Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category
The text for this lesson is Luke 7:36–50.
- In faith, a sinful woman lovingly anointed Jesus’ feet. In faith, we grasp God’s free mercy, receive the forgiveness of sins, and respond with acts of love and praise.
- Law: My sin troubles and harms me, condemning me to eternal death.
- Gospel: God offers His love and forgiveness to me and all sinners who call upon Him for mercy and grants me His peace.
- This week, we see how a sinful woman encountered the love and forgiveness of Jesus, which moved her to repentance, saving faith in Him, and also great love for Him. She was not saved by her works of love but by trusting in Jesus.
How does Romans 4:4–5 explain why faith is not a work done by people? What does Romans 4:6–8 say is the essence of the righteousness of faith?
- Luke provides the only account among the Gospel writers of the sinful woman anointing Jesus’ feet with tears and ointment. Matthew, Mark, and John describe a woman coming to Jesus soon before His Passion in order to anoint His head with oil.
Though Luke records a different event than the other evangelists, the anointing of Jesus in Luke might have the same symbolic value as the anointing recorded in the others. According to Matthew 26:12, what was the purpose of Jesus’ anointing? How is this appropriate as we approach Holy Week?
- In Luke 7:36–39, it is mentioned four times that Simon was a Pharisee. It seems that Luke wanted to make sure that the hearer of His Gospel would pick up on the fact that Simon was a Pharisee.
What clue could this fact indicate about the way the story will unfold? Do we still have Pharisees in our midst today?
- We confess in the Nicene Creed that Jesus Christ is “God of God, light of light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.” What things does Jesus do in today’s lesson that only God can do?
- What actions demonstrate Simon’s rejection of Jesus as the greatest Prophet, the Messiah? What is ironic about Simon’s statement, “If this man were a prophet, He would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39)? According to Luke 5:20–21 and Luke 7:49, what work of Jesus scandalized the Pharisees more than any other?
- What is the main point of the parable of two debtors? Which of the debtors represents us?
- The contrast between the woman and the Pharisee is striking. Jesus says to Simon, “I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47). Does this verse indicate that the woman was forgiven because she loved Jesus or that she loved Jesus because she was forgiven?
How do the second half of the verse and the parable of the two debtors help us find the right answer? How does 1 John 4:19 shed light on this question?
- Throughout Luke’s Gospel, Jesus shares table fellowship with tax collectors, sinners, and Pharisees. In today’s lesson, the woman was one of those sinners whom Jesus ate with and to whom He delivered forgiveness. Jesus ate with the Pharisees, but they did not desire His forgiveness.
According to Luke 13:26–27, what will be Jesus’ message on the Last Day for Pharisees who ate at the same table with Jesus but did not believe in Him? What words of warning does Luke 13 give to us today as we gather around our Lord’s Table?
- Paul says in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” When we realize that, we will appreciate why we needed Jesus to come save us. What does Luke 1:77 tell us is Jesus’ mission? How was His mission completed, according to Ephesians 1:7?
- The liturgy for Holy Communion takes us through a remarkable transition. We enter as poor, miserable sinners. When we receive the Benediction, the Lord blesses us with the gift of peace as we depart. According to Romans 5:1, what is the cause of our peace with God?
The text for this lesson is Luke 15.
- In our sin, we were lost from God and doomed to die. God, in His love, sought and found us and keeps us with Him forever.
- Law: Because of my sin, I am lost from God.
- Gospel: My heavenly Father continually seeks me through His Word and Sacraments, claims me as His own, and keeps me safe in faith.
- The relationship between shepherd and sheep is used frequently in Holy Scripture to describe the relationship between the Lord and His people. Sheep have a reputation for wandering.
According to Isaiah 53:5–7, in what way are we all like sheep? Why is “everyone turning to his own way” such an apt description of sin? How did God atone for the sins of the sheep?
- The emphasis on sinners returning to the Lord in today’s lesson fits perfectly with the primary theme of the season of Lent: repentance.
The verse that is sung before the Gospel reading during the season of Lent is Joel 2:13. According to Joel 2:12–13, what is repentance? Why can the repentant sinner confidently approach God, knowing that He will forgive?
- According to Luke 5:27–32, why did Jesus love to eat with tax collectors and sinners? Which group didn’t think they needed to eat with Him?
- Some background information can help us interpret the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:3–7). First, shepherding was a despised trade at the time. Shepherds were considered unclean, even sinners. Second, it was common for Palestinian shepherds to work together, so when one went off to look for a lost sheep, the other shepherds would keep watch.
Further, the open country served as a safe place for the sheep to graze, even when the shepherd had to leave for a time. Third, a lost sheep will, after a while, become despondent and lie down, completely helpless.
The shepherd has to lift the sheep upon his shoulders and bring it back to the flock. Based on the parable and the background information, answer the following questions:
a. Whom do the shepherd and lost sheep represent? Why?
b. What does the shepherd’s carrying of the lost sheep represent?
c. In what way is this parable a critique of the Pharisees?
- The parable of the prodigal (wasteful) son is one of the most beloved in Scripture, yet there are several details about its cultural background that can shed additional light on this story. We will go through the parable of the prodigal (wasteful) son in five sections: (a) 11–16, (b) 17–19, (c) 20–21, (d) 22–24, and (e) 25–32.
a. In Luke 15:11–16, whom does the prodigal son represent?
b. Read Luke 15:17–19. Do you think the son was truly repentant? How could you see yourself in the son’s shoes?
c. In Luke 15:20–21, we see the dramatic meeting of the father and the son. How does the father’s love resemble God’s love for us? According to Romans 2:4, how does repentance come about?
d. Read Luke 15:22–24. How does this part of the parable apply to us?
e. In Luke 15:25–32, we hear the sad story of the elder son’s lack of love for his father. Whom do you think this part of the parable was directed at? How does it apply to us?
- The parable of the lost coin, Luke 15:8–10, shares the same message as the parable of the lost sheep but with one significant difference: the person seeking the coin is a woman. Whom might she represent and why?
- Earlier, we discussed how important table fellowship was in Jesus’ day. We still can relate to this somewhat through our enjoyment of family meals and dinners with friends. But what is the most important table fellowship we share as Christians? Who is welcomed at His Table?
- In His love, God promises to care for all our physical and spiritual needs and gives us the greatest treasure: His Son and the gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation.
- Law: Like the disciples, my faith is weak, and I lack trust in God to give me all good things.
- Gospel: For the sake of His Son, Jesus, God promises to provide for all my needs according to His will and riches and gives me the gift of faith to believe in Jesus as my Savior and receive eternal life through Him.
- What does John 6 teach us about the difference between seeing miraculous signs and believing Jesus’ words? What can the Church learn from this?
- John 6:3 says Jesus “went up on the mountain.” In Matthew 5–7, Jesus also went up on a mountain to teach. What Old Testament figure was frequently found on a mountain? (See Exodus 19:3–4.) What might this bit of information tell us about how John and Matthew portray Jesus?
- Read John 6:48–58. How does the preceding discussion concerning the Passover and the manna in the wilderness provide insight into the meaning of this passage?
- Philip, Andrew, and Moses had much in common when it came to dealing with large-scale hunger problems. What had all three of them failed to see? What do we have in common with Philip, Andrew, and Moses when it comes to dealing with our problems?
- We read in John 6:4 that the Passover was near, which means that the feeding of the five thousand occurred in the springtime. This is supported by John 6:10, “There was much grass in the place.” Mark 6:39 says that the grass was green. Jesus had the crowd sit down in green fields before He fed them “as much as they wanted” (John 6:11). To what might this scene be an allusion?
- Compare John 6:11 and Luke 22:19. What might the similarity of these verses teach the Church about the feeding of the five thousand?
- After seeing Jesus perform the miraculous sign, the people said that Christ was the prophet who had come into the world. Read Deuteronomy 18:15–19. Who would this prophet be like? According to John 1:17, what would be the greatest difference between Jesus the Prophet and the one who came before Him?
- Like those who had “eaten their fill,” how are we also tempted to seek the Lord only for the earthly things He can give us, rather than focusing on the eternal food, the bread of life, which is Christ Himself?
- Jesus forgives and heals us from the sickness of sin and death. In faith, we respond with thankfulness.
- Law: Sin brought sickness and death into the world.
- Gospel: In His death and resurrection, Jesus heals me from the sickness of sin and overcomes death for me.
- Jesus’ miracles function as significant demonstrations of His power over all creation, but they also serve another important purpose. According to Luke 7:18–23, what did Jesus’ miracles, such as today’s story about the healing of the ten lepers, confirm for John the Baptist?
- Samaria was located between Judea and Galilee, so Jesus from time to time did travel through Samaria. However, Jews made it a practice to avoid both Samaria and Samaritans. The Samaritans as a people were notorious for their religious promiscuity. They were known to have worshiped the gods of five other nations. They edited their own version of the Old Testament, known as the Samaritan Pentateuch, and they set up a rival temple on Mount Gerizim. Today’s lesson demonstrates an important point about the Samaritans’ status in Jesus’ eyes—He came for them too. How does this story illustrate the point Paul makes in Galatians 3:26–29?
- Lepers lived at the bottom of society. One authority in Jesus’ day mandated fifty yards between a leper and a healthy person. They lived without hope, for doctors could not cure their skin diseases. Yet Jesus had great compassion for them. One of the first people Jesus healed was a leper. What is so striking about Jesus’ interaction with the leper in Luke 5:12–16? How does this correspond to the picture of the Messiah that Isaiah gives in Isaiah 53:3–4?
- When Jesus healed the leper in Luke 5, He both spoke and touched the leper to heal him. Based on Luke 17:14, what seems to be the manner in which Jesus healed the ten lepers? How does Jesus speak in this manner today?
- The lepers were instructed to go to the temple in Jerusalem in order to show themselves to the priests and perform ceremonial cleansing. At the temple, they would also have given thanks to God for the mercy He had shown to them by healing them. Yet the Samaritan recognized something very important that the other nine lepers did not. Instead of going to give thanks to God at the temple, where did the Samaritan go to give thanks to God? According to John 2:18–22, what would replace the temple in Jerusalem?
- Most versions of the Bible, including the English Standard Version, have Jesus say to the Samaritan in Luke 17:19, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” While this translation is grammatically possible, a more literal translation would be, “Your faith has saved you.” All ten lepers certainly had faith that Jesus could heal them; they took Him at His Word when they went to show themselves to the priest. But only the Samaritan returned to worship God in the person of Jesus. Only the Samaritan had received true saving faith. What does this lesson teach us about faith? According to Ephesians 2:8–9, what is the true source of faith?
- Today’s lesson about the ten lepers reminds us that sick and suffering people are all around us, even in the midst of our congregations. One of the responsibilities of pastors is to visit the sick in order to bring them Jesus’ Word and His life-giving body and blood. Yet visiting the sick is one of the good works that Jesus encourages all Christians to do. According to Matthew 25:31–40, what is the significance of visiting the sick? What does this passage teach us about the good works of Christians? How do Romans 14:23b and Ephesians 2:10 help explain this teaching about good works?
- One of the oldest names that the Church has for the Lord’s Supper is Eucharist. This name comes from the Greek word εύχαριστέω (eucharisteo), which means “to be thankful” or “to give thanks.” When Jesus took the bread and cup at the Last Supper, He “gave thanks” for both of them (Luke 22:17, 19). The Church has often called the Lord’s Supper the Eucharist because Christians come before the altar in thanksgiving of what they are about to receive: Jesus’ true body and blood. In today’s lesson, the Samaritan returns to Jesus “thanking Him,” and in the Greek, the word is εύχαριστέω (eucharisteo). How do the Samaritan’s actions toward Jesus mirror our actions at the Lord’s Supper?
- Jesus instructed the lepers to go to the priests at the temple in Jerusalem in order to be ceremonially cleansed. Once a person was physically cleansed, he needed spiritual cleansing as well. Leviticus 14:1–32 prescribes the cleansing ritual for a person who had been healed of a skin disease. The Old Testament laws for cleansing were in effect until Jesus fulfilled the Law through His death and resurrection. Instead of the Old Testament cleansing rituals, how does God cleanse us in the Church? Read the following passages and note the ways God cleanses us from sin.
a. Acts 15:5–11
b. 1 John 1:7–9
c. Ephesians 5:25–27
d. Hebrews 9:22
- The devil tempted Jesus to sin, but He did not.
- Law: The devil tempts me, and I often give in.
- Gospel: In Christ, God forgives my sin, provides all that I need for this life and the next, and gives me power to overcome temptation.
- Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Though it is possible for us to face a temptation without sinning, to what does the experience of temptation usually lead?
- We learn in Jesus’ Baptism in Luke 3:21–23 that He is the Son of God. This is reiterated in His genealogy, but Luke 3:38 also calls Him “the son of Adam.” As we reflect on the fact that Jesus was both true God and true man, what are we tempted to conclude about His temptation by Satan?
- In this lesson, we see Jesus resist Satan by relying on the Word of God alone. He used no miracles, divine power, or deep theological insights. He overcame the devil by quoting the Book of Deuteronomy three times. What might this tempt us to identify as the main point of the story?
- According to Matthew 3:13–15, why did Jesus come to be baptized by John? What does Jesus’ obedience under temptation do for us? What does Jesus’ obedience even to death on the cross do for us?
- We noted above some of the Old Testament themes that appear in the account of Jesus’ temptation. In Genesis 2:16–17, God gave Adam permission to eat from any tree in the Garden of Eden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. According to Genesis 3:1–3, what did Satan tempt Eve to do? In what way did she fail to respond properly? According to Exodus 17:1–7, how did the children of Israel tempt or test God in the wilderness? What is the significance of the location Massah and Meribah?
- With regard to the first temptation, we know Jesus had received confirmation of His Sonship at His Baptism. According to Luke 4:3, how does Satan challenge that Sonship? Jesus’ response in Luke 4:4 is a quotation from Deuteronomy 8:1–3. Why could Jesus confidently rely on His Father to provide for Him?
- With regard to the second temptation, Isaiah 52–53 tells us that Jesus will be the servant of the Lord who will suffer for the people but then be exalted. In Luke 4:5–7, what does Satan tempt Jesus to do? According to Luke 22:39–44, what struggle did Jesus continue to face? Jesus responds to Satan by quoting Deuteronomy 6:13. According to Deuteronomy 6:10–15, what provides the basis for serving the Lord God only?
- Finally, we see the third temptation. “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose,” wrote Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice (Act 1, scene 3). In Luke 4:9–11, Satan rips Scripture verses out of context and makes himself sound very pious. After forty days of suffering in the wilderness, Jesus could have been aching for an external sign that His Father had not abandoned Him. Yet Jesus knew the background of Deuteronomy 6:16. In this verse, what is the significance of Massah for Jesus’ temptation? (Refer back to question 5.) According to Luke 4:13, what did Satan do after being defeated this time?
- In Satan’s first temptation of Jesus, he tempts Him to despair of God’s mercy. What is despair, why is it dangerous, and how can it be overcome?
- In the second temptation, Satan tempts Jesus toward an apparent good. Jesus came into the world to be a ruler, so why not just start now by worshiping the devil? What are some seemingly good things that tempt us? How does Jesus tell good from evil?
- In the third temptation, Satan tempts Jesus by misusing God’s Word. He quotes out of context. This happens a great deal today. Consider the following paraphrases of Scripture, and provide examples of contemporary misuses of them: “Forgive others”; “Do not judge”; “God is love.” How does Jesus resist this temptation?
- How does what happens to Jesus after His Baptism relate to our Christian life? According to
1 Peter 5:8–9, what expectation should a new Christian have after Baptism? Whom is Satan most interested in tempting? What is Satan’s ultimate goal? What is our best defense against Satan?
- At the transfiguration, God said to listen to His Son, Jesus, who fulfilled the Law and the Prophets for sinners.
- Law: Because of my sinfulness, I cannot keep the Law of God.
- Gospel: God’s Son, Jesus, satisfied the requirements of God’s Law for me and fulfilled all the promises made by God’s prophets to be my Savior.
- In order to set the stage for our study of the transfiguration, read Luke 9:18–27. Based on the prophecy in Isaiah 53 that the Christ would be the Lord’s Suffering Servant, how is the suffering and death of Jesus alluded to in Luke 9:18–20? According to 9:21–22, what is the ultimate mission of the Son of Man? How does 9:23–27 indicate that the Christian life will not consist of a string of unbroken glorious times? How does a Christian take up his cross daily and follow Jesus?
- The transfiguration story is filled with references and allusions to the Old Testament. Luke 9:29 describes Jesus’ physical transfiguration, when “the appearance of His face was altered, and His clothing became dazzling white.” Read Exodus 34:29–35. Who else’s face shone with divine glory—the glory of God? Where did this person go to meet with God? Luke 9:34–35 describes a cloud overshadowing the group, and the Father’s voice coming from the cloud. Read Exodus 24:12, 15–18. Who is involved in this story, and what does the cloud on the mountain represent? In Luke 1:76–79, how was the bright glory of Jesus foretold in the prophecy of John’s father, Zechariah?
- Moses and Elijah are the only two Old Testament figures who spoke with God on Mount Sinai. There are similarities between Moses and Elijah and Jesus, but the New Testament is emphatic in portraying Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets—one greater than any prophet. In Luke 9:35, Jesus is called “My Son, My Chosen One,” which are words that echo His Baptism in the Jordan. Neither Moses nor Elijah was ever called the “Son of God” or the “Chosen One.” In Luke 9:36, the disciples see that after all the excitement, “Jesus was found alone.” What could this tell us about the importance of Jesus in relation to Moses and Elijah? In John 1:14–17, to what could “we have seen His glory” refer? How does John depict the relationship between Moses and Jesus?
- The Greek word translated as “departure” in Luke 9:31 is actually exodos or Exodus. According to Psalm 78:51–55, what did God do for His people in the exodus? Based on Exodus 19:1–6, how do you think the exodus provided the basis for all the future promises of God? What do the Old Testament exodus and the New Testament one of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension have in common?
- We have already noted how the reference to Jesus’ exodus pointed to His passion, death, and resurrection. There are a number of other similarities and contrasts between the transfiguration and Jesus’ crucifixion. Read Luke 23:32–43 and identify some of these similarities and contrasts.
- In Luke 24:4, the two angels at the empty tomb are there in “dazzling apparel,” a description similar to Jesus’ appearance at the transfiguration. This suggests a connection between the divine glory of Jesus shown in the transfiguration and that of His subsequent glorification shown by the resurrection. It also points forward to the glory that we will share with Him when we are raised from the dead on the Last Day. What connection is there between Luke 24:44–47 and the transfiguration account?
- Have you ever wondered what people talk about in heaven? Based on our lesson today, what do you think they talk about? What does this teach us about our lives here on earth?
- What do we find Jesus doing in Luke 3:21–22 and 9:18–20? According to Luke 9:28, for what reason did Jesus go up on the mountain? What does this tell us about the transfiguration account? How could Jesus’ example apply to our own lives?
- In Luke 9:35, the Father declares from heaven, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” Read Deuteronomy 18:15–19. How does this passage from Moses shed light on the words of the Father at the transfiguration? The last part of the Father’s statement actually could be translated, “Continue always to listen to Him!” According to 2 Peter 1:16–21, who provided an eyewitness account of this event, and how can we continue to listen to Jesus?
- Through many miracles, Jesus showed His power over sin, death, and the devil on our behalf.
- Law: Because of sin, sickness and the devil are at work in the world.
- Gospel: Jesus, the Holy One of God, has power over sin, sickness, and the devil and frees me from their hold.
- In Luke 4:34, the unclean demon cried out to Jesus, “I know who You are—the Holy One of God.” Why does this demon cry out when he encounters Jesus? According to James 2:19, what does the knowledge of God cause demons to do? What do the demons in Luke 4:34 and 4:41 tell the reader of Luke’s Gospel about Jesus?
- We see in Luke 4:35 and 4:41 that Jesus will not let the demons speak, “because they knew that He was the Christ.” Apparently, Jesus did not want to be revealed as the Christ from the lips of demons. What possible reasons would Jesus have not to be revealed to the world at that time as the Christ? Read Luke 9:18–22. To whom is Jesus revealed as the Christ here? What does Jesus tell them not to do? What event does Jesus predict but appears not yet ready to undergo? Read John 11:47–48 and Matthew 2:1–4. What do these passages reveal as possible reasons for Jesus to keep a low profile?
- In Luke 4:43, Jesus says that He was sent to “preach the good news [Gospel] of the kingdom of God.” The kingdom of God is an important theme in Luke’s Gospel. As Jesus preaches and performs miracles, He is showing that the kingdom of God has arrived. God is bringing about a new creation in Christ Jesus, giving new life to sinners. It is a kingdom of grace, a kingdom of the Gospel. In short, the kingdom of God is found wherever Jesus is King. Read Luke 10:8–12. When Jesus sent out His seventy-two messengers, what signs would accompany their message that the kingdom of God had come? What happens when people reject that message? Read Luke 18:15–17. How must the kingdom of God be received?
- Jesus revealed the breaking in of the kingdom of God by showing His great authority. In Luke 4:32, the people were astounded that His Word possessed such authority. He spoke as if He were God Himself, because He is! Then in Luke 4:36, the people were amazed at the authority He exercised over demons. Read Luke 5:17–26. What other authority did Jesus have and why was that so offensive to the scribes and Pharisees? According to John 20:19–23, what authority does Jesus give to the apostles that is also given to those in the Office of the Holy Ministry?
- According to Luke 4:36–37, Jesus’ authoritative preaching and miracles amazed the people, and “reports about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region.” But Jesus had not yet revealed Himself as the Christ. What kind of faith, if any, could have been present among the people who witnessed these miracles? What warning does Jesus give us about faith healers and miracle workers (Mark 13:21–22)? In contrast, according to Luke 5:24, what is one reason that Jesus did miracles? Would modern faith healers and miracle workers have the same agenda as Jesus did? In what way can Jesus’ healing ministry be continued in the Church today?
- In Luke 4:38–39, Jesus healed Simon’s (Peter’s) mother-in-law of a high fever. After Jesus rebuked the fever and it left her, “immediately she rose and began to serve them.” How does Peter’s mother-in-law provide a wonderful example for Christian faith and life? How is this same attitude reflected in the Collect of Thanksgiving that is traditionally used after Holy Communion (LSB, p. 164)?
- What is one reason so many people reject the Gospel? Why is it that many people do not go to church? Why do some go to churches that focus on things other than the Gospel? See 2 Corinthians 4:4 and Luke 8:12. What is the ultimate source of unbelief? Of what must Christians also be constantly aware?
- According to Luke 4:40, Jesus would lay His hands on people who were sick and heal them. Jesus comes to us with His true body and blood in the Sacrament of the Altar, forgiving our sins and giving us life and salvation. Martin Luther says of the Sacrament of the Altar in the Large Catechism, “We must never think of the Sacrament as something harmful from which we had better flee, but as a pure, wholesome, comforting remedy that grants salvation and comfort. It will cure you and give you life both in soul and body. For where the soul has recovered, the body also is relieved” (Large Catechism, Part 5, paragraph 68). According to Luther, what besides the soul can be helped by the Sacrament? How should we be careful in our understanding of this teaching? How does this teaching point to the final resurrection of our bodies?
- People who do not believe in Jesus reject Him. God’s Word shows that Jesus is God’s Son, and in faith, we believe.
- Law: Sin blinds me so I cannot see my Savior.
- Gospel: God works through His Word and Sacraments so I can see and believe in Jesus.
- In the synagogue, Jesus would read Scripture from a scroll and then preach on the text He read. In Romans 10:17, Paul says that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” What was the primary means of teaching in Jesus’ time? Were Bibles available to the people? Would many people have been able to read Hebrew? What does this tell us about the importance of preaching in Jesus’ ministry and in the New Testament?
- In Luke 4:24, Jesus literally says, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown” (author’s translation). What does the word amen mean? Why is it attached to prayers?
- Describe the experience of spending time with people who remember what you were like when you were growing up. How does familiarity with a person’s background color your image of him or her? What would the people of Nazareth recall about Jesus’ childhood? How could this give insight into Jesus’ statement, “No prophet is acceptable in his hometown” (Luke 4:24)?
- What phrases in Luke 4:18–19 indicate that Jesus will be a teacher and work miracles? Read Luke 4:31–37. How does this account in Capernaum revisit the two primary themes from His previous sermon?
- According to Luke 4:23, Jesus anticipated that the people of Nazareth would expect Him to perform signs and wonders such as He had done in Capernaum. “Physician, heal yourself” might be a reference to the idea that one should not forget to help his own family and friends while he assists complete strangers. Yet as a prophet, Jesus would fare no better than the prophets of Israel, such as Elijah and Elisha, who were often rejected by the people. Therefore, God sent Elijah to the Gentile (non-Israelite) widow in Zarephath, and Elisha was given the task of cleansing the pagan Naaman. How does the account in Luke 4:28–29 suggest what will eventually happen to the prophet Jesus? Read Luke 13:31–34.
- In Luke 4:18, Jesus says that He will “set at liberty those who are oppressed.” The Greek word translated as “set at liberty” is often used to describe the forgiveness of sins, so this passage announces one of the major themes of Jesus’ preaching. Read Isaiah 53:6, our Bible verse for today. In what way does sin still oppress us? In what sense are we liberated from the oppression of sin? See Luke 1:77 and 24:47.
- Jesus quotes the messianic prophecy of Isaiah 61 in Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor.” Who else besides Jesus is mentioned in that verse? What event was a key revelation that Jesus is the promised Anointed One or Messiah? See Luke 3:21–22 and Acts 10:38.
- The language of Luke 4:18–19 indicates that God has come to restore the fallen creation, to release it from bondage to decay and death. Read Colossians 1:15–20. Whom does Paul describe as the Creator of all things? How does the Creator reconcile creation to Himself? How does Luke 4:18–19 support the theme of the restored creation?
- Luke 4:19 says that Jesus came to “proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” The background for this statement is found in Leviticus 25, in which the Year of Jubilee is prescribed to the Israelites. Read Leviticus 25:8–10. How often was the Year of Jubilee? What occurred during this year? What themes are found in both Leviticus 25:8–10 and Luke 4:18–19?
- What did Jesus mean in Luke 4:21 that “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing”? To which passage does this refer? What does this say about the power of His preaching? What does preaching accomplish in the Church today? See 1 Corinthians 1:21–25.
- In Luke 4:15–16, we learn that Jesus customarily taught in the Jewish synagogue. He would read the Old Testament and interpret it, revealing Himself as the Messiah. How did Paul and the apostles use the synagogue to expand the Church? See Acts 9:20; 13:5; 14:1 as examples. How does the preaching that Paul did in the synagogues compare with the preaching we hear at church today?
- In light of Jesus’ preaching in Luke 4:18–19, why do we still see the consequences of sin in creation? What does God really desire from us? Read Hebrews 11:1.
- In His first miracle, Jesus showed that He is God. Through God’s Word and physical means—water, bread, and wine— God shows us that Jesus is our Savior.
- Law: Like the disciples, I am unsure who Jesus is.
- Gospel: Jesus shows He is my Savior and God in His Word and Sacraments.
- In Jesus’ day, weddings were occasions for great feasts, often lasting several days. Sometimes we forget the true humanity of Jesus, but we see it in His attendance at the wedding at Cana. No doubt He took part in the festivities, enjoying the delicious food and wine and having a wonderful time with His friends. At another time, we see Jesus go off into the wilderness to fast for forty days. And later, we see His great agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and in His Passion. How are these different parts of Jesus’ life typical of our own lives?
- Jesus performed an amazing miracle at the wedding at Cana by changing water into wine. This demonstrated His divine attribute of omnipotence, that is, being all-powerful. How does Jesus use His omnipotence today for our benefit?
- In John 2:10, the master of the feast tells the bridegroom, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine.” Concerning our human nature, of what does this remind us?
- It is commonly said that the wedding at Cana was recorded to demonstrate Jesus’ divinity. This is true but does not tell the whole story. As you will see in the outline provided by your leader, a major part of the Book of John is made up of seven signs. (The number 7 often indicates completeness in the Bible.) The miracle at Cana is said in John 2:11 to be the “first of His signs.” That also could be translated as the “chief of His signs” or “source of His signs.” Based on this observation, what can we say about the significance of the sign He performed at Cana? How did this sign function for His disciples? See John 1:50 and 2:11. How does it function for us? See John 20:30–31.
- We have seen above that the purpose of the miracle at Cana—and all the other signs—is to reveal Jesus’ glory and strengthen the faith of His followers. Read Isaiah 25:6 and Amos 9:13, two prophecies related to the expected age of the Messiah. What about Jesus’ miracle at Cana, in particular, revealed His glory and showed that the Messiah had come? Compare Mark 2:22 with this miracle. What do the old wineskins and Jewish purification jars represent? What do the “new wine” and “fresh wineskins” (Mark 2:22) and “the good wine [kept] until now” (John 2:10) represent?
- Read Isaiah 62:5 and Jeremiah 2:2. How do these Old Testament passages describe the relationship between God and His people? Why is a wedding such an appropriate place for Jesus to manifest—to reveal—His glory? How is Jesus described in John 3:29? Who is the bride? See Ephesians 5:25–27.
- When a concept is introduced early on in John’s Gospel and recurs repeatedly throughout, this often leads to a very important point later. Two of these words are hour and glory, both words that appear in John 2:1–11. Read the following passages that mention the hour of Jesus: John 7:30; 12:23–24; 13:1; 17:1. What is Jesus’ hour in these verses? How does this shed light on what Jesus means by His hour in John 2:4?
- We noted above that the first part of John’s Gospel is called the Book of Signs and the second is the Book of Glory. Read John 1:14; 2:11; and 8:54 for references to Jesus’ glory in the first part of John. Then reread John 12:23–24 and 17:1. Why is it significant that the words glory and hour appear together in these verses? Read John 19:2–3, 19. In what way is Jesus portrayed as a king? Why is it so shocking that Jesus’ glory is to be found at the hour of His crucifixion?
- We saw above that Jesus’ signs reveal who He is for the disciples and for us. Yet not everyone got His signs. Often people missed the underlying meaning. Read John 6:26, 34–35. Why were the people seeking Jesus? What was the true meaning of the sign that He had performed (the feeding of the five thousand)? How does focusing solely on the miraculous nature of Jesus’ signs continue to lead people astray today?
- The purification jars mentioned in John 2:6 represent the ceremonies of the Old Testament, while the wine Jesus creates from the water in them is a sign that the New Testament has come. What did the Jews do with those purification jars? What is this suggestive of under the New Testament? According to Ephesians 5:25–27, what does Christ, the Bridegroom, do for His Bride, the Church?
- Wine, light, water, and food are symbols of salvation in John’s writings. When God’s Word is attached to water, it becomes Baptism, a vehicle of salvation—a Means of Grace. When the Word is attached to bread and wine, it becomes the Lord’s Supper, another vehicle of salvation—a Means of Grace. Read John 19:34–35; 1 John 1:7; 5:6–8. What do these passages teach us about the Lord’s appointed Means of Grace?
- At Jesus’ Baptism, God sent the Holy Spirit and announced that Jesus is His Son. At Baptism, God makes us His children through the work of the Holy Spirit.
- Law: Because of God’s wrath and anger over sin, I and all people need a Savior.
- Gospel: At Jesus’ Baptism, God said that Jesus is His Son. In Baptism, God grants me faith in Jesus, my Savior, and declares me His child.
- Why is the Baptism of Jesus such an appropriate lesson for the Epiphany season?
- God’s Word does not prescribe a certain style or location for a baptismal font in a church. Yet some congregations have large, beautifully designed fonts, and some put the font in a prominent location, such as right inside the entrance to the sanctuary. Why would they do these things? How could the style or location of the font communicate what a congregation believes about Baptism?
- How does John make it clear that he is not the Christ (Messiah)? See Luke 3:15–16 and John 3:28–30. In what way are pastors like John the Baptist?
- What did John’s Baptism do for those who received it? See Luke 3:3. Jesus was born sinless and never sinned. Why would He, the sinless One, need such a Baptism? See Matthew 3:14–15. What does His Baptism mean for us? See 2 Corinthians 5:17–21.
- What do we learn from the Old Testament passage that provides the background for Luke 3:22? See Isaiah 42:1. What is the significance for us of the Spirit’s descent upon Jesus in the form of a dove? See Luke 3:16 and John 3:5. Based on the Holy Spirit’s name, how do we know what He does?
- How does Christ’s Baptism provide insight into the mission of the apostles and their successors in the Church? See Matthew 28:19–20 and Acts 2:38.
- Read Luke 3:17. What does this passage say is part of Jesus’ mission? Why is this message unpopular today? Why is it important that we continue to proclaim this aspect of Jesus’ work?
- In the early days of Christianity, some churches would not allow people to pray the Lord’s Prayer until they were baptized. This might sound strange to us, but if we read the Lord’s Prayer closely, we might understand their practice better. Compare the following parts of the Lord’s Prayer with the corresponding verses and try to find the connection between them.
“Our Father who art in heaven.”
See Galatians 3:26–27 and Luke 3:22.
“Hallowed be Thy name.”
See Matthew 28:19–20 and John 1:12–13.
“Thy kingdom come.”
See John 3:5.
“Forgive us our trespasses.”
See Acts 2:38.