Seek out voices you haven’t heard

Posted Mar 31, 2022

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Daily Scripture

During Lent, we are using short videos to share a daily idea (linked to the gospel of Luke) on how to grow spiritually. Watch today’s video. Click here or on the image below:

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Note: We are reading the entire gospel of Luke in the GPS. Some day’s readings are longer than usual. We hope you’ll have an extra cup of coffee, or use your lunch break, and read Luke’s entire story of Jesus.

In God’s world, everyone is invited in! Luke 13:31 – 14:24

31 At that time, some Pharisees approached Jesus and said, “Go! Get away from here, because Herod wants to kill you.”

32 Jesus said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Look, I’m throwing out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete my work. 33 However, it’s necessary for me to travel today, tomorrow, and the next day because it’s impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’

34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who were sent to you! How often I have wanted to gather your people just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you didn’t want that. 35 Look, your house is abandoned. I tell you, you won’t see me until the time comes when you say, Blessings on the one who comes in the Lord’s name” [Psalm 118:26].

14:1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to share a meal in the home of one of the leaders of the Pharisees, they were watching him closely. 2 A man suffering from an abnormal swelling of the body was there. 3 Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, “Does the Law allow healing on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they said nothing. Jesus took hold of the sick man, cured him, and then let him go. 5 He said to them, “Suppose your child or ox fell into a ditch on the Sabbath day. Wouldn’t you immediately pull it out?” 6 But they had no response.

7 When Jesus noticed how the guests sought out the best seats at the table, he told them a parable. 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding celebration, don’t take your seat in the place of honor. Someone more highly regarded than you could have been invited by your host. 9 The host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give your seat to this other person.’ Embarrassed, you will take your seat in the least important place. 10 Instead, when you receive an invitation, go and sit in the least important place. When your host approaches you, he will say, ‘Friend, move up here to a better seat.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11 All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up.”

12 Then Jesus said to the person who had invited him, “When you host a lunch or dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers and sisters, your relatives, or rich neighbors. If you do, they will invite you in return and that will be your reward. 13 Instead, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, crippled, lame, and blind. 14 And you will be blessed because they can’t repay you. Instead, you will be repaid when the just are resurrected.”

15 When one of the dinner guests heard Jesus’ remarks, he said to Jesus, “Happy are those who will feast in God’s kingdom.” 16 Jesus replied, “A certain man hosted a large dinner and invited many people. 17 When it was time for the dinner to begin, he sent his servant to tell the invited guests, ‘Come! The dinner is now ready.’ 18 One by one, they all began to make excuses. The first one told him, ‘I bought a farm and must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I bought five teams of oxen, and I’m going to check on them. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21 When he returned, the servant reported these excuses to his master. The master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go quickly to the city’s streets, the busy ones and the side streets, and bring the poor, crippled, blind, and lame.’ 22 The servant said, ‘Master, your instructions have been followed and there is still room.’ 23 The master said to the servant, ‘Go to the highways and back alleys and urge people to come in so that my house will be filled. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’”

Daily Reflection

Jesus spoke four “laments” in Luke over Jerusalem (verses 33-35; cf. also 19:41-44, 21:20-24 and 23:27-31.) Jesus “spoiled” a Sabbath dinner by healing—again. Pharisees loved to imagine God’s end-time feast (verse 15, an image from Isaiah 25:6-10). Isaiah said it would be for “the whole earth;” the religious leaders limited it to their own people. But Jesus said since the chosen didn’t come God invited street people!

  • Preacher Brennan Manning wrote, “After reading the entire Gospel of Luke for the first time, a post-Valley girl said: ‘Wow! Like Jesus has this totally intense thing for ragamuffins.’” * We are all spiritually “poor, crippled, blind and lame.” God’s grace gives us seats at the “banquet.” Can you see the ways that, before God, you are a “ragamuffin” who desperately, gratefully needs grace?
  • Have you ever known (maybe even been) a person like the ones Jesus noticed who aggressively “sought out the best seats at the table”? In what ways can that attitude show itself in school, the workplace, family, even church? What’s the difference between healthy boldness to make your gifts available to bless others, and the kind of self-promotion Jesus warned against?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, yes! I want to be a guest at your great end-time feast. Give me a heart that will rejoice in being there even if some of the other guests might surprise me at first. Amen.


* Manning, Brennan. The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out (p. 51). 1990/2000/2005: The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Music

Click here to watch songwriter Shalinn Silkwood share the story behind COR Worship Collective song "Never Forsaken"

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GPS Guide

Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey. If you have a question or comment about the GPS Guide, please send it to GPS@cor.org.

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

When you imagine heaven, who do you see there? Relatives who have passed on? Dear friends? Perhaps some well-known spiritual leaders such as Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Yeah. Me, too. Obviously, there will be more people there – tremendously more. But the crowd I see in my mind is a sea of blurred out faces. They are unknown souls who have been enlightened with the grace of God. It’s a beautiful site.

But sometimes I wonder what would happen if those blurred out faces came into focus. Would I be surprised as to whom I saw? And I hesitate to ask, but would I be disappointed? I think the problem with imagining heaven is that our scope of who we believe is there might be way too small. If I had to guess, we mostly imagine “good, nice people” have passed through those pearly gates.

It reminds me of a conversation I once had with some friends. We happened to be discussing a horrific and violent crime and whether or not the person who did it could be forgiven by God. One of them spoke up and said, “I hope not. I could never believe in a god who could forgive that.” And there’s a bit of me that wants to agree with her. But that would mean that God’s grace is only strong enough to forgive most sins but not all sins. Could that be true? Is he that powerless? Is that what even the bible would point to? For example, we read in the Old Testament that David took Uriah’s wife and then when he knew that he’d be caught because Bathsheba was pregnant, David schemed to have Uriah killed in battle. This isn’t just a story. That happened. There was a David. He sheepishly killed a man to cover up his own transgression. Is David in heaven? Could God forgive him? God not only forgave him, but the lineage of Jesus runs through David’s tainted blood – along with a whole host of other sketchy characters, some with violent and ugly pasts.

Think about it for a moment. Imagine someone you despise, perhaps even someone who has done something horrific. Could you ever imagine them in heaven? I know for some of us this can be difficult. We want God to be on “our side,” not theirs. That’s us projecting our hopes and wishes onto God. Don’t feel too guilty about this projection. There’s a long history of people in the bible projecting something similar.

But I also would think that God wants us to know that while he truly and deeply cares about us as individuals, he’s not there to be on “our side” or to only redeem those we would find appropriate to be redeemable. If you’re like me, this notion is a bit disappointing. But let’s step back for a moment and contemplate what it would mean for God to forgive those outside of what we find acceptable. It would mean that God’s grace is robust and expansive. It’s well beyond sufficient and capable. It’s powerful and potent. It means that God’s grace can pierce even the darkest of spots in the darkest of souls to shine out his goodness and light. And it means that this same amazing grace is mighty enough to wash over the dirtiest parts of you and me. That’s the grace of our true and living God.

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