Tag Archive for: Bible Study

“Simon, Simon, look! Satan has asserted the right to sift you all like wheat. However, I have prayed for you that your faith won’t fail. When you have returned, strengthen your brothers and sisters.” Peter responded, “Lord, I’m ready to go with you, both to prison and to death!” Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster won’t crow today before you have denied three times that you know me.” -Luke 22:31-34

This story takes place in the Upper Room on the day we call Maundy Thursday. The word “Maundy” means “mandate” or “commitment”. In Luke, this mandate was to keep the Lord’s Supper. In John, the mandate was to wash feet. The mandate is to remember to re-member.

Around the table, as part of his farewell, Jesus had a conversation with his disciples. The conversation covered the life they had together, what was about to happen, and the pressures they were going to face. As the disciples engaged in the discussion, they revealed their self-seeking quest for status, which brought about betrayal and denial.

Jesus offered an assurance of comfort, guidance, and strength as he instructed his disciples in ways to address the squabbles and temptations of their time.

Sift You Like Wheat

In this story, we get this strange reference to Satan. “Simon, Simon, look! Satan has asserted the right to sift you all like wheat…” Jesus predicts that they all will fall away. Peter objects. He says he will not fall away. Luke uses this story to place the problem of unfaithful disciples in a larger context. The community falls apart after the shattering experience of the crucifixion. Luke sees this as a test.

In the Hebrew, the word “sift” means to test. It is an image which comes from the prophet Amos, “…to sift like wheat.” In Jewish Literature, Satan is one of the angels in the council of heaven.

The word “Satan” means “adversary.” It refers to “one who is the devil’s advocate” or “one who raises an objection.” It is also used to refer to “one who calls for a test” or “brings about the opposition.” Luke uses this image as an assault by the ultimate power of evil on the emerging kingdom of God.

Job & Sifting Wheat

This image comes from The Book of Job. It is here that we get an example of this understanding of Satan. Job believed in God. He was a good and righteous man in his living.

God in the council of heaven was bragging on Job. “My servant Job is a good and righteous man.” The Adversary, Satan, raised his hand and said, “Of course he is good because you blessed him. Anyone who has what he has can afford to be good.”

God said, “He would be good for nothing, even if his life were a disaster.”

Satan replied, “I don’t think so.”

God said, “All right. You can sift him like wheat, but not to kill him.”

From this story, we see that Job went through terrible experiences. He lost all his possessions, his family, and all he held to be important. His friends questioned his faithfulness to God. But, according to the story, he stayed in there with his trust in God. In the end, even though he had been “sifted like wheat,” tested, and challenged, he remained faithful to God.

Jesus Is Praying For You

So, here in Luke, Satan has permission to sift the disciples like wheat. It is like the adversary is looking out over humanity and thinks, “If I am going to get hold of this bunch, now is the time. With the death of Jesus, they will be without a leader. I’ll get them all.”

Around the table, in a group conversation,

What does it mean to you to know that someone is praying for you?Jesus says, “Satan has permission to put you to that test. I have been praying for you so that after you turn, after you repent, I want you to be leaders and strengthen the others.” Now, of course, Simon Peter does not think he needs to repent nor does he need prayer.

Jesus says, “Really? Before the rooster crows in the morning you will have said three times that you do not know me.”

From Luke’s perspective, when Jesus is tempted in chapter 4, he resists three temptations. Luke says, “Satan departed from him until an opportune time.” From that moment in chapter 4, Satan does not appear again until this story. (Luke 22:31).

The opportunity comes in two ways. The first, “He entered into Judas.” The second, Satan has asserted the right to sift Simon Peter like wheat. Satan got Judas and he almost got Simon Peter.

The contest is over Simon Peter’s loyalty. One side is Satan with deceitfulness. On the other side is Jesus with the weapon of prayer. “I am praying for you.”

Simon Peter doesn’t think he needs Jesus’ prayer. “I’m ready! If it’s prison, Yes. If it is death, Yes.”

Jesus said, “Simon, you are not ready.”

What Happens?

Now, we know what happened. Simon Peter stumbled.

When asked at the trial “Do you know Jesus?” He answered “No.” “Aren’t you one of his followers?” He answered, “No.” “You sound like one of those Galileans.” And with an oath, he answered, “I never knew the man.”

Jesus said, “…I have prayed for you that your faith won’t fail. When you have returned, strengthen your brothers and sisters.”

Jesus prays for Peter, but Peter must do the turning. Here is the difference between Judas and Peter. Salvation is not only personal but for the whole Christian community. Jesus’ prayer was answered, Peter did “turn back” and did become the leading figure in regathering the disciples after Easter to continue Jesus’ mission.

Simon Peter repented. He came back. Simon Peter became a leader. He strengthened others. St. Peter is connected to just about everything Christian. Not because he did not fail, but because he turned, he repented. Jesus’ prayer was answered.

You Have to Wonder

There is nothing like knowing someone is praying for you. As you seek to follow Jesus, know there are others praying for you too.

I wonder if Judas had repented could he have expected the same thing? Judas became the judge and jury over his own life. He did not give himself or the community the opportunity to turn back to Jesus.

What does prayer have to do with it? As Jesus prayed for those who crucified him, so he prays for his followers.

Paul says the Holy Spirit prays for us. John says Jesus prays for us. There nothing greater in all the world than to know that every hour of every day someone is praying for you and for me.

It is true. No matter what your situation or circumstance. No matter what the test or challenge. The time has come to turn and strengthen others. Jesus is praying for you!

Here is a plan to read, reflect, and respond to the Parable of the Lost Son found in Luke 15:11-32.

Missed Part 1? No Problem!

Return to Part 1: Luke 15:11-23

 

 

Day 1     
Focus on Luke 15:24-32.  The entire parable begins at verse 11. If you missed part 1, start here.

This Reflection on Reality challenges our assumption of being good and earning our salvation. It offers us an alternative understanding of what it means to be a Christ-follower.

prodigal son transforming mission

Day 2

  • Read Luke 15:25-27
  • Reflect and respond: How do you react when you feel like you are not important to the people around you?

 

Day 3

  • Read Luke 15:28-30
  • Reflect and respond: When have you been angry because someone gets something (especially if you have determined they don’t deserve it) that you feel like you have earned or deserve?

 

Day 4

  • Read Luke 15:31
  • Reflect and respond: Can you think of a time you were the center of your own goodness? You never strayed from what you were supposed to do, you never broke the rules, and you deserved to get a little more or better than those around you?

 

Day 5

  • Read Luke 15:32
  • Reflect and respond: Who is included in God’s grace? Is there anyone not included?

 

Day 6

  • Read Luke 15:25-32
  • Reflect and respond: After reading the story of the older son again, how do you respond to God’s compassion?

 

Day 7

  • Read Luke 15:11-32
  • Reflect and respond: Both sons are welcomed home; one who went off to the “far country” and the other who has always been with his father. As the older son, would you go to the party for your younger brother?

 

What Parable is Next?

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14

This week we’ll be reading, reflecting, and responding to the Parable of the Lost Son found in Luke 15:11-31. Part 1 focuses on Luke 15:11-24.

Day 1         
The parable of the Lost Son – Luke 15:11-31 – Part One. Focus on Luke 15:11-24.

This Reflection on Reality challenges our assumption of who is good and who is bad, who is in and who is out, in relationship to God’s acceptance and offers an invitation to all people. It also challenges our understanding of what it means to be and do good and offers an alternative understanding of what it means to be good and on the inside.

 

Day 2

  • Read Luke 15:11-12
  • Reflect and respond: Have you ever demanded something that you decided was yours? Have you ever wished ill upon someone so you could get what you wanted?

 

Day 3

  • Read Luke 15:13-16.
  • Reflect and respond: Think of the far country in this way: a time/place when you were disillusioned with who you had become. Is there a time where you were disappointed with the world and said, “Is this all there is?”

 

Day 4

  • Read Luke 15:17-19
  • Reflect and respond: Today’s passage leads to change. The transformation he experiences moves him from “give me my inheritance” to “make me like one of your hired servants”. Repentance and returning are movements that bring us closer to Jesus and one another. To what or whom do you need to return?

 

Day 5

  • Read Luke 15:20
  • Reflect and respond: When have you experienced God’s compassion and/or forgiveness?

 

Day 6

  • Read Luke 15:21
  • Reflect and respond: How do you respond to God’s compassion?

 

Day 7

  • Read Luke 15:22-24
  • Reflect and respond: How do you feel when you know you are important to the people around you? What does it feel like to be celebrated?

Take Note:

Our conversations are moving from our Facebook Page to a Facebook Group for discussion. Click here to join. We’ll approve you within 24 hours.

If you’re new to Facebook Groups, this is a closed group. What does that mean? Anyone can see the group and who is in the group. Only Members of Closed Groups can see the conversation.

Not on Facebook? No problem! Use the comment section below.

 

What Parable is Next?

We haven’t finished the Parable of the Lost Son. Continue to Part 2 as we focus on Luke 15:25-32

This week we’ll be reading, reflecting, and responding to the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin found in Luke 15:1-10

 

April 22

These Reflections on Reality reveal the extravagance of God’s amazing grace. Jesus not only does not reject sinners; he does more than merely tolerate or condescendingly accept them. They are guests at his table.

 

April 23       

  • Read 15:1-2
  • Reflect and Respond: With whom do you identify? Tax collectors and sinners? Pharisees and scribes?

 

April 24          

  • Read Luke 15:3-6
  • Reflect and respond: When have you risked your reputation and security to care for someone who cost you both time and money?

 

April 25  

  • Read Luke 15:7
  • Reflect and Respond: When have you celebrated when someone has experienced God’s amazing and extravagant grace? Have you ever been offended by God’s amazing and extravagant grace?

 

April 26 

  • Read: Luke 15:8
  • Reflect and respond: How much time and effort do you put into caring for people who are considered outsiders

 

April 27   

  • Read: Luke 15:9
  • Reflect and respond: What are you rejoicing about today?

 

April 28     

  • Read: Luke 15:10
  • Reflect and respond: Can you imagine the joy over one person whose life is transformed by the grace of God?

Take Note:

Our conversations are moving from our Facebook Page to a Facebook Group for discussion. Click here to join. We’ll approve you within 24 hours.

If you’re new to Facebook Groups, this is a closed group. What does that mean? Anyone can see the group and who is in the group. Only Members of Closed Groups can see the conversation.

Not on Facebook? No problem! Use the comment section below.

 

What Parable is Next?

Week of…

April 29: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-31 – Part One (Focus upon 15:11-24)

May 6: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-32 – Part Two (Focus upon 15:25-32)

May 13: Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14

This week we’ll be reading, reflecting, and responding to the Parable of the Great Banquet found in Luke 14:15-24.

 

April 15

Introduction of Luke 14:15-24

This Reflection on Reality challenges our understanding of entitlement and inclusion. It offers a picture of including the poor and marginalized as well as including the Gentiles.

To accept the invitation beforehand and then to refuse it when the day came was a serious insult. We are all occupied with legitimate concerns, but to give those concerns priority over God and God’s way of living is called into question.

 

April 16

  • Read: Luke 14:15-16.
  • Reflect and respond: What would it be like to be invited to God’s party?

 

April 17

  • Read: Luke 14:17
  • Reflect and respond: What an experience of grace! How do you respond to the following scenario? You’re an invited guest and you’re not expected to offer anything.

 

April 18

  • Read Luke 14:18-20
  • Reflect and respond: What excuses have you made for not participating in God’s way of living?

 

April 19

  • Read: Luke 14:21
  • Reflect and respond: Who do you think will be invited to God’s party?

 

April 20

  • Read: Luke 14:22-23
  • Reflect and respond: Who would be at your table if the invitation was open to all?

 

April 21

  • Read Luke 14:24
  • Reflect and respond: How have you answered the invitation?

Take Note:

Our conversations are moving from our Facebook Page to a Facebook Group for discussion. Click here to join. We’ll approve you within 24 hours.

If you’re new to Facebook Groups, this is a closed group. What does that mean? Anyone can see the group and who is in the group. Only Members of Closed Groups can see the conversation.

Not on Facebook? No problem! Use the comment section below.

 

What Parable is Next?

Week of…

April 22: Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin – 15:1-10

April 29: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-31 – Part One (Focus upon 15:11-24)

May 6: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-32 – Part Two (Focus upon 15:25-32)

May 13: Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14

This week we’ll be reading, reflecting, and responding to the Parable of the Rich Fool. Read Luke 12:13-21

April 8 – Luke 12:13-21 – Introduction

This Reflection on Reality challenges our assumptions that life consists in what we have or what we own. It offers a way of living as a Christian disciple in relationship to affluence and responsibility. The way of God is the way of living responsibly with things. Your identity is not in how much you have. You are a fool to be consumed by your possession. Your identity is in the God who has provided what you have. Wealth or lack of wealth is not the issue. Your identity in God is the issue. You might be “rich” in wealth but not rich toward God and God’s work.

 

April 9     

  • Read Luke 12:13
  • Reflect & Respond:
    • Assumption – Life consists in how much I have i.e., our possessions.
    • How did you live responsibly with what you own today?

Be reminded: Today, attempt to give more than you take. Then, let us know how you do.

 

April 10    

 

April 11   

  • Read Luke 12:15
  • Reflect & Respond: 1) Where did you witness greed today? 2) Do you consider yourself a person who has a little, enough, or a lot?

Be reminded, life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.

 

April 12     

  • Read Luke 12:16-19
  • Reflect and Respond:
    • How much is enough?
    • What do you do when you have more than enough?

April 13

  • Read Luke 12:20
  • Reflect and respond:
    • True or False?: I tend to think of others more than myself.
    • What did you experience today that reminded you that your identity comes from Christ, not from your possessions?

Be reminded, affluence brings responsibility.

 

April 14  

  • Read Luke 12:21
  • Reflect and respond: Is your barn filled with self or filled with God? Be reminded: God has already been generous to you. What does “being rich toward God” look like?

 

Take Note:

Our conversations are moving from our Facebook Page to a Facebook Group for discussion. Click here to join. We’ll approve you within 24 hours.

If you’re new to Facebook Groups, this is a closed group. What does that mean? Anyone can see the group and who is in the group. Only Members of Closed Groups can see the conversation.

Not on Facebook? No problem! Use the comment section below.

 

What Parable is Next?

Week of…

April 15: Parable of the Great Banquet – 14:15-24

April 22: Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin – 15:1-10

April 29: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-31 – Part One (Focus upon 15:11-24)

May 6: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-32 – Part Two (Focus upon 15:25-32)

May 13: Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14

Luke 10:25-37

This week we’ll be reading, reflecting, and responding to the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Read Luke 10:25-37.

 

Sunday, April 1. Happy Easter!

Read: Luke 10:25-37

Introduction: This parable challenges our understanding of mercy and compassion. It offers a way of living as a Christian disciple in relation to people in need. The way of God is the way of compassion and active help for those in need, even at personal risk, even against cultural expectations of what is proper.

There are no questions to respond to on Sundays.

Throughout the week, we will focus on the following reflections of reality…

 

Monday, April 2

Read: Luke 10:25

Reflect & Respond: What must you do to inherit eternal life?

 

Tuesday, April 3

Read: Luke 10:26-28

Reflect & Respond: Where did you love God and your neighbor today?

 

Wednesday, April 4

Read: Luke 10:29

Reflect & Respond: How do you answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?”

 

Thursday, April 5

Read: Luke 10:30-32

Reflect & Respond: Do you do more often do what is right or follow the rules? Why?

 

Friday, April 6

Read: Luke 10:33-35

Reflect & Respond: How will you be a blessing through an act of mercy today?

 

Saturday, April 7

Read: Luke 10:36-37

Reflect & Respond: Where will you “go and do likewise”?

Take Note:

Our conversations are moving from our Facebook Page to a Facebook Group for discussion. Click here to join. We’ll approve you within 24 hours.

If you’re new to Facebook Groups, this is a closed group. What does that mean? Anyone can see the group and who is in the group. Only Members of Closed Groups can see the conversation.

Not on Facebook? No problem! Use the comment section below.

 

What Parable is Next?

Week of…

April 8: Parable of the Rich Fool – 12:13-21

April 15: Parable of the Great Banquet – 14:15-24

April 22: Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin – 15:1-10

April 29: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-31 – Part One (Focus upon 15:11-24)

May 6: Parable of the Lost Son – 15:11-32 – Part Two (Focus upon 15:25-32)

May 13: Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14

I grew up listening to the Cincinnati Reds on the radio. I remember placing my transistor radio under my pillow and listening to Waite Hoyt call the play by play. Over the years I have listened to Al Michaels, Joe Nuxhall, Marty Brennaman, and “The Cowboy,” Jeff Brantley. Today, I still wait to hear Marty say, “This one belongs to the Reds.”

In recent years, I have had the opportunity to attend several Reds’ Caravans. I have met some of my favorite players, talked with new prospects, gotten autographs, and listened to the hopes and expectations of those in the front office.

Read more

In every generation there are those who say, “We have never been this way before.”   But at no time in recent history have we faced the enormity of change we are facing today.  When the ground starts moving under our feet, and when we feel we do not have a firm foundation upon which to […]

Read Part 1 God Sent Jesus to Teach Us How to Live the Holy Life Holiness is a major part of Matthew’s gospel.  Matthew calls it “righteousness” or “holiness.”  The word “holiness” comes from a Greek word which means “set apart” or “different.”  For Matthew, being a Christ follower means that you and I are “set […]