Luke 22: The Power of Example

On the very night Jesus was arrested, his followers held an argument regarding which of them was the best. In Luke 22, we read:

24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Notice how Jesus answered their popularity contest. He pointed out that society’s leaders live consumed with power. In contrast, those who follow Jesus, “Are not to be like that.” Spiritual leaders serve. Why? Because that’ what Jesus did.

That same night, Jesus would wash the feet of his closest friends, then later be beaten by his enemies. Yet rather than focus on his authority as the Messiah, he offered himself as the suffering servant (Isaiah 53), willing to take our place rather than take his rightful place.

Still today, Jesus calls us to transcend the competition of seeking authority and popularity. Instead, we are called to serve. This is the true power of example.

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Dillon Burroughs is the author or co-author of numerous books and is handwriting a copy of the New Testament in 2011 at HolyWritProject.com. Find out more about Dillon at Facebook.com/readdB or readdB.com.

Luke 8: Jesus Controls the Storm

After watching numerous videos of Japan’s earthquake and the ensuing tsunami, my heart breaks for those whose lives have been lost and the loved ones they leave behind. Like many, I wonder, “Where is God?”

The disciples once had a similar experience on a much smaller scale. In Luke 8, Jesus and his twelve disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee by boat. While Jesus slept, a storm came upon the vessel and threatened to overturn it. In a culture where many of these men may not have been strong swimmers and no Coast Guard would come to the rescue, they broke into a panic. Jesus, however, remained asleep (Yes, Jesus, in his humanity, must have been a sound sleeper.).

The Twelve woke him, shouting, “Don’t you care we are going to drown?” They feared for their lives.

Jesus, the maker of life, simply stood up and told the storm to stop. It did.

He then commented on their lack of faith.

If it had been you or I in the boat, we would have done the same thing as the disciples. We would turn to fear, cry out to God, and wonder why such tragedy is taking place.

Why? Because that’s what we do still today. Whether a flat tire or a natural disaster, we find our selves defaulting to fear in times of trouble.

But we forget that at the end of this episode in Luke 8, his followers were amazed at Christ’s power over the storm. Then they end the account with questions.

For me, this is one of many places that reveals even when Jesus does show up, we are still left with questions. Whether an earthquake or a sunny day, we will always have questions about how God operates.

Because he’s God and we’re not.

So our options are to live in fear or in faith. In truth, we live in both, sometimes bouncing from one to the other moment by moment. Scripture gives us courage to walk in faith despite the frailty of our humanity. We don’t escape our doubts, but we do have confidence we are not alone. Jesus controls the storm.

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Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.

Luke 5: Jesus Loves Sinners (Including Me!)

Luke 5 shares a fascinating story that reveals Christ’s attitude toward sinners. It also reveals the attitude the religious leaders held toward him. The text, in part, reads:

27 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, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

First, Jesus called a sinner to follow him. I think we would all agree we’re not perfect, but Matthew was a local “bad guy” since he not only worked to collect taxes, but did so for a foreign government.

Plus, he must have had some shady friends.

When Jesus came to Matthew’s house for dinner, the local religious leaders didn’t question the menu; they questioned motives. They simply couldn’t believe a person who loved God would share a meal with people who didn’t.

Christ’s response is filled with irony. He responded that he had come to call sinners to repentance. The irony is that he was explaining this to religious leaders he would later address as being some of those sinners.

So Christ didn’t sin, but he invested time in the lives of those rejected by the religious leaders of his culture. It would be easy to just say, “Apply accordingly.” However, a point worth noting remains.

First, we would do well to figure out which character in this story most resembles us. Are we Matthew? His friends? The religious leaders? The disciples? (There’s only one Jesus; we can’t be him.)

Each character has a different issue to address. For Matthew, it was to live out Christ’s call to new life.

For Matthew’s guests, it was to repent and follow the Master.

For the religious leaders, it was to see their own hypocrisy and Christ’s unconditional love.

For the disciples, it was a teachable moment, one in which they would experience how Jesus lived in a world filled with darkness while shining light.

Except for Jesus, all of the characters were sinners; and so are we. The good news from Luke is that Jesus loves us all, calls us to a changed life, and has given a new and infinitely better way to live.

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Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.


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