Thursday, October 27, 2011

Daily Following---A Hymn Based on Luke 9:23-27

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

(Luke 9:23-27 ESV)
 
Take Up Your Cross Daily

To the tune: CRANHAM. Based on Luke 9:23-27. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Take up your cross daily,
follow Jesus Christ.
He is wholly worthy,
gives eternal life.
From the highest heaven
to the cross of woe.
Jesus came to save us,
life bestows.

v. 2
Take up your cross daily,
follow Jesus Christ.
For He suffered for you,
when for you He died.
Risen Lord, ascended
to the Father’s side.
buried, raised with Jesus,
there abide.

v. 3
Take up your cross daily,
follow Jesus Christ.
Though the world despise you,
seek the heav’nly prize.
O to know the Savior
is the life indeed,
for the Father’s kingdom,
naught exceeds.

v. 4
Take up your cross daily,
follow Jesus Christ.
He will come in glory,
He will come in might.
Trust the words of Jesus,
never be ashamed.
When He comes He’ll own you,
on that day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Listen to Him! --- A Hymn Based on Luke 9:28-36

Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. 


(Luke 9:28-36 ESV)

The Pattern of Our Savior’s Life

To the tune: ERMUNTRE DICH. Based on Luke 9:28-36. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
The pattern of our Savior’s life
was suff’ring and then glory.
The cross He bore to gain the crown,
this is salvation’s story.
His exodus has set us free
from Satan’s cru-el tyranny.
O praise our risen Savior,
His glory lasts forever.

v. 2
Transfigured on a mountain high,
where three disciples saw Him.
They saw His glory with their eyes,
two prophets speaking with Him.
For Scripture long had testified,
the coming of the Lord and Christ.
He came to die and suffer,
for sin His body offer.

v. 3
We praise You, Lord, for You attained
a wondrous new creation.
For by Your suff’ring You have gained
eternal life, salvation,
for You have risen from the grave,
by blood and water we are saved.
Your blood a cleansing fountain,
O lift us to Your mountain.

v. 4
O Jesus, prophet, priest and king,
we want Your Word to rule us.
The Father’s Son with Whom He’s pleased,
O may Your Word renew us.
Though other voices to us call,
You are the glor-ious Lord of all,
to You alone we listen,
and offer our submission.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hymn Based on Luke 9:18-22

Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
(Luke 9:18-22 ESV)
 
Who Do People Say I Am?

To the tune: NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND. Based on Luke 9:18-22. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Who do people say I am?
Some a prophet or mere man.
But our Jesus is the Christ,
gives His own eternal life.

v. 2
Son of God and Son of Man,
He fulfills the Father’s plan.
Came to save us from our sin,
suffer, die, but raised again.

v. 3
Suff’ring Servant, glor-ious King,
by His cross salvation brings.
Praise the Son who died for us,
love that’s worthy of our trust.

v. 4
Jesus’ saving work is done,
through His cross salvation won.
Own Him as your Savior, God,
who has cleansed you by His blood.

v. 5
For His people Christ attained,
blessings of the coming age.
From His place at God’s right hand,
heav’nly blessings gives to man.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hymn Based on Luke 9:10-17

On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and had them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

(Luke 9:10-17 ESV)
 
Jesus Risen Lord on High

To the tune: MONKLAND. Based on Luke 9:10-17. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Jesus risen Lord on high,
by His Spirit brings us nigh,
to the feast in heav’n above,
there to share His life and love.

v. 2
We are pilgrims on the way,
longing for that brighter day.
From our risen Lord we take
heav’nly gifts received by faith.

v. 3
Jesus gives the means of grace,
weary souls by them sustained.
Words that cause our hearts to burn,
signs that strengthen and confirm.

v. 4
Lift us up our risen Host,
feed Your flock that you have chose.
With the food of heav’n we’re fed,
for You are our daily bread.

v. 5
Thank You, Lord, for Word and signs,
gifts from You by faith we find.
Grace and pow’r to live anew,
for Your Spirit lifts to You.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Has He Stilled Your Heart? --- Devotion and Hymn from Luke 8:22-25

In 1986 a boat dated from the time of Jesus was found
in the Sea of Galilee.  You can see what was recovered
in the lower picture, and what the boat looked like in the
top picture.  The boat was 27 feet long.
One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”
(Luke 8:22-25 ESV)

-------------------------------

We see clearly in this passage the two natures of Jesus Christ. Jesus is fully man and fully God in one person.

He is fully human, so tired from a long day that not even this kind of raging storm can wake him. But his human nature is also sinless, unlike ours, for his sleep points to a perfect trust in his Father’s care. He slept because he was tired, but also because he trusted.

But Jesus also shares the divine nature. His word is authoritative. He “rebukes” the wind and the waves, and they obey. One theme of the Old Testament is God’s authority over the sea. For example, in Psalm 65 we read:

O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
6the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
7who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
8so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
In this incident, Jesus shows his divine nature as he commands the world he made. He is able to still “the roaring of the seas.” He is also able to still “the tumult of the peoples,” according to Psalm 65. He will show his ability to do this when he stills the tumult of a wild man in the very next episode Luke records. Has his gospel word stilled the tumult of your heart? Or, are you still in rebellion against the word that creates, judges, rules, and saves? How we respond to the word of Christ is the issue that will define our lives, as the parables of the builders (Luke 6:46-49) and sower (Luke 8:1-15) have taught us. May the Father give us a saving faith that receives Jesus’ gospel word and reverences all of the Scriptures he has breathed out and preserved for our blessing (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Jesus Set Out on the Sea

To the tune: CHATAUQUA. Based on Luke 8:22-25. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Jesus set out on the sea,
in the stern was he asleep.
When a fearful storm arose,
frightened men their Lord awoke.
He stilled the storm!

Refrain:
Who is like our Jesus?
Who can compare?
Wind and waves at His command,
all is in His sov’reign hand.
He is the Lord!

v. 2
Trusting in His Father’s care,
Jesus Christ our nature shares.
Though the storm around Him raged,
Jesus sleeping unafraid.
O learn from Him!
(Refrain)

v. 3
Storms come crashing in our lives,
but the Lord is by our side.
Jesus with us strong to save,
full of mercy, full of grace.
O trust His name!
(Refrain)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Are You in God's Family? --- Hymn and Devotion from Luke 8:19-21

Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

(Luke 8:19-21 ESV)
 


-------------------------------------------------------


It is baffling to see the elevated place Mary has been given in Roman Catholic theology given verses like the ones we read today. The text goes out of its way to show that in Jesus’ kingdom it is not physical lineage that counts, but receiving the gospel word about Jesus. What counts is a receptive heart that receives the seed of the gospel word, as Jesus has just taught us in the parable of the soils.

Mary was certainly a person who received this gospel word. Luke shows her receiving God’s words to her in chapters one and two of his Gospel, and as a member of the group in Acts chapter one that awaited the coming of the Spirit on Pentecost. Her place in redemptive history was certainly a high one as the mother of God’s Son! But in terms of her Son’s kingdom, Mary had to enter it just like the rest of us, by hearing the Word and doing it, i.e., coming to Jesus as Lord and Savior by faith.

It is the gospel word that saves us when it is received by faith. But can we accept the gospel, that is the news of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4), but then reject the Scriptures as the Word of God?

That course is a very dangerous one. The gospel comes to us through the written Word that comes to us from the prophets and apostles. Our faith is built on the reliable eyewitness testimony of the apostles and disciples to Jesus. If we don’t accept their words as from God, it won’t be long before we begin to doubt the gospel word they gave us also. So keep trusting the Word that has been given to us from the Father about his Son as men were led and inspired by the Holy Spirit.


Who Is Jesus’ Family?

To the tune: LUX PRIMA. Based on Luke 8:18-21. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Who is Jesus’ family?
Who abides nearby to Him?
Those who hear the word of God,
and with faith draw near to Him.
To His fam’ly we belong,
if we trust God’s only Son.

v. 2
Jesus’ mother, brothers came,
could not reach Him through the crowds.
But by faith we reach our Lord,
for we dwell on Zion’s mount.
To His fam’ly we belong,
joined by faith to God’s dear Son.

v. 3
Joined to Jesus we are blessed,
in our Lord is Sabbath rest.
May our lives always confess,
Jesus’ way is wise and best.
To His fam’ly we belong,
praise to Him with joyful song.

How Much God Has Done for Us---Hymn and Devotion from Luke 8:26-39

Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.


When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

(Luke 8:26-39 ESV)
 
 
-------------------------------------------
 

This exorcism in Luke 8:26-39 is quite similar to the exorcism recorded in 4:33-37. Both begin with the same question from a demon. Both include a similar confession of Jesus’ identity. Both accounts show Jesus’ authority over the supernatural, invisible world. Both include the response of the crowds in utter amazement. The difference in the two accounts is the response of the demoniac, the townspeople, and Jesus’ response to both groups. This hymn has a repeated refrain that begins each verse based on the words of Jesus to the demoniac who wants to stay with Jesus: “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.”

Although the demoniac is an extreme example of Satan’s tyranny in the lives of men, all of us can relate to him as saved sinners. For just as he was naked, so we are naked spiritually, needing to be clothed with Christ’s righteousness. Just as he was bound, so we too are bound by sin. Just as he gloried in and lived in shame, so too, we have committed shameful acts, not to mention thoughts. Just as the demoniac lived among the tombs, so we were born dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). But if we have been born from above and converted like the demoniac, then we too are saved from all of these things. We too can be at rest, peacefully learning from Jesus, humbly sitting at his feet. We too can be evangelists to our friends and families and communities, telling others what great things God has done for us.

It seems to me that it is not a coincidence when Jesus tells the man to go home and declare how much “God” has done for you, that Luke tells us that the man went and told how much “Jesus” had done for him! Luke wants us to see that Jesus is God! Jesus is God incarnate, the eternal Son, the second person of the trinity!

Finally, the word propitiates in verse 2 of the hymn, refers to the fact that Jesus’ death gives to his people a favorable God. Jesus bore the righteous wrath of God, even the hell we deserved, so that He might give us God as a favorable Father rather than a condemning Judge. This is a hard truth for us to admit, that we deserve hell and damnation. But we must agree with God. As Martin Luther once said, “It is by living, no --- more --- by dying and being damned to hell that one becomes a theologian,” a theologian in the sense that he or she truly knows God and his Son, and therefore, eternal life (John 17:3).


How Much our God Has Done for Us

To the tune: MIT FREUDEN ZART. Based on Luke 8:26-39. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
How much our God has done for us,
the Savior of the nations.
He frees from Satan’s tyranny,
restoring His creation.
For men by sin and death are bound,
until by Jesus they are found.
O tell His awesome glory!

v. 2
How much our God has done for us,
the Savior of the nations.
His pow’r can save the vilest man
from torments of damnation.
The demons fear and dread that place,
but Jesus’ death propitiates,
His children brought to glory!

v. 3
How much our God has done for us,
the Savior of the nations.
He clothes our sinful nakedness,
and makes us His relation.
No longer dead in sin and shame,
we glory in our Savior’s name.
O tell His wondrous story!

v. 4
How much our God has done for us,
the Savior of the nations.
We sit and learn at Jesus’ feet,
His Word our education.
How blessed we are to be near Him,
with peace and pardon from our sin,
baptized in Jesus’ story.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Are You Making Space for God's Word? --- Hymn and Devotion from Luke 8:1-18

The sower, who in the parable of
the soils stands for Christ, sits atop
the Nebraska state capitol building.
 Luke 8:1-18

1Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, 2and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.

4 And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: 5 "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold." As he said these things, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

9And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10he said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.' 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

16 "No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away."


-------------------------------------------------------------------------


In this parable there are three bad soils and one good soil, and there is one primary difference between the good soil and bad soils. That one difference is space. In the three bad soils there is no room for the seed, which symbolizes the word of God. In the one good soil there is space for God’s Word.

We live in an era, sadly, in which people are making no space in their lives for the Scriptures. Stephen Prothero writes, “The Gospel of John instructs Christians to ‘search the scriptures’ . . . , but little searching, and even less finding is being done.” Only 50% of Americans can name even one of the four Gospels. Less than half cannot name the first book of the Bible. But, sadly, the ignorance of the Bible extends into the church. According to George Guthrie, only 16% of church members read their Bibles on a given day. Survey after survey shows that church members know little of the Bible’s content.

There are two kinds of space we need to make for the Word of God in our lives. The first kind of space is time space. We need to make some time in our day for the regular, systematic reading of God’s Word. You simply cannot be a vital Christian without carving out space to read the Word of God with the help of a daily reading plan. The average American watches 5 hours of television daily, and adds to this a large amount of time on the internet. We can make space for entertainment, but no space for the voice of Jesus Christ. This is all to our great shame.

The second kind of space we need to make for God’s Word is heart space. Heart space is taking the time to internalize God’s words to us. Heart space is taking the time to meditate and pray about what we are reading. Heart space is letting the Word sink into our hearts, so that we repent and believe in response. Heart space is letting the Word change us and shape us and move us.

I urge you, no, I beg you, please make space for the Word of God in your life. Jesus tells us in this parable that nothing is more important than making space for his Word. Make time space and heart space for the Word of your Lord and Savior.


Be Careful How You Listen, the Day of Judgment Comes

To the tune: LANCASHIRE Lead On, O King Eternal. Based on Luke 8:1-18. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Be careful how you listen,
the day of judgment comes,
disclosing secrets hidden,
the hearts of everyone.
Christ comes on clouds of glory,
the scepter in His hand,
the wicked He will scatter,
far from the promised land.

v. 2
Be careful how you listen
to Jesus’ gospel word.
It promises forgiveness,
when mixed with faith it’s heard.
So trust the words of Jesus,
His witness faithful, true.
He came in grace to save you,
be filled with gratitude.

v. 3
Be careful how you listen,
for Jesus has the keys.
He opens up His kingdom
to those with whom He’s pleased.
To those who are believing,
salvation He reveals.
But to the unbelieving,
His secrets He conceals.

v. 4
Be careful how you listen,
since you belong to Christ.
By faith you’re joined to Jesus,
with Him to sin you’ve died.
So put off Adam’s nature,
and put on Jesus Christ,
live in repentance daily,
in Christ to live and die.






Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jesus' Worth---Hymn and Devotion from Luke 7:36-50

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “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.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

(Luke 7:36-50 ESV)


------------------------------------------


It is hard not to be struck by the extravagant love of this woman for Jesus. In this passage she not only pours out her jar of ointment, but her very heart of love for her Lord. She loves Jesus for who he is, but also for the forgiveness of sins she received from him. This woman was a notorious sinner, and the gift of forgiveness caused her to love Jesus in this extravagant way.

Do we love Jesus like this? Why don’t we love Jesus like this woman? We have every reason to love Jesus like this woman, for we too are notorious sinners, born into Adam’s cursed race. As Ephesians 2:3 says, we are “by nature children of wrath.” We are born with the poison of original sin coursing through our veins. Independent and proud, we do not give our Creator, Sustainer, and King the love he is owed. We live as practical atheists, and can barely see our sin or the glory of God.

May the Father open our eyes to see the glory of his Son, the greatness of our debt of sin, and the willingness of his heart to forgive us in Christ. May he also, then, cause us to love His Son, our Lord and Savior, with the same extravagant love of this woman, who was forgiven much, and, therefore, loved much.

Father, May I Truly Treasure

To the tune: MERTON (MONK). Based on Luke 7:36-50. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Father, may I truly treasure
Your beloved Son, my Lord.
Love Him for His wondrous being,
love Him for His precious worth.

v. 2
Father, may I find my pleasure
in Your Son who died for me.
Love Him for His grace and glory,
for forgiveness full and free.

v. 3
Father, great the debt I owed You,
debt of sin too high for me.
But Your Son in grace did pay it,
love beyond supreme degree.

v. 4
Father, costly love, devotion,
by Your Spirit please impart.
May it flow a true affection,
for Your Son has won my heart.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Overcoming Doubt---Devotion and Hymn Based on Luke 7:18-35

The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’

I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

“To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”

(Luke 7:18-35 ESV)


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What do we do with doubts? How are doubts overcome?

It is helpful to know that even as great a saint as John the Baptist was plagued with doubts. His doubt was probably brought on by his imprisonment. Languishing in the prison where he would soon be executed, John began to wonder if Jesus really was the Christ. His doubts about Jesus were also more than likely occasioned by his faulty expectations of what the Messiah would do. John was expecting Jesus to bring judgment, but Jesus did not appear to have any interest in setting up a political kingdom that would defeat its enemies. So John, the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, began to doubt.

John did the right thing with his doubts. He took them to Jesus and so should we. But notice how Jesus helped John with his doubts. He gave John fuel to fire his faith. Jesus gave John evidence of his person and work, so that his faith would have a solid footing.

Jesus pointed John to all the works that he was doing in fulfillment of Scripture: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.” He also gave John a beatitude: “And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

Our faith is not based on a blind, irrational leap. Our faith is not based on turning off our minds. Our faith is based on eyewitness testimony. John would overcome his doubts by believing the witness of those who saw and heard Jesus, who by his works and words fulfilled Scripture. The same is true of us today. Our faith is based on the reliable testimony of those eyewitnesses who heard and saw Jesus, and then lived for the truth of what they saw and heard, even to the point of death.

Blessed the Man who Is in Jesus

To the tune: LAUDA ANIMA. Based on Luke 7:18-35. Words: William Weber, 2011.

v. 1
Blessed the man who is in Jesus,
doubting not He is the Christ.
Trusts the testimony to Him
from disciples’ ears and eyes.
Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are we in Jesus Christ.

v. 2
Jesus came exerting power,
miracles confirmed the truth,
that He was the Lord incarnate,
bringing to us wondrous news.
Alleuia, alleluia.
Jesus, Lord, we come to You.

v. 3
John prepared the way before Him,
pointing to the Lamb of God,
calling all to true repentance,
to embrace the Son of God.
Alleluia, alleluia.
Come to Christ with fear and awe.

v. 4
Not all men will come to Jesus,
some reject the Father’s Son.
But the contrite and the humble,
find delight in what He’s done.
Alleluia, alleluia.
Hide in Christ, the Righteous One.

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