Easter Sunday – Rev Andrew Fitzgerald – Luke 24:13-35

“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him”

(Luke 24:30-31)

Our Lenten journey came to a climax as we read the story of two Jesus followers in Luke’s Gospel. They were walking on the road to Emmaus discussing all that had taken place with Jesus of Nazareth. There are at least three things to note from this story. The first is that the followers of Jesus were downcast. To be downcast is to physically look downwards. To feel sad, disappointed or discouraged. We’ve all felt these emotions but the followers were downcast due to their hopeful Redeemer having been crucified and His body disappeared. The second is that Jesus drew near to them. Despite their disappointment, Jesus drew near to them and chatted to them. This example tells us that it’s ok to talk to God about our sadness. That He cares for us and walks with us, that He wants to discuss what’s on our heart. And then third, without recognizing Him, the followers invited Jesus to share a meal in the village. This prompted His very familiar breaking of bread and the final revelation of resurrected identity. The truth is that we can all get a little bit downcast. We get sad and discouraged about things, even with people. Perhaps we get disappointed with Jesus and fail to believe He is the risen Saviour. But remember, God is near and cares for us. He wants to walk and talk with us in our disappointment. When we invite Him into our homes and hearts, He will reveal Himself to us.

Lent with Luke – Rev Andrew Fitzgerald – Luke 13:10-17

“When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” (Luke 13:12-13)

During Lent I have found the writing of John Pritchard in his devotional ‘The Journey’ very helpful. John reflects on the chronology of Luke’s Gospel through the eyes of the disciple John, ending each daily devotion with challenging questions to stimulate thought and application of God’s Word. Concerning this passage, John Pritchard asks, “I wonder what restricts our churches from being the places of freedom and hope that we’re meant to be?” For the synagogue leader, and others Jesus calls the “hypocrites” in verse 15, it was religiosity – observing the Sabbath so devoutly that healing was restricted to only six days for work (verse 14). Jesus (quite rightly) illuminated the hypocrisy, with this woman, crippled for 18 years whilst ox and donkey were cared for on the Sabbath. The freedom of God, as Jesus exampled, is accessible to all those who want and need it, any time. We must avoid this religiosity that hinders and see those whom Jesus wants to set free.

Lent with Luke – Ken Martin – Luke 9-12

In answer to the question “Who do you say I am?” Peter replied “You are the Christ of God”, and soon afterwards Jesus and his disciples set out for Jerusalem.  Along the way there were six examples of how not to follow Jesus:

1. Wanting to be the greatest – The disciples argued about this, and Jesus showed them a small child and said, “He who is least among you all—he is great.” (9:48)

2. The “not-one-of-us” syndrome – Jesus had to explain to his disciples that “whoever is not against you is for you.” (9:50)

3. Calling down fire on the unfriendly – James and John wanted fire from heaven to destroy an unwelcoming Samaritan village, but Jesus rebuked them. (9:51-56)

4. Not counting the cost – A man offered to follow Jesus, but Jesus warned him he would, as a result, be a homeless wanderer.  Had he really counted the cost? (9:57-58)

5. Putting it off until later – Jesus called a second man to follow him, but he said he wanted to go and bury his father first. Was this just a way of putting the decision off?  (9:59-60)

6. Any excuse will do – A third man wanted to say good-bye to his family before following Jesus.  But maybe this was just an excuse for evading the issue. (9:61-62)

Jesus had earlier told his disciples the right way to follow: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (9:23)

Lent with Luke – Steve Allott – Luke 5-8

““Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you’, or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he said to the man who was paralysed – “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God.”

(Luke 5:22b-25)

In Luke chapters 5 to 8 we see Jesus at the height of His powers: strong, without fault, and compassionate: yet this is the one they crucified. In these chapters we see also see the gathering religious storm that killed Him. We also thought about what might be called a rhythm of both the Bible and the season of Lent: being humbled before being lifted up. Jesus was brought very low indeed before He was lifted up: to death, and you can’t get lower than that. But Jesus rose on high; and He’s alive and present by the Holy Spirit. He is God through whom all things were made, and to prove it, He raised the paralysed man and a Roman centurion intuitively called him “Lord”. So should we, and receive Him as Lord.

Lent with Luke – Rev Dave Stedman – Luke 3-4

“The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’””

(Luke 4:3-4)

After His baptism, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where He was tested by the devil. The enemy urged Jesus to feed His appetites with inappropriate things, exercise worldly power to avoid the way of the cross and to parade Himself in a proud display, but Jesus remains resolute. These temptations are “common to man” (1 Cor. 10:13) and, in overcoming, Jesus becomes our example in our struggles with temptation. The Good News is that when we fail and fall, He is faithful and just to forgive.