Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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June 23, 2019 - Luke 10: 33-34

Luke 10: 33-34  He went to him and bandaged is wounds,… put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn and took care of him.

Is this a story about being compassionate or is there a deeper meaning here?  Do we need to look between the verses to see if there is anything else?  Let’s take a leap here and let us think for one moment that the wounded man, near death, is Jesus, the Messiah.  What sets the Samaritan apart from every one else is that he embraces the wounded, dying man.  Jesus is our neighbor.   He is the wounded, dying Messiah and if we would tend to his wounds and take care of him, then we would experience the saving grace of God.  The Jews in Jesus time were looking for a David;  tall, handsome, suave, and a great military champion.  When they say him beaten and dying on the cross they passed by on the other side.  But to those who embraced the wounded dying Messiah, they would experience God’s saving grace.  And on that last day, those who took the wounded Messiah to themselves, would hear the King say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

June 16, 2019 - Luke 10: 36

Luke 10: 36  Which of these three, was a neighbor…

Ok my friend you have heard the story.  I ask you to weigh the evidence and the merits of the story and use your wisdom and knowledge to determine who is neighbor.  “The one who showed mercy,” came the reply.  Jesus replied, “Go and do likewise.”  Don’t just talk about your faith.  Don’t think that going to church and dropping a Hamilton in the collection plate is going to do it.  No, put it to work.  Put it into action.  Show your faith to the world.  Jesus is saying if it’s a choice of being strictly adherent to some teaching or showing loving compassion, always come down on the side of loving compassion.  “Talking the talk” is no where near as important as “walking the walk.”  Amen. 

June 9, 2019 - Luke 10: 33

Luke 10: 33 “But a Samaritan…was moved with pity.”

Samaritans were half-castes.   Half Jewish and half gentile.  Samaritans were despised by both races.  So, it is the most despised man, a man who is not driven by Law or self-importance who shows mercy and compassion.   He is not concerned that the wounded man might be a Jew, not concerned that robbers might still be around.  He sees a need and he fills it immediately.  He binds the man’s wounds and puts him on his donkey.  Here is faith, not just in word, but in action.  He sees a fellow human being in need and he fills the need.  He embraces the wounded man and risks it all on this man.  May we reach out to those in need.  Amen.

June 2, 2019 - Luke 10: 30 - 32

Luke 10: 30 - 32  “…leaving him half dead…a priest and a levite passed by on the other side.”

The road from Jerusalem was a hazardous way to travel in Jesus’ time.  It was illed with robbers, so the story that Jesus tells is right off the front pages.  Here is a man in desperate need of help.  Along came a priest and a levite, leaders in the Jewish faith.  One would expect them to show compassion, but they don’t.  According to the Law, if you touch a dead body you can’t lead worship.  Adherence to the law, wanting to lead worship so the folks could see them, their own arrogance made them overlook a man in need.  There are times when our self-invoked importance must give way to compassion for others.  The Son of God tells us that we dare not overlook the needs of others.  Our faith is not a “show piece.”  It means a compassionate, practical service.  Amen.

May 26, 2019 - Luke 10: 29 - 30

Luke 10: 29 - 30 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”   Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho…”

We western thinking people are “bottom line,” thinkers.  Don’t bore be with the details just cut to the bottom line.  Eastern thinkers, on the other hand are all about the “way” you get to the bottom line.  Tell me an answer and I will forget it shortly.  Teach me the way to find the answer and I will remember it forever.  Jesus is not a western thinker, he is eastern all the way.  “Who is my neighbor?”  Jesus could have said, “Every one.”  And in a short time the man asking the question would have forgotten the answer.  Jesus tells a story and lets the man figure out who is neighbor is.  That way he will never forget.  Jesus tells us parables so that we figure out who and what God and his Kingdom are like.  Amen.

May 19, 2019 - Luke 9: 48

Luke 9: 48 …Whoever welcomes this child in my name, welcomes me.

 In Jesus time, children were seen as property. Owned by their parents and they could be disposed of by their parents without any legal recourse. Here Jesus uplifts children and says they are as valuable as any adult. Statistics tell us that 88% of those who believe in Jesus Christ came to faith between the ages of 1 to 19. I have never met a child, who once having heard about Jesus, doesn’t love Jesus. The brilliant theologian Karl Barth was asked, in the last interview he gave before his death, what one message would you want to share with the world. Barth replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” It is a great hymn and a great testament of faith. Bring up your children in the faith and as the writer of proverbs said, “If you bring a child up in faith when he is an adult he will seldom depart from it.” The greatest inheritance you can give your children is faith in Jesus Christ.   Amen

May 12, 2019 - Luke 9: 30

Luke 9: 30 Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah talking to him.

The transfiguration is one of those pivatol events in the Gospels. This event takes place shortly before Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem and his appointment with the cross. Jesus never made a move without the guidance of the Father. He always sought the guidance of the Father and here Jesus comes to the Father asking if it is time  to go. Suddenly both Moses (the representative of the Law) and Elijah (the representative of the Prophets) appear to give guidance to Jesus. In the moment that Jesus is advised that it is time to go to die, in that moment when Moses and Elijah affirm what Jesus was going to do, Jesus is glorified. If you remember back in time Moses said he wanted to see God. God replied, “If you see me in all my glory you will drop over dead.” Here Jesus is glorified, affirmation from the Law and the Prophets that Jesus death was the right thing to save all humanity from sin and death. Hopefully this picture of the glorified Christ would get the disciples through those three days in the tomb. When we hit tough sledding, remember the Transfiguration for it is a promise that Christ will return in glory.     Amen.