September 13, 2023
Dear Praying Friends,
As we continue in our sketch of each Bible book, we come now to the gospel of Luke, who was the only known Gentile writer in the New Testament. He presents Jesus as a perfect human and capable Savior.
It may be easy for us to forget that Jesus was a real human, that He was a baby boy, a teenager, and an adult. We think of Him as unique, and He is, but never forget that He is like us. While there is plenty of evidence of Christ’s deity, His humanity is emphasized by Luke. By entering our world, by stepping out of heaven and into time and space, He willingly shared in our human weaknesses.
Luke opens his gospel by telling us the story of Jesus’ birth. It wasn’t easy. Hurtful rumors surrounded them. The journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem during Mary’s pregnancy was exhausting. The crowded city of Bethlehem made it difficult to find a suitable place to stay. The long trip to Egypt and back was arduous and dangerous.
The Lord Jesus chose to link Himself with a poor family and experience the hardships associated with it. He was the eternal God who became human. His presence here teaches us that He understands the trials of everyday life.
Luke presents Jesus as a real, growing person. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). His earthly experience was not odd, weird, or somehow superhuman. He had a normal and natural growth cycle from childhood to manhood.
He increased in wisdom. This means there was a growth process. He was developing.
The Hebrew writer says that He learned obedience: “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8 ). There was a process of learning throughout His life. He experienced things He had never faced before and as He did, He never failed. His presence here allows Him to understand our frailty.
Luke reveals the inner feelings of Jesus, including His compassion. He felt compassion for the Gentiles, women, children, tax collectors, sinners, and outcasts of society. The story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10 is a case in point. “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him” (Luke 10:33).
His compassion illustrates that God is not distant or aloof when it comes to our problems. The presence of Jesus here opens to us the tender, loving desires of God toward the vulnerable and weak.
Luke shows us that Jesus was fully dependent on His Father. He was a man of prayer. Not only did He teach His disciples to pray, but He also showed by example the importance of it. He prayed in the wilderness. He went to the mountain to pray at night. He prayed in the garden when in deep agony. He always felt the need to keep in close communication with His Father. His presence here teaches us that the difficulties of life can be overcome as we draw strength from above.
Lastly, Luke displays Jesus as a man who suffered. He experienced the attacks of the devil, the venom of religious leaders, the rejection of His own people, and most of all, the punishment of a righteous God against our sin. He was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). His presence here is proof that suffering is a necessary part of Christ's experience and that glory is the end result.
Enjoy the power of His presence today as you pray with us for our prodigals and for revival among us. The need for prayer has never ceased and is greater today than ever before.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel