becoming a disciple of His. No matter ones occupation, education level, or financial status, Jesus invites all people to come and follow Him.

Favorite verse: (32) I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Women of the Word: Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians

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A passage in the book of Acts tells the story of how Philip the evangelist had the opportunity to witness to an Ethiopian eunuch and lead him to faith in Jesus the Christ. This eunuch was under the authority of the queen of the Ethiopians. Tradition has it that when the eunuch returned from Jerusalem, he witnessed to his queen, and she too came to believe in Jesus. As the ruler of a country, no doubt her Christian faith impacted hundreds of people for years to come. Continue reading

New Testament In a Year: March 28 – Luke 5:1-16

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Luke 5:1-16
(1-11) Jesus Calls the First Disciples
In this passage and throughout the Gospels we read of how “the crowd(s)” gathered about Jesus, pressed in on Him, and rushed to witness Him speak whenever they had the chance. They were eager to hear the word of God; and not only hear it, but see it too. The crowds had the opportunity to literally see Old Testament prophecy being fulfilled, and they were able to see much of the New Testament being written right before their eyes.

Today, we have the entire Bible before us and can read it whenever and wherever – in print, on the computer, on a tablet. But if we’re not careful, the words of Jesus that appear in red and the words that appear in black, can cease to be exciting and fail to impact our lives in the way that they should. May we be as eager as the crowds to not only hear, but also receive and believe the word of God.

Favorite verse: (16) But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

New Testament In a Year: March 27 – Luke 4:31-44

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Luke 4:31-44
(31-37) Jesus Heals a Man with an Unclean Demon
How did this demon and other unclean spirits know who Jesus the Christ was? It was not only because of the words He spoke, it was also because of the life He lived. Jesus lived a righteous life and the spirit of God was on Him. He was Light; they were darkness. The demons could not help but be afraid.

(38-41) Jesus Heals Many
Jesus the Christ rebuked demons and stopped them from speaking about Him because He did not want them to be the ones to testify about Him. God has commissioned us (true believers and followers of Him) to tell about the works and words of His Son. It is our duty to testify of who Jesus is – the Son of God!

Favorite verse: (43) But he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”

New Testament In a Year: March 26 – Luke 4:1-30

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Luke 4:1-30
(1-13) The Temptation of Jesus
When Satan comes at you with the Word, return to him with the Word. Jesus the Christ countered every one of Satan’s “It is written…” with His own “It is written…” Because He lacks originality, Satan likes to take the Word of God and use it to his advantage. Don’t be fooled. He’s been twisting Scripture since the beginning of time.

(16-30) Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
Verses 18-19 come from the book of Isaiah, and it is one of my favorite passages describing the work of Jesus the Christ. The Spirit of the Lord descended like a dove on Him at His baptism and remained on Him throughout His entire time here on earth. His birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection brought good news to our poor souls, set our captive and oppressed hearts free, and gave sight to our blind spiritual eyes.

Because of Him, we can see!

Because of Him, we are no longer bound to sin!

Because of Him, we are free to dance!

Favorite verse: (18) “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.