51When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; 53but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55But he turned and rebuked them. 56Then they went on to another village.
57As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said? (Observation)
- Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
- What does it mean? (Understanding)
- What does it mean for us? (Application)
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Reflection: Excuses, excuses. Everyone had an excuse for Jesus as to why they could not follow him. And why not? Jesus himself stated that it was no easy road on which he traveled. Besides telling his disciples that he would be going to Jerusalem to suffer and die, Jesus also promised that the way he followed offered no comfy nest or hidden away foxhole in which to find rest. His promises were such that home meant living in him and gaining a kingdom meant falling in line behind his sorrowful steps. Over and over people proved that human nature will take a comfy, cozy little nest in a world of godlessness and spiritual apathy over a room prepared for them in their Father’s house, especially if the latter includes the threat of sacrifice and the abandonment of our personal kingdoms. Look at the nest above. Is God calling you to its comfort? Or can you hear the call of Jesus today, “Leave behind your kingdom and follow me”?
- Tuesday, June 21 – Philippians 2
- Wednesday, June 22 – Philippians 3
- Thursday, June 23 – Philippians 4
- Friday, June 24 – Luke 1
- Saturday, June 25 – Luke 2
- Sunday, June 26 – Luke 3
- Monday, June 27 – Luke 4
Prayer Focus: Attempt this week to pray in silence. How can you pray in silence, you may ask? Pray by listening! Prayer is a relationship of call and response between us and God. However, if we only do the calling and responding, and never listen for God’s call to us initiating spiritual intimacy and God’s response to us in answering prayer, then we will never experience the fullness of prayer. Also, pay attention to these words from Paul: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27). Allow God to search your spirit in prayer. Allow the Spirit to “sigh” your prayers within you. Be still and silent and know the power of listening prayer.
Meditation Focus: We all have our own agendas. Though we would like to believe our motives are pure in all that we do, we often deceive ourselves and do things for the wrong reasons. Or perhaps we avoid doing good things because our agendas become too full with things that are unimportant and trivial. Or sometimes we might even try to convince God that what we are dealing with is too great of an obstructing in the path of faithfully following him. Think upon your motives for worshiping God and following Jesus Christ. Ask God to clear your mind of self-deception so that you might discern your true motives. Ask God to purify your motives, so that you might worship and serve through a pure heart. Take some time to consider the motives of Jesus in his faithful act of following the will of his Father. What will it take to line up your motives with the motives of Christ?
Journaling Focus: When did you first decide that following Jesus Christ was the pathway of life for you? As we continue to explore the theme of testifying (as we focused upon last week), take some time to write about why you follow Jesus. What demands has Jesus made on your life? When have you wanted to not follow him? How is Jesus calling you to follow him into new places and in more faithful ways? I often say that repentance happens in degrees; the 180 degree turn that is demanded of us in following Christ often happens not in one swift turn, but in 180 little one degree turns over a lifetime. Perhaps for some of us it is more like 1800 little one-tenth degree turns! What turns must you still make to follow obediently? How is Jesus calling you to plow forward in faithfulness? Don’t look back – you are heading toward the kingdom!
Breath Prayer: Father, give me (us) the strength and courage to follow you.