So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.”

Here the Teacher says that even if we were able to do everything God commands – an obvious impossibility – we would still be unworthy.

Does this tempt us to give up? Far from it!

In a higher sense, every human being is already worthy. God says so. We are made in His image.

The death of Jesus on the cross says so too. By dying for the sins of the whole world, Jesus says most dramatically – I think you all are of such inestimable value that I will give my life for you!

The death of Jesus settles the question of our worth for all time and eternity!

But Jesus makes it clear that even if we could do everything God commands we could not become worthy because of that. We could not stand before God and say that He is now in our debt and must accept us into eternal fellowship.

That’s because even perfectly keeping all the commands does not bring us to the level of God’s perfection. Does not put us in a position that would allow us to say to God – Now we deserve to be with You!

No, that only comes because of God’s love for us. And it is His love that settles the question of our ultimate worth.

Judged by our deeds we are unworthy. But we are worthy because He says so in the sending of Jesus to die for us. That’s the reason we strive to please Him. Why we want to be good students of the Teacher!



There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.

Here the Teacher continues His emphasis on the proper use of wealth. He doesn’t condemn the rich man for being rich. He condemns Him for living in luxury without regard for poor Lazarus begging near his gate.

At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
The folly of such a selfish life was only fully revealed in what happened to the rich man after he died.

The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

The rich man got religion too late.

But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.”

Who was actually rich and who was poor?

The time is coming when every student of Jesus will understand the proper use of the wealth God entrusted to them.

This is the wisdom of the Teacher. A wisdom that looks beyond the personal comfort and security that money can provide for ourselves. And focuses also on how to use what we have to bless others in need.

Rich or Poor?



What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.

Here the Teacher is talking about faithfulness. Being trustworthy!

There are many definitions of what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus. Some think of regular church attendance. Others focus on works of service or Bible study and prayer.

These are hallmarks of the faithful, but not what Jesus chooses to emphasize in this context.

So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?

The Teacher singles out how we use our money as the ultimate test of faithfulness. How we handle our wealth is an accurate measure of our trustworthiness.

He contrasts money and possessions with the true riches of the kingdom of God. He indicates if we are using money in God’s service it is a good indication we will be faithful with spiritual riches as well.

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

In the grand scheme of things money doesn’t mean much. Becoming more like Jesus in love, joy, peace, faith and other virtues is what life is all about.

If students of Jesus are dishonest with money by hoarding it for their own use, it is unlikely they will be trustworthy in the more important process of being a serious student of the Teacher.

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts.”



I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

Here the Teacher reveals one of the proper uses of our financial resources.

To illustrate the truth, Jesus tells the story of a manager who was wasting the rich mans’ possessions. As a result, he was about to be fired.

He immediately hatched a scheme to ingratiate himself with his employer’s debtors. One by one he called them in and discounted their debt, settling their accounts for much less than they owed.

The manager said to himself, 'What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig, and I'm ashamed to beg— I know what I'll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.'

Jesus commends the foresight of the manager. He is planning ahead by using money to make friends. Making sure he will have a place to live in the future when he can no longer work.

In a sense we are all managers of a Rich Person’s money. In fact, we hold all our assets as trustees for God. And like the manager in this story we are not always good managers of the Lord’s money.

And one day our time as manager will come to an end. Our life will be over. What then?

According to the Teacher, if we have used the money entrusted to us in ways that benefit others – use money to make friends - we will find the approval and welcome of heaven.

The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly.



"My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”

When the prodigal son returned from his wild fling, the elder son was resentful of the father’s lavish display of love and joy. After all, as an obedient son, he had stayed home and worked.
It isn’t fair.

Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!

Notice the older brother is so resentful of the father’s easy forgiveness that he doesn’t even call the prodigal a brother – he says, this son of yours…

His feelings are understandable. How often he must have wished his brother to be home to help with the work instead of off living a wild life.

It isn’t fair!

No it isn’t. It’s love, grace and mercy!

Isn’t this what Jesus is saying. God loves everyone, even the worst offenders and desires their repentance and presence in His house.

No wonder this story touches us in such a tender way. Because at some point in life every one of us is the prodigal son or the elder brother!

We have wandered away from our Heavenly Father and lived in ways that surely disappointed Him. Or maybe we have struggled with resentment over how someone close to us has lived their life.

Our goal as students of the Teacher is to understand the heart of God. To truly receive His love and forgiveness for our own sins! And to rejoice when anyone who has wandered away from God comes back home to Him!



But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

Here is one of the best known of all Jesus’ stories. Its main character appears to be one of the most famous sons of all time – the Prodigal Son.

Yet the son is not the real point of the story. The Father is! It is the Heavenly Father’s love for all of His lost sons and daughters that Jesus wants to reveal.

The Teacher tells the story to a group of self-righteous religious people who were objecting to His friendship with sinners. He wants them to know that God is a loving Father who will welcome the worst sinner who returns to Him.

The older son in the story represents the very ones who were criticizing Jesus’ love for sinners. It is the older son who resents the welcome his father gives to his sinful brother.

But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 3Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 4For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

This is the heart of our God. Our Heavenly Father who gave His Son to make a way for all His children to come back home.



But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

The fact that Jesus welcomed sinners and spent time in their company confused some religious leaders. This was not something any of them would do. In fact, they believed refusing to be around sinful people was a basic requirement to be truly religious.

Inherent in their practice of avoiding sinners must have been the belief that sinners are irredeemable. They surely believed that those lost to God could not be reclaimed. The lost were simply lost.

So the Teacher surprises them with stories about the lost being found. He even reveals the joy in heaven over one sinner who repents!

Then He asks them to consider what a shepherd would do if one of his sheep wanders from the fold.

Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'

He then tells the story of a woman who loses one of ten silver coins.

Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
The lost can be found! Sinners can repent, change their lives. Isn’t this why Jesus has come? Where the Teacher leads His students?



Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

In this context, Jesus is talking about the high cost of following Him. In fact, He said that those who follow Him must love Him more than their own family or they can’t be His students.

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? Yet, Jesus knows some who follow Him will be forced to choose between their relationships with their own family and their newfound allegiance to Him.

This isn’t harsh, it’s reality. That’s why the Teacher advises everyone to count the cost before they make the decision to become His student. It won’t do any good to start a relationship with Jesus if we aren’t committed in advance to pay any price to maintain it to the end.

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'

Well Teacher, how far must we be willing to go to maintain our allegiance?

In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

So how much is a relationship with Jesus worth? How much is heaven worth?



When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God."

This statement is one man’s reaction to Jesus’ teaching about the inclusion of the poor in God’s Kingdom.

We agree. How refreshing, and not surprising, that the Almighty God is not impressed by social standing, wealth or popularity. Jesus announces – and Luke emphasizes – God has an open invitation to everyone.

This includes the poor! Because with Jesus it is not what we have, but who He is that makes the difference. And He is love.

That’s why the invitation to become a student of Jesus is open to all. Everyone is qualified by virtue of God’s love to come to the spiritual feast Jesus prepares.

But today as in Jesus’ time, it seems the rich and powerful and even those who want to be are too busy to respond to the invitation of Jesus. Here’s how Jesus describes the situation:

Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.'

But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.'

The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'

Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.'



One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.

Everyone was keeping an eye on Jesus. Looking for something wrong! Hoping to catch Him in a mistake!

But Jesus was also keeping an eye on them and He didn’t like what He saw - He noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table…

He reminds them it is better to humbly seek a lesser seat to avoid the embarrassment of perhaps having to give way if a more honored guest shows up.
And to leave open the possibility of the host honoring you by offering a better place.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Does the Teacher have a right to talk like this? Let’s see. Jesus came to earth not as a king in a palace but a baby in a stable. He didn’t live as a rich man but as a servant of all.

Yes, He humbled Himself and even now has been offered a better seat at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.

Jesus was keeping an eye on them and looking around He must have noticed the guest list only included the well-connected.

Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Does the Teacher have a right to talk like this? When we stop to think that we are invited to His banquet, the answer is obvious. We who could never repay Him for His life and death are the welcomed guests at His party. Do you think He is still keeping an eye on His guests?



At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, "Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you."

Herod was king of Galilee. He killed John, now Jesus is warned about the king’s intention to take His life too.

Unless one has been in a life threatening situation, it is impossible to fully appreciate the courage of the Teacher in the face of this very real death threat. How will Jesus respond?

He replied, Go tell that fox, 'I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.'

He doesn’t flinch. Undeterred by fear for His personal safety, Jesus will keep on fulfilling His mission. Keep helping hurting people.

Until, that is, it is His time to die. He knows it is coming. He also knows when and predicts where it will occur.

In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

This is the Teacher we follow. The one with a supreme confidence in God that gives Him resolute courage in the face of opposition and even death!

O’ to be more like Him! How often we cower under less and are tempted to be silent when God would have us speak up for Him.

Unlike our Teacher, we don’t know when or where we will spend our final hours.
Yet, like Him we know what it will mean for us if we hold good courage to the end.

Every saved person is eternally grateful to Jesus. Because of His bravery, we too can reach our goal.



Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?"

According to the Teacher, one doesn’t simply stumble into the Kingdom of God.
There must be intent and strenuous effort. Being with Jesus and like Jesus must be the desire of our hearts and the work of our lives.

He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.

This is strange. Effort is required but may not be enough? The Teacher indicates it is possible to make some attempt and still not make it. Why is that?

The answer is shocking - because it isn’t easy to follow Jesus!

Apparently, some will make a half-hearted effort to gain a passing acquaintance with the Lord. But, a lackadaisical attempt to follow Jesus will never be enough to really come to know Him.

Then you will say, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.” But he will reply, “I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!”

We know it is impossible by good works or even supreme human effort to save ourselves. Only the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and the grace of God take us there.

Yet, some are willing to receive this gift but not willing to make the effort to be a friend of Jesus every day. Resist evil and stand with Him.

There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

On such a Day, it will make sense to have done what the Teacher says – Make every effort to enter…



Then Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to?

To answer His own question, Jesus gives two illustrations.

It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.

Here the Teacher compares God’s work on earth – His Kingdom – with a small seed that grows into a large tree. The Kingdom of God on earth will grow and increase.

Jesus knows what He is beginning in His life will not fail. From a few faithful followers, the Kingdom of God will enlarge to millions of citizens and fill the whole earth.

Again he asked, "What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like
yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked
all through the dough”.

Here the emphasis is on the unseen nature of how the Kingdom will work in people’s hearts. It will spread as baker’s yeast works to transform dough.

Isn’t this the experience of every student of the Teacher? Along with the working of the Holy Spirit, together with the Teacher our hearts are changed to be more like His.

Like yeast, the process is gradual. It takes time. But in the end the change is unmistakable.

A growing, ever-enlarging Kingdom of God! Slowly changing everything in us!



But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

Here the Teacher converses with some people about bad news of the day. News of suffering and of tragedy!

Accidents happen in our fallen world. Sometimes evil men bring suffering to others.

Jesus is a preacher of repentance. He uses the opportunity to point out the disastrous end awaiting all sinners who fail to repent and turn to God.

Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any.

So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard,
'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree
and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'

In this story Jesus lets everyone know that God expects the fruit of changed lives in His garden of humanity. In fact, for nearly three years Jesus will preach and teach this message in the cities of the nation of Israel.

This is a lesson about everyone’s personal accountability to God.

And this is what being a student of the Teacher is all about. Bearing the fruit of a changed character! A life that increasingly looks more and more like the life of Jesus.

Jesus also reveals God is extremely patient with us.

“Sir,” the man replied, ”leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down."

Yet there is an end to His patience. And end of opportunity to repent and bear fruit for God!



How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?

Funny how life just rocks along! Change is all around us, but it is usually too gradual to notice. Until one day we wake up and everything is radically different.

We should have seen it coming.

One day the city of Jerusalem fell to the Roman army. Why didn’t people see it coming and abandon the city? They should have discerned the signs.

One day barbarians sacked Rome. The citizens should have seen it coming. Yet, the city was full of people the day it happened.

One day God came to earth in the Person of Jesus Christ.

One day He faced the death on a cross. Only Jesus seems to see it coming - I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!

Here the Teacher says people are good at seeing what is going to happen with the weather - You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky.

But the average person doesn’t seem to have a clue about the real important, life-changing signs of the time!

So, why do people ignore the signs of the inevitable and continue to hope for an unrealistic last minute alternative outcome? Perhaps in the end people are just reluctant to make the difficult changes necessary to avert the coming disaster.

The Teacher suggests an alternative upon which to base a more prudent course of action. It applies today as never before.

Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?



Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?

Who is a wise manager? According to the Teacher it is someone who understands He is accountable. Will ultimately answer to the one who made him a manager!

Every student of Jesus has been given talents and abilities to serve others. Been entrusted with time and opportunity to accomplish the purposes of the Teacher!

One day every student will have a Day of final accounting - It will be good for that servant whom the Master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, He will put him in charge of all his possessions.

Everyone has been entrusted with certain gifts and abilities. We are all managers on behalf of the Lord.

The question is this. Who is a wise one?

That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.



Sell your possessions and give to the poor.

Sometimes the Teacher says something that shocks us. We don’t quite know what to do with it.

We appreciate when He talks about giving His life for us. We readily accept His words about coming to save us. We don’t wince when He talks about treating others as we would want to be treated!

And then He says something seemingly outrageous like this - Sell your possessions and give to the poor!

Suddenly we don’t quite know what to think. Is He as serious about these kinds of radical statements as He is about the ones that seem more reasonable to us?

The answer is yes. The statement here is as brilliant and wonderful as all the rest of what He says to us. Then what is to be our response as students of the Teacher?

It is helpful to keep in mind that Jesus speaks in absolutes. He is setting the bar as high as heaven itself. He is revealing the kind of life that brings the greatest blessings.

We may not have the faith to fully trust Him. Perhaps that’s understandable and where grace becomes more precious to us. But what is not right is to rationalize away the great truths simply because we lack the ability to follow them fully.

It is still the truth, nonetheless. The Teacher is talking about the greatest, highest, most noble kind of life. It’s Heaven’s Truth. Now it’s up to each student to recognize it, wrestle with it, move toward it!

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.



Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.

Here it is. Greed takes root in worry about personal security. Then it grows in the heart as money seems to easily provide everything we need.

But it’s a lie. God is the only true source of security.

The Teacher reveals the truth - Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.

The reason is obvious. Someday our physical existence comes to an end. Then all the money in the world won’t help us in the life eternal.

What we ate and drank or how we dressed won’t matter at all. Only our place in God’s Kingdom will be of concern to us. So Jesus says - seek His kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

What a promise! Instead of worrying about stuff, seek the kingdom and God will provide everything we need!

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Faith in the provision of God is the antidote to worry that creates greed.

O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.



Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

We’ve all seen this. Family members jockeying for their fair share of an inheritance! It’s never pretty.

Here the Teacher pinpoints the problem - Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'

"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’"

"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

The Teacher says it. Money squabbles in light of eternity are foolish!



Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Children find many ways to amuse themselves. Sometimes they play church. Acting out what they have seen and experienced in worship services.

It’s harmless fun. But here the Teacher condemns adults who play act at church. This isn’t harmless, it’s hypocrisy!

The Teacher lets His students know that nothing is hidden from God. What men try to conceal from others will be revealed. Ultimately, every religious actor will be unmasked.

Playing church to look good before others is pointless. God sees all. He knows what is done in secret. What is in the heart!

God is prescient. He even knows every little sparrow. In fact - the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

God knows everything about everyone! Jesus understands this might be discouraging - even frightening - because not everything we do or think is good.

That’s why the Teacher says - Don't be afraid.

God doesn’t use this information against us. If we’re not playing church, that is! If we’re not attempting to wear a religious mask to hide our faults instead of confessing our need for Him!

I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.



One of the experts in the law answered him, "Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”

Sometimes the truth hurts, doesn’t it? Why is that?

Usually because we find ourselves on the wrong side of it!

Here the experts in religion understand what Jesus is saying makes them look bad. They are insulted!

Students of Jesus very often find their lives out of sync with the principles of the Teacher. When this happens, what is the proper response?

Deny? Rationalize? Feel insulted?

Not if we are apprentices of Jesus who honestly desire to know the truth.

True, it is often painful when the Teacher points out a deficiency in our lives. But suffering this realization patiently and humbly is an important first step toward the truth!

We are able to see the difference between where we are and where we need to be. This is the beginning of becoming more like the Teacher.

It is at this point of realization that we find out how much we really love and desire the truth.

Not excuses. Not self pity. Not self-defense. For only a willing embrace of the truth leads to deeper understanding and ensuing change in our lives!

Sometimes the truth hurts. But it is a necessary pain if we are to grow in the likeness of Jesus.

Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to
knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.



Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it.

What a picture! Creepy isn’t it? Well, no doubt this is the effect the Teacher intends.

He’s describing a religion that appears alive. It’s not. It’s just busy.

A lot of zombie activity without any real heart. Like the Pharisee’s tradition of hand washing, which Jesus intentionally neglects!

What’s wrong with clean hands? Looks good! Kind of like green grass is nice to walk on.

But not if you know you’re treading over hidden corpses. And this is what Jesus knew. Their religious busywork didn’t fool Him.

Their hearts were dead to God.

They were also busy calculating the ten percent tithe due to God. Even on the little herbs that grew in their gardens. Sure seems very religious!

But there’s a problem in all of this. The Teacher sees something vital is missing - you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

Why did they fall into this trap? Perhaps it is because people tend to form their opinions based on what they observe. One can see activity, but only God sees into the heart.

Religious activity offers a convenient shortcut to favorable public opinion. And that was more important to them than what God knows.

Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.

Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.



As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you." He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

There is something about Jesus that Luke keeps bringing up. It is subtle, yet unmistakable. Jesus didn’t come to be a part of the in crowd. Or to create one!

Over and over, in subtle and not so subtle way, Jesus lets us know His message, His plans; His benefits are for everyone who wants in on them.

Here Jesus isn’t being disrespectful to His mother. Rather, He’s being careful to be inclusive of everyone else.

This is so unlike every other powerful person in history. Kings make plans for family succession. So do powerful men and women in the business world.

The rich and powerful may share some of their wealth and power, but the special benefits are always reserved for their family and closest friends.

There is always an in crowd. And it’s hard to get in it! Especially if you’re poor, unconnected, or unimportant in their eyes!

Not so with our Teacher. That’s a vital part of what makes Him so attractive to all of us. There really isn’t an in crowd.

Once Jesus even said – Who is my mother? Even then He was pointing out that everyone who does the will of God gets as close to Him as His own mother.

Students of this Teacher get it. They avoid setting up an in crowd in His Name. Like their Teacher, they are careful to safeguard the truth that everyone can get in on what Jesus came to provide.



But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

Jesus wants His students to know. There is more power in the Finger of God than in all the combined forces of evil in this world.

And the Teacher makes it plain. There is a battle raging on planet earth and He has come to fight it and to win it for those who follow Him.

Now He requires everyone in the world to choose sides. To join Him in the triumph over evil or be defeated along with the evil forces aligned against God! There is no middle ground.

He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.

His is a rescue mission. To come into the stronghold of evil and create a new reality! A kingdom of God on the earth!

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.

Evil is the strong man. Evil seeks to control those possessed by it. But Jesus is the Someone Stronger who attacks evil and overpowers it.

The miracles of Jesus demonstrate His power to do this. They all foreshadow His ultimate victory over evil – the resurrection from the dead.

It’s time to choose sides. Jesus suggests the Finger of God wins.



One of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray.”

Interesting, isn’t it? This student doesn’t ask Jesus to teach him to preach. Why not? Surely Jesus was a great preacher.

He doesn’t request more knowledge, better understanding of human nature, or even miraculous power. Why not? Surely Jesus demonstrated all these in spectacular fashion.

No. This man wants the Teacher to help him pray.

Revealing isn’t it? For all the wonderful things he might ask the Teacher to share, he wants to know how to pray. We suspect this man understood more about the source of Jesus’ power than most.

He said to them, "When you pray, say:" 'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.' "

Students of Jesus pay attention to the power of prayer and the discipline of persistence in prayer.

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Students learn to pray for the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. For without this Tutor we cannot progress very far in becoming more like our Teacher.

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your
children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"



Sometimes life gets in the way. Things demand our attention. Then it happens.

We get distracted. Our relationship with Jesus gets pushed to the side.

Take heart. In this story of two sisters – Mary and Martha – we observe how easily this can happen. Even in the physical presence of Jesus!

What is Mary doing? She’s sitting at the feet of Jesus. Paying close attention to the Teacher!

Martha? She’s distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.

Martha doesn’t even notice that Jesus is teaching. She even complains to Jesus - Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed”

We can almost hear Martha’s thoughts. “Only one thing! There is much work to be done before I can serve a proper meal to our guests!”

But Jesus is right. There is only one thing that is really needed. A student must always find a way to pay attention to the Teacher. Nothing more important than this!

Sometimes life gets in the way. Like Martha, we get distracted by necessary things and neglect the most valuable thing.

Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.



On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

Loving God is a big deal! According to Jesus it’s the answer to “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

It’s a life or death, heaven or hell kind of question!

Serious students of this Teacher pause to ask, “Do I love God?”

Well, I go to church. I give money for good works. I try to be a good person.

That’s good. But there is still a question - Do I love God?

Isn’t it possible to do a great many things for God, in the name of God and not really love God?

Isn’t there something in the Bible about this? Doesn’t it say we can have all knowledge, give all our goods to feed the poor and even suffer martyrdom and if we don’t have love it profits us nothing?

Do I love God?

This is a big deal! The only thing really…



I have given you authority…however, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

When the Seventy-two returned they were excited. We imagine the miraculous power Jesus invested in them was a heady experience. They were happy because even the demons submitted to them.

Victory! The adulation of the crowds! High-fives all around!

But the Teacher says they were mistaken in this. Instead, He tells them they should be happy that their names are written in heaven!

What does the Teacher want His students to understand?

Isn’t it a source of joy when we are a part of some successful work for God? Shouldn’t we feel great about winning a victory over some addiction? Or following Biblical principles and getting out of debt?

How about overcoming sin in our life? Being of help to someone else in their struggles?

Sure, this is all good. But there’s something infinitely better to be happy about. Having your name written in heaven! Being in God’s Book of Life!

Maybe the Teacher knows things won’t always work out for His students. Sometimes it will look like they are on the losing team.

You know. The church outreach seems to flop! You lose your job and can’t pay all the bills! You slip back into a bad habit!

What then?

No our joy must be deeper than the emotional high-five of a momentary victory in one of life’s many skirmishes.

We win some, we lose some. But the bigger battle is the Lord’s and He has won it for all who remain faithful to Him. So whether we win or lose today, we rejoice because our names are still written in heaven.



The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field…Yet be sure of this: ‘The kingdom of God is near.'

Businesses sometimes hang out a sign, Help Wanted. Here the Teacher indicates God’s Business needs more job applicants. He instructs His students to pray for more workers.

Earlier Jesus sent out the Twelve! Now He sends out Seventy-two more students to preach the kingdom is near.

What does He mean by near?

Is it the kingdom is near in time, soon to come in their lifetimes? Or the kingdom is near, as in accessible to everyone?

Yes! Both ideas are correct. Jesus came to bring the kingdom of God to earth and make a way for everyone to be a part of it!

The Teacher also said the harvest is plentiful. There are many who did not know about God’s kingdom. This is still true!

While millions today follow Jesus, millions more do not. The fields are still ripe for harvest. Help Wanted!

Students still bring this message to the world by their active participation in the kingdom. By the changes in their lives as they become more like the Teacher! And by telling the good news about Jesus!

And students of Jesus still pray to God for more workers!

He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.



As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."

This must have happened many times. Someone learns about Jesus and wants to follow Him. That’s good!

But Jesus wants this man to know – everyone to understand – following Him isn’t easy - Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.

Being a student of this Rabbi wasn’t the typical experience. Jesus didn’t have a house. He was an itinerant preacher. Still is!

To follow this Teacher requires a commitment. Daily decisions that put Him first! Sacrifice is required.

He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."

Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."

The Teacher isn’t saying His students can’t work, take responsibility to family seriously, or fulfill other significant obligations in life. But He is saying none of those things should be placed above the commitment to follow Him.

Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

Today Jesus still says follow me. This is what being a serious student of the Teacher is about. Jesus First!



An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest.

What is it in human nature that fuels the desire to be number one?

Security? Being Number One seems to offer the possibility of controlling events that contribute to personal welfare and comfort.

Pride? A Numero Uno mindset finds a home with the sin of self-absorption.

Competitiveness? Only First Place will satisfy this spirit.

Whatever prompts His student’s arguments about who is the greatest, becoming more like the Teacher is the way out.

Jesus then calls a child to stand near Him.

Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.

Welcoming a child. Serving children. Doesn’t seem like the way to greatness. But it is Jesus’ way.

The Teacher became the servant of all. And He still calls His students today to replace the Number One Syndrome with humility and service to others.

In God’s world, the way to number one is to become last…least!