A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him."

Here Jesus takes three of His closest students and goes up onto mountain to pray - As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.

Peter, James and John don't see this at first. They are sleeping. Wonder how long they prayed before they lost focus and dozed off?

Imagine their surprise to awake to see the change in Jesus’ appearance! Even more shock when they see Moses and Elijah have appeared from the dead.

Luke tells us they were talking to Jesus about His coming death in Jerusalem!

Suddenly a cloud surrounds them and it is then they hear God’s voice. This is my Son... Listen to Him…

When the cloud lifts, Moses and Elijah are gone. How symbolic! Only Jesus remains - When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone.

How fitting! The time has come. The Law of Moses and the prophecies concerning the Christ are about to be fulfilled by Jesus.

Consequently, today Jesus stands alone as the voice of God.

One more reason students of Jesus choose to listen to this Teacher.



LUKE 9:18-27

But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Here Jesus asks a question. The Question actually! Because if Jesus is who He claims to be, then all other inquiries pale in comparison!

Peter answered, "The Christ of God."

With this answer comes a realization that this Teacher isn’t just another moral philosopher. His message is God’s message.

Jesus asks the question about His identity because the answer matters. Those who find themselves on the wrong side of this question end up opposing God. At the very least, ignoring Him!

This is of ultimate importance because the Creator has a claim on His creation.

It isn’t simply a matter of God dictating the rules, although He could. It is more like a loving parent who gently teaches a child about what is true. The realities of life!

According to Jesus it is God’s love for mankind that prompted His coming into the world. That’s what He tells Peter and the other students who know who He is…

The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Jesus doesn’t come only to speak God’s Truth. He also calls His students to stand with Him and follow Him in the Way of Truth.

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”



Not a word we usually associate with the Teacher but it is a most apt description of Him.

Here Jesus retreated with His students, but the crowds sought them out. They weren’t invited on this little retreat, but…

He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

It is almost impossible for the average person to meet important people. Powerful people are inaccessible! Except to their families and other important people of course!

Yet, amazingly the Creator of the Universe steps down to earth in the form of Jesus and is completely available to everyone. He’s easy to get to. Even for the poorest of the poor.

And when people crowd around Him – throng Him – He does not show the slightest annoyance. On the contrary, He’s welcoming!

It may have been a trying day. He may need rest. Nevertheless, Jesus always seems to find time to be warm and inviting.

Here He even provides the hospitality of a meal for more than 5,000 uninvited guests!

Students of Jesus take notice. Learn to see through the eyes of the Teacher. The importance of every person!

We learn from Him how to be welcoming too. Reachable. Approachable.



If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.

Jesus sends the Twelve out to preach the gospel. He indicates that anyone who rejects them will be providing evidence against themselves. Actually judging themselves!

Does this seem harsh?

Only if truth doesn’t matter! Only if there is no moral responsibility to receive and believe Jesus’ message!

But this is precisely the point. When God’s Truth is revealed, there is a personal responsibility to accept it.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when many seem to think that what they choose to believe is simply a matter of personal preference. In such a world everything is relative. There is no absolute truth.

They seem to neglect one very important question. Does the God who created this world also have the right to reveal what is true?

Obviously! And that’s why Jesus says those who reject His gospel will have a testimony against them. He speaks for God.

This raises questions. When and where will this testimony against them be heard? Who will hear this testimony? What difference will it make?

The answer to these questions all point to a future day of accountability. A time when all will be judged by God! Then it will be clear why truth matters.

And if those who reject Jesus will have a testimony against them, it follows that those who accept Him will have a testimony in their favor.

This is true, because right is right.



Don't be afraid; just believe!

This is what Jesus tells a man whose daughter is dead. What a choice this man had to make between fear for obvious reason and faith in an unseen improbability.

Here the improbable happens. Jesus raises his child from the dead.

He took her by the hand and said, "My child, get up!" Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up.

This father faced a difficult decision. Fear told him it was all over. Dead people don’t come back to life.

But His heart told him to listen to Jesus and trust Him. He wanted to believe.

This is the choice everyone faces. Sometimes in circumstances equally devastating, but more often in normal day-to-day situations!

Reality always takes us to this same point of decision. Beyond what we see, hear and know are the choices: fear or faith. Doubt or trust!

At this point, the Teacher always counsels to choose faith.

This is never easy. But neither is living in fear and doubt!

So it’s our choice.

Students of Jesus listen to the Teacher. In His presence they learn to choose faith.



Great faith doesn’t come by focusing on ourselves. It comes as a natural result when we center our attention on Jesus.

Here Jesus heals a woman as He is on the way to raise a young girl from the dead.

Of course, Jesus’ incredible power is what Luke wants us to see. But there is something more. The great faith of this woman!

We’ve seen this before. Someone who believes without a doubt and receives what they need from Jesus. How do they get to this level of trust?

This woman believes she can be healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment. Healed in a moment of a disease no doctor could relieve in twelve years!

Her estimation of Jesus and His power is very high indeed.

And she’s right. She is healed instantly when she merely touches the edge of Jesus’ cloak.

It looks like faith is not so much something within her, as much as it is something she knows about Jesus. Her estimation of Him!

Mmm…perhaps instead of focusing inward on our own faith or lack of it, we should do what this woman does. Focus on Jesus and ask ourselves what we think of Him. What He can do.

If our estimation of Jesus turns out to be as high as this woman’s, then we may find quite incidentally that we have come to a very strong faith.

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."

What do you think of Jesus?



“Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

Here the Teacher tells the man whom He healed to testify to others what God did for him. And He does! All over town he is talking about how Jesus changed his life.

In an actual court of law, hearsay evidence is usually not admitted as evidence. A witness can only testify about personal, firsthand knowledge. That’s exactly what this man does!

Today students of Jesus cannot be credible witnesses to the death of Jesus on the cross. Or His resurrection from the tomb! We weren’t there.

But those who saw these things can bear witness. And they did. We read some of their eyewitness accounts recorded in the New Testament.

Their evidence provides a strong basis for our faith. And we should give their testimony great weight. They had nothing to gain by giving false evidence.

On the contrary, many of them were killed rather than deny the truth of what they saw and knew to be true.

No, students of Jesus cannot provide credible evidence about what Jesus did nearly 2,000 years ago. But this has already been recorded by some of those who witnessed the events firsthand.

But today students of the Teacher can still testify as this man did. We can bear witness and give evidence about how Jesus has changed our lives too.

No doubt the positive changes in this man’s life provided incentive to many who knew him to find out more about Jesus.

This is still what happens today when students of Jesus testify by their life and by their words about what He has done for us.



The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!

We’ve all been there one way or the other. Circumstances that seem so dire we feel swamped by them!

Here Jesus and His students find themselves in a real-life drama. A life and death situation!

So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, He fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

Interesting isn’t it. Jesus’ faith in God’s protection and care is so great He can sleep in the storm.

Not us! Sleeplessness is very often one of the symptoms of our extreme worry and fearfulness.

Oh, for a faith like the Teacher’s! It’s what He wants for all His students. A faith like His!

When Jesus awakes and calms the storm, He asks His students - Where is your faith?

The Teacher obviously believes a faith like His is actually possible for us too. And it is, as we make progress in becoming more like Him! Learning from Him how to trust God when we are in over our heads!

This is part of what being a student of the Teacher is about.

The next time we feel swamped - in danger of drowning - remember the faith of Jesus.

Asleep in the storm!



No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.

People hide many things, but light isn’t one of them!

Light is not for covering up but for illuminating. The obvious truth here is that Jesus is the light of the world. He is not hiding, but shining the light of God for all who to see.

But Jesus has just finished speaking a parable about the importance of listening to the message He is bringing. He makes it clear that not everyone will walk in the light He brings.

His light is purifying. His Truth cleanses and refines. Those who listen to Him come to the sunshine of His light and grow in the goodness and character of God.
Others shun the light and seek to hide their deeds. Theirs are fruits of darkness.
But according to the Teacher, this cover-up won’t work!

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen.

Isn’t this a picture of future judgment? In view of the final Day of Accountability for life’s choices and actions, now is the time to listen carefully to the Teacher.

On that Day - Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.

One day it will be clear who came to the light. Who became a careful student of the Teacher!

It will be brought to light…



After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.

Like an itinerate preacher, Jesus went from place to place. The Twelve were with Him also.

Such a lifestyle is not an easy one. But Jesus wanted to preach the good news in as many places as possible.

And here we learn Jesus’ work was made possible, in part, by the financial support of certain women who followed Him.

Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna and many others - These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

No doubt Jesus and the Twelve were very grateful for the meals, lodging and other necessities of life these generous women provided.

You have to believe these women of means were also greatly blessed to be able to give such vital assistance to their Teacher.

Can we imagine their joy when Jesus healed the sick in a little out-of-the-way village! Or when they saw the faces of the people as they listened to Jesus’ teaching for the first time!

What a privilege these women enjoyed! Imagine! To be able to help Jesus accomplish His mission on earth! It was their work too!

Such an opportunity is still available to students of Jesus today, isn’t it? Doesn’t teaching and preaching, mission work and charity still require those who are willing to support financially?

These women made the most of their opportunity. Now it is up to us to help bring the message of Jesus and His love to those who need it today.



Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.

Here it’s difficult to tell who the more unwelcome guest is. Jesus, who is invited by Simon or the sinful woman who shows up!

Even though Simon asked Jesus to come, he withheld the traditional signs of hospitality. It looks like He wants to find out something about Jesus, but doesn’t want to risk seeming to be too friendly.

He didn’t give Jesus the usual kiss of greeting. Doesn’t provide water to wash Jesus’ feet or anoint His head with oil!

The sinful woman actually performs the courtesies expected from the host. She washes Jesus feet with her tears! Dries them with her hair! Even kisses Jesus’ feet and pours perfume on them!

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner."

Apparently Simon is one of those who believe in guilt by association. So he carefully keeps Jesus at arm’s length and judges Him when he allows the sinful woman to touch Him.

At this point it is beyond Simon’s wildest dreams that Jesus would not only touch sinners but actually bear the sins of everyone in the world, including his.

Jesus tells Simon a story to help him understand about love and forgiveness. We don’t know if this reluctant host ever got it. Ever understood what the surprise guest already knew.

For she experienced the love forgiveness always creates in the heart.

I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.



Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.

This seems strange. We don’t see anything about Jesus that should be repulsive to anyone. Yet, here Jesus indicates not everyone responds favorably to Him.

We know this is true. After all, Jesus will be rejected and crucified. He explains it by saying some people are never satisfied!

To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.'

These people are not going to be happy no matter how God approaches them. They rejected John’s message and manner and now they don’t like Jesus’ teaching and style either.

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners."

Jesus says this is more serious than they realize - the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves…

Truth isn’t simply a matter of personal preferences. God is involved and it is His purposes that should be the chief concern.

What is God’s purpose for us today? What tune is He playing?

Isn’t it the music of the Teacher, Jesus Christ?

Hope we like it…



As He approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.

Here Jesus happens upon a widow on the way to bury her son. Nothing unusual about this, but His reaction is - When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."

Jesus doesn’t stand respectfully at a distance. Instead He does what at first seems very ill-mannered – He interrupts the funeral!

Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

It has been our sad duty to attend many burials. What would have been our reaction if something like this happened at one of them?

They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people."

The people that day experienced an astounding miracle! But today we know something they didn’t. We know about Jesus’ resurrection!

This event portends Jesus’ intention to provide a resurrection from the dead for every person who trusts in Him. This is the Christian hope!

Such a hope is foreign to millions living without knowledge of Jesus. This was the case behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Era.

Typically, as the deceased’s coffin was lowered into the grave, each person respectfully tossed in a handful of dirt with the words – Goodbye Comrade.

To them, death marked the end of the road. The final stop! Goodbye.

Jesus turned the widow’s mourning into joy. He conquers death. That’s why every Christian spells hope – JESUS!



Can great faith seem to be just matter of fact? Maybe so. That’s how the faith of this military officer appears to be.

The centurion’s beloved servant is ill to the point of death. He relays word to Jesus asking for help. But as Jesus nears his home the centurion sends word:

Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.

No face to face meeting. Just simply stated faith that Jesus can heal his servant with merely a word!

How can this centurion be so matter of fact about this? He explains:

For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

Here we have the picture of a man who doesn’t even interrupt the routine of his busy day. Business as usual!

For him, it’s simply a matter of fact! If Jesus is the Son of God He can do anything!

We quickly agree. But being this certain and confident when you’re in a difficult circumstance… When your loved one is about to die…

No. This man understands something better than most. He calmly trusts. Because He knows Jesus can exercise absolute authority over everything going on around him!

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

Perhaps the greatest faith is simply a matter of fact!



I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.

Here the Carpenter is talking about quality construction. He says it begins with a rock solid foundation.

He’s not talking about house-building. He is revealing the kind of life that can weather all the storms - when a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.

How do we create such a durable life?

The Teacher says we must come to Him. Hear His words and practice them!

Isn’t this a description of the serious student of Jesus?

And isn’t the Teacher laying out the blueprint for a life that can withstand the trials and tribulations common to all? A way to endure every adversity!

Being a serious student of Jesus is digging deep. Building a life on the rock solid bedrock of His Teaching!

But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.


Like The Teacher

A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

Here Jesus announces the goal for His students – to become like the Teacher!

Notice, the Teacher comes not only teaching ideals about love, mercy, forgiveness, and generosity, but offering to train His students in them!

He not only brings information but provides transformation of heart and life. Not only learning what Jesus teaches but training together with Him to be and to do.

For example, students of painting not only receive information about the art. They learn to paint!

Students of music not only learn theories. They receive training to become accomplished musicians.

In the same way, Jesus not only teaches ideals. He trains His students to develop these abilities and demonstrate them in their lives.

To receive this training we must enroll in the University of Jesus. Become His students. Then daily, in the classroom of life, the Teacher informs and trains us to become more like Him.

We apprentice ourselves to the Master and learn His life skills. In this way, we fulfill our God-given destiny – to be more like Jesus!

The student who is fully trained will be like His Teacher.


Radical Love

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Here the Teacher gives an incredible sermon about love. Frankly, it is so completely radical – so out of step with reality - as to seem totally impractical. Even impossible!

But is it?

We might be tempted to dismiss this radical kindness if it were not for one very important fact. The Teacher actually lived it!

Just go down the list. The Teacher isn’t just talking. He practiced all this as an everyday way of living!

But one scene from His life captures it all for us – the cross!

There, He loved His enemies, even died for them! Prayed for the forgiveness of those who nailed Him to the cross! Allowed His enemies to strike Him repeatedly even though He had power to stop them! Gave up His robe and clothes to the executioners!

He even practiced the golden rule. He did for everyone just exactly what He would have wanted done for Him if He had been in need of grace – He died for the sins of the world!

No! Radical love is practical! What seems really drastic is the Teacher’s obvious belief that His students can live this way too!

Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.



God looks down and we look up! But what if there was a way we could flip our perspective to see things God’s way? Our initial reaction might be spiritual vertigo.

This upside-down view of things would be dizzying!

This must be how things seemed to Jesus’ first students. Because when we hear what the Teacher told them, it is disorienting to us too at first!

Do these things look right? Sound right? From our perspective!

Looking at his disciples, he said…But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.

From an earthly point of view to be rich, comfortable, well fed, jovial, and well thought of are the most desirable circumstances. But Jesus sees with heavenly focus.

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you… because of the Son of Man.

Jesus’ teaching is from another world, but it is God’s world. And serious students eventually come to appreciate this wisdom from above. But living it puts students in opposition to the prevailing values of the world.

Such a way of life isn’t popular or easy! Students of Jesus are seen as living upside-down kind of lives. And they are!

But according to the Teacher, it is heaven’s 20/20 vision - Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.


Off Target

Some of the Pharisees asked, "Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"

Here the religious leaders are off target once again. Religion for them is almost exclusively about keeping their rules. But they completely miss the point of God’s commands.

For them, God’s Word is given for only one purpose – to keep track of who is right and who is wrong. And as is usually the case with such misguided religious people, they think they have it right!

Religion that only focuses on rule-keeping misses the purpose of the rules. To point us in the direction of God’s nature and character! To shepherd us to more loving, merciful and grace-filled hearts!

And such religion always takes the next short step to a judgmental spirit. So they are watching Jesus for one purpose only.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.

Of course, Jesus does the most loving, merciful and grace-filled thing. On the Sabbath Day no less! He heals the man with a withered hand.

Are they happy about this? Rejoicing with the man? Not a chance!
But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Yes, they knew the rules, but they were off target. So far off they didn’t even recognize the character of God when Jesus showed up at the synagogue that day!

Today, students of the Teacher realize the assignment is to become like Him. Observing Jesus’ teaching leads there if we’re on target!


Patchwork Religion

No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.

Jesus doesn’t come to patch a few tears in our worn-out religious clothes. He brings an entirely new garment!

Some things we say indicate we aren’t listening to the Teacher. Like…

“We do our best and Jesus makes up the difference!”

This relegates Jesus to a seamstress who merely patches a few holes in our own virtue. When actually we need a completely new suit tailored out of the whole cloth of His own character!

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.

Jesus is explaining that religion based on keeping rituals like fasting and other forms of rule keeping cannot contain the message He brings. The new wine of His teaching will break out of such rigid forms!

His Good News must find more elastic containers. Ones that can grow and expand to be filled with the very character of God!

There is only one such vessel. His message must be received and preserved in the human heart!

As our Savior, Jesus provides absolute forgiveness of sin and peaceful security with God. Then, as our Teacher, He gradually pours the new wine of His own character into our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is the process of the Teacher-student relationship. As His message grows in our hearts, we are gradually changed to become more like Him.



After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. "Follow me," Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

Levi knows Jesus is a Teacher. He also understands when a rabbi says, Follow Me, it is an invitation to become a fulltime student.

That’s why there’s no hesitation. It’s a no-brainer.

This is an easy choice for Levi. He immediately walks off the job to take advantage of Jesus’ offer for an education in life.

To enter the University of Jesus is an honor far greater than any other. To be a student of this Teacher is the opportunity of a lifetime.

The Teacher has special plans for Levi. He will become one of His twelve apostles. He will write the first book of the New Testament – Matthew.

Today, Jesus is still calling all people – Follow Me.

The decision should be equally obvious for us. Something we also do without hesitation - if like Levi - we realize the blessings becoming a student of Jesus will bring to our life.

Levi was willing to walk away from everything to follow Him.

Students today still walk away from anything standing in the way of being a serious student of this Teacher. For the Teacher has special plans for every follower.



Luke doesn’t want us to miss this! This Teacher is willing and able to restore lives even in the direst circumstances. No one is too far gone for Jesus to save.

Here a man with the incurable and terribly disfiguring disease of leprosy comes to Jesus for help. His highly communicable disease has made him a social outcast.

Yet, he believes Jesus can cure him if He is willing.

And he finds Jesus is both willing and able!

When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.

What a day of rejoicing it must have been for this broken man!

A person with leprosy was an untouchable. Yet Jesus touches Him. Makes him clean again! Gives him back his lost life!

Isn’t this what students of Jesus believe also. Why we come to Him!

We too believe He is able to make us clean. Take away the old and make us new again! Restore our relationship with God.

Only the Teacher is able to give us back the life our sin has stolen from us. Enter us on the path that leads us to become more like Him in heart and life.

Did you notice the answer Jesus gave? He said - I am willing!

Yes, the Teacher is willing and able!

The greater question is do we have the faith of this leper. Do we believe He can make us clean? Are we willing to become His students and let Him change our lives?



Students of the Teacher have come to understand He is our resident expert on everything.

While most expect Jesus to know about things of God, only His students learn to trust Him about everything.

Here Peter and the other resident experts on fishing find out the Teacher knows more than they do about fishing too.

Surprisingly, Jesus tells them how to catch fish - When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."

At first Peter objects - "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

Peter is learning what every student learns. Jesus has the best information about every situation we face. That’s why He’s the Teacher!

Don’t be tempted to relegate Jesus to religious activities. Keeping Him neatly tucked away behind stain-glass windows. He’s an every day Teacher for all of life!

Do what these first students did - So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

They took Jesus as their Teacher for the education of a lifetime!



Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.

The Teacher is an incredible Person. But His message amazes also. The credibility and truth of His teaching!

Jesus did many miracles that day. Of course He cares deeply for hurting people. But His works of mercy also give credence to His message.

All the people were amazed and said to each other, "What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!

Today, we are still amazed by the power and beauty of Jesus the Person. The power of His resurrection! The love and mercy of His personality! He is the greatest Person who ever lived!

But it is His message from heaven that resonates in our hearts. Strikes a chord deep in our souls that vibrates in tune with the truths of God!

Jesus as Teacher speaks to us where we are. Lifting us to heights of spiritual insight and understanding about ourselves and our place in God’s plan! Only the Teacher can do this.

That’s why we want to be His students too.

Fortunately, teaching is still His business. Not only what He came to do nearly 2,000 years ago! Today, He continues as the Teacher and we His avid students.

"I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.



Truth walks into Nazareth and He’s unrecognizable. Jesus comes to His hometown to announce His ministry and they reject Him. Even more, they try to kill Him!

They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.

He could have let them throw Him off the cliff. Get up unscathed and come back and try again. He doesn’t. He just walks away.

To say Jesus’ preaching in their synagogue was not well received is an understatement. This rejection of Jesus goes down in history as one of the worst reactions to a sermon any preacher ever experienced!

Jesus warned them of the consequences of their rejection. This made things even worse. Luke says – all the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.

What prejudice vaccinated them against the truth? Was it certain religious pre-conceptions?
Certainly, the fact it was Jesus’ hometown played into their reaction. Jesus says – I tell you the truth…no prophet is accepted in His hometown.

Are we missing something too? Is it possible our beliefs about Jesus prevent us from understanding His message in its fullness?

Has the primary Christian perspective of Jesus as a Savior kept us from recognizing Him as our daily Teacher? Have we settled for church membership rather than becoming His serious students?

It’s true. Jesus has come to save us in heaven someday. But do we recognize this truth has also come to our town? He offers - as our Teacher - to save us from the persons we will certainly become in this life without Him. He wants to change our hearts!



The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

Here is Jesus’ mission statement! A one-paragraph summary of His purpose!

Today every organization has one. Businesses have them. Non-profits, even churches have them.

Regrettably, the mission statements of some churches bear little resemblance to the one given here by Jesus.

Why is this the case? Isn’t the church supposed to be an extension of Jesus’ ministry on the earth? His Body?

Could it be that churches readily accept Jesus as the Savior but do not pay close attention to Jesus as the Teacher?

So what might a congregational or personal mission statement look like that relied upon the Teacher’s mission statement as a model?

How about: Our purpose is to proclaim the good news of Jesus to the poor and help those who are hurting.

I’m not suggesting all the wonderful and diverse mission statements prayerfully put forth by loving churches completely miss the mark.

I’m only saying…Jesus is the Teacher!



Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.

Jesus is baptized, receives the Holy Spirit and what happens? Immediately He is tempted for forty days! Not what one might reasonably expect!

How often are new followers of Jesus surprised to find their lives filled with more temptation? This isn’t what they expected. Shouldn’t making a decision to become a student of Jesus automatically make life easier?

According to the Teacher’s example, this isn’t the case at all. Actually, a decision to become like Jesus means the battle is on!

It means we now desire to do God’s Will, but something in our human nature is still attracted to things against the nature and will of God. Must be! Otherwise there is no real temptation.

The offer of a piece of chocolate cake isn’t tempting to one who has no desire for chocolate cake. To be tempted to do wrong there must be some attraction in it.

Isn’t it comforting to know that temptation – the appeal of evil - is not in itself a sin? Temptation is not sin. Giving in to it is!

Jesus was perfect because He never gave in. And here Luke tells us how Jesus successfully resisted all temptations.

To each temptation Jesus answered, It is written! The Teacher shows us the way. Know God’s Word and be able to speak it in such times.

And only by becoming a student of Jesus can our hearts be gradually changed to be more like His. And resist temptation more effectively.

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

That’s breathing room we can all appreciate and use to advantage!



All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

This opening line is from Tolstoy’s, Anna Karenina. It is considered the greatest novel ever written - a deeply moving exploration of human character!

But Luke has a more hopeful story!

Here he simply records the names of the fathers in the lineage of Joseph. For Jesus was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph.

We know very little of most of these families. Were they happy or not?
Yet we are certain Jesus’ family was a happy one simply because He was in it!

We must believe Tolstoy is right. There are many ways families may be unhappy. Many dead ends, but only one way leading to true happiness!

And even happy families have their struggles. After all, it is the way of the fallen world in which we live.

But Luke wants every father and mother, every child, to find the way through to real happiness that Jesus alone can provide.

This is Luke’s message for all families. It is one of Good News! The story of Jesus!

To become serious students of this Teacher! Allow Him to reshape our character! And in this process be led together with our families into the very happiness and joy of God!

Happy families because Jesus is in them! In this way, all happy families are alike!



When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too.

Jesus submits to John’s baptism. By doing so, He expresses His faith in the coming kingdom too. In fact, He is bringing it to earth.

But something more happens when Jesus is baptized. Jesus receives the Holy Spirit. What an awesome sight this must have been!

And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove.

God has come to earth in the Person of Jesus. Now God sends the Holy Spirit as a seal of approval and empowerment for His mission.

And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.

Luke adds - Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.

Jesus is the example for all who will follow Him. Today, anyone who expresses their faith in Jesus by submitting to baptism also receives the Holy Spirit.

Man administers baptism in water and Jesus gives the Holy Spirit. It is one baptism with two elements. One visible – water. One invisible – the Holy Spirit!

In this way, every Christian is also given God’s seal of approval. The Holy Spirit! And empowered by the Spirit to fulfill their mission to become more like Jesus!

Not water only but water and the Spirit!



I baptize you with water.

Here John says this is the best he can do. It’s good enough for now. What God sent him to do!

But John tells the people he isn’t the Christ. The Christ is more powerful and more worthy – He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

The reason John could only baptize with water is because the Holy Spirit isn’t something he has power to give. Only Jesus will give the gift of God Himself to mankind.

Jesus will command His followers to be baptized in water too. But only Jesus will give the accompanying gift of the Holy Spirit! The new birth of water and the Spirit!

But here John does what faithful men and women of God always do. He exalts Jesus far above himself and all others.

Not only is Jesus more worthy and powerful. He is the judge of all!

His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.

We might be tempted to ask, “How is judgment good news?”

John must see final judgment in the same way David thinks of it in the Psalms. Putting right what is wrong. Bringing relief to the oppressed! Justice for the poor!

Judgment too is good news!



The word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert.

Here is wording right out of the Old Testament – The word of God came to John… He’s the prophetic voice of God in the ancient tradition!

And John does what such prophets always do.

Leaders may cajole. Preachers suggest. But prophets boom and doom! God sends a prophet with a sense of urgency!

John doesn’t mince words. He speaks without diplomacy or dilution.

You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance…The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

The crowd gets the message. They agree with it. "What should we do then?" the crowd asked.

John gets specific! The rich need to repent of their selfish ways and share their extra clothes and food with the poor.

The tax collectors need to limit their intake to the minimum required by law. And soldiers must quit bullying. Be content with their wages and stop using their power to fleece the people for extra money.

A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord!’ Yes, John was setting the stage for the entrance of Jesus.

Now the Lord has come. The Word of the Lord has come for the last time. It is the voice of Jesus we hear.

This Teacher speaks of change also. Change to become more like Him in heart and life. Are we listening?