Luke 2:1-20

Read Luke 2:1-20

Luke is one of the books of the Bible I’ve already walked through with you, but for today’s reading, I am bringing it back. This is a story you can never hear too many times. When God became one of us. He loved us that much.

So much focus is placed on the “holidays” these days. I think many have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. I’m as guilty as the next, wanting to make sure everyone’s gift is just perfect, that tree is decorated with all my favorite ornaments, etc. But amidst the craziness, there is a baby.  We remember this birth more than any other birth in history. As we should. This is the birth of a king. Our King, and he’s the Savior of the world. Continue reading “Luke 2:1-20”

Luke 24:50-53 – See Ya Later!

Read Luke 24:50-53

Jesus’ time to return to the Father has come. In these few short verses we see him taken up to heaven. I suppose this is why we always think that heaven is in the sky. As a kid, I remember thinking the astronauts heading into space must be seeing heaven up there. Another cool moment is when you look outside your airplane window only to see blue sky as far as you can see and white cottony clouds below. We’ve all seen pictures of angels floating around on clouds. Is that heaven?

None of us know for sure what heaven is really like. We do know that God is there. There have been countless books written, and a simple google search can give you reading material for days. I like to look to the Bible. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” I will look forward to the day when I see Jesus face to face in the place he has prepared for me. Continue reading “Luke 24:50-53 – See Ya Later!”

Luke 24:35-49 – A Ghost?

Read Luke 24:35-49

Jesus’ followers needed to wrap their heads around what they were seeing. Jesus had told them he would rise after three days. They heard the words, but comprehending what it meant was a different story.

We hear Jesus speak of ghosts here, or spirits in the original Greek. People of that day were familiar with ghosts apparently, so that is how they tried to explain or understand what was happening. Jesus was quick to correct them – he was not a ghost. If there was any doubt, he ate some food. Ghosts surely don’t eat food!

Jesus was in their midst. They must be wondering how long he would stay. They didn’t realize how much they missed him, and maybe they felt a little bad for “taking him for granted,” delighted to have more time with him. Their thoughts were probably a mixture of joy, fright, and concern over how they would explain this to the rest of the community. People just don’t come back to life and walk around like nothing happened. But Jesus wasn’t intending to stay for long. He wouldn’t be seen by everyone either. Continue reading “Luke 24:35-49 – A Ghost?”

Luke 24:13-34 – Walk to Emmaus

Read Luke 24:13-34

You may have heard about people taking a “Walk to Emmaus.” Do you know what that means for people today? There are many different spiritual disciplines people can get involved with to jump start and enrich their spiritual connection with God. As I understand it, the idea is to shut out the world for some intense encounters with God.

Encountering God. Is that a new activity for you? Each time we enter into worship, open our Bible, or bow our heads in prayer, we encounter God. But on what level? I suppose that depends on the person, the time available, their experience with such activities, etc. I firmly believe God created us solely to be in relationship with him.  Continue reading “Luke 24:13-34 – Walk to Emmaus”

Luke 24:1-12 – Exactly As He Said

Read Luke 24:1-12

Of course, it is exactly as Jesus had told them — it took seeing to believe. Why? Because it was just that hard to believe. Who dies and then comes back to life three days later? It doesn’t happen now, and it surely didn’t happen then. But God is like that – he can do the unbelievable, and he does, still today. I’ve got a cool example of this. . . keep reading.

Many of you know I’ve been writing this devotional blog for a while now. It was one of the things I dreamed of in retirement. I wanted to devote more time to God, being in his word, and reflecting on his messages for me. He inspired me to share these reflections and use my gift of writing to get his message out to the world. Several months ago, I began to walk through the book of Luke.

I don’t know what prompted me to choose Luke, but for some reason I did, deciding that Acts would follow. I didn’t count the days or the number of passages. When I got to the Palm Sunday text, it was no where near Palm Sunday. But, when Holy Week started I looked at the number of readings I had left, only to realize that the Easter text would fall on Easter. (I always write a day ahead for my readers.)

I got goosebumps when I realized it had worked out so beautifully. I couldn’t have planned it better myself. Now I realize this little miracle is simply that, little. What God did in the resurrection was the miracle of all miracles. As such, it is critical we don’t let the story end, buried in the tomb.

In yesterday’s reading, we heard how the women busied themselves to prepare the herbs and spices for the burial ritual. I imagined them deep in their sadness and feeling forlorn. We have all lost people who are dear to us. Jesus was that and more.

As they walk to the tomb this particular morning, I don’t imagine they spoke much, and their steps were heavy. Can you remember a time when you were mourning the loss of a dear friend, a loved one? There is a sense of being a bit lost and unsure. It’s hard to picture the world without them in it. Imagine the surprise when the saw the tomb empty!

How would you have reacted had you been with the women that morning? Would you have been surprised? Angry? Scared? It didn’t take the two men, presumably messengers from God, long to appear to bring good news to the women.  Yet, they were terrified. Of course they were, they didn’t expect to see men in dazzling clothes, only their Lord in need of their anointing. But the message the men spoke would change their lives forever! Jesus’ own words came rushing back to them in that instant, and they couldn’t keep it to themselves.

Oh–to have that kind of excitement about the word of God! Their faith was so alive at that moment. An empty tomb only meant Jesus was not there, but they knew it meant he had risen as he had said. If it were only so simple for us. Are we as eager to run and tell all our friends about Jesus?

Does this miracle of all miracles touch you to your core so that you cannot keep silent? What is holding you back?

Are we like the disciples? They thought it was complete nonsense, thinking these women had simply lost their minds. But, Peter had to see for himself. Peter knew in his heart that his Lord, his friend, the Son of Man was destined for so much more than death. But he had to see for himself. Do we need to see? Are we waiting for something?

The time for sadness and hopelessness is past. Jesus is alive! He conquered the grave for you and for me! He bore our sins once and for all. He did exactly what he said, and we can rely on his promises. There can be no greater joy than when we realize that God, creator of the universe, came into the world because he loved us too much to let us stay broken. Our sins were separating us from him, and he could no longer let that happen. We were created to be in relationship with our Heavenly Father.

I heard this week that Jesus is the only man who ever built a bridge to heaven with two pieces of wood. Think about it. That bridge is really Jesus, and he is why (and how) we can have full access to our Father God.

For those of you who may be interested, last year I wrote a special Easter post. You can find it HERE.

May you have a BLESSED Easter! Keep that Easter faith alive!

Let’s pray. Father God, your victory is won! Jesus arose as he told us all he would. Hallelujah! Our God reigns! Thank you for what you endured for me. Your glorious resurrection is the miracle of all miracles! Thank you for the joy and peace surrounding me as I reflect on what you have done. You have accomplished all that you set out to do. Now it is up to us to continue your work. Lord, my heart cries out for this broken world. Use me to stand for you and share your truth. I thank you for the privilege to live for you, to share about you, and to one day live in your holy presence. For now, continue to lead me in your will and way for my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.