Highlights from last year’s weekly Bible studies on The Humanity of Jesus
2/18 – Luke 17
Luke 15 and 16 talk about salvation, and Luke 17 follows them with the way to live after salvation. Here He teaches his disciples concerning forgiving one another (17:1-6), being faithful in service (17:7-10), and forsaking the soul-life (17:20-37). Verses 11-19 are an account of salvation, where ten lepers were outwardly cleansed, but only one who returned to the Lord was fully healed (17:19). This was because he had seen who the Lord was, and so he came back to Him and was saved through his faith.
In 17:20-37, a warning is given concerning the second coming of the Lord. It will be sudden; two women will be grinding at the mill, one will be taken up, but the other will be left. The same thing would also happen to two men in the field (17:34-36). The ones who were taken up at the Son’s coming were those who were willing to lose their soul-lives – their desires for the entangling things of the world. They were so occupied with the things of this life that they were not ready to give them up for Him. In the example of Lot’s wife, because she loved the life she had lived in Sodom, she looked back as they were fleeing, even though she had been warned not to do so. As a consequence, she became a pillar of salt, tasteless salt that could not be used by the Lord (Luke 14:35), and lost her soul-life. For “whoever seeks to preserve his soul-life will lost it, and whoever loses it will preserve it alive” (17:33).
2/11 – Luke 16
The first section from 16:1-13 is a warning to us that although we must be prudent in our dealings with money, we cannot serve two masters (16:13). We cannot serve God and mammon, that is, money. Money has the ability to occupy us and usurp us, taking our heart away from the Lord; thus, in order to serve Him fully, we must overcome the outward attractiveness of mammon. These were also words that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, who had become occupied with such things are were not able to receive Him (16:14-18).
Verses 19-31 describe a story told by Jesus concerning the way to salvation. The rich man didn’t suffer punishment because he was rich during his lifetime, and neither was Lazarus given a place with Abraham because he was poor and suffered much during his lifetime. 15:29-31 clearly indicate that salvation comes by way of hearing the word of God, which Lazarus had done, but the rich man had rejected. The Lord Jesus also declared that if the people would “not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead” (15:31). We can see that this very statement proved true when He was crucified on the cross and resurrected.
2/4 – Luke 15
In Luke 15, Jesus presents three parables that unveil the saving love of the Triune God towards sinners. In the first parable, a shepherd leaves his ninety-nine sheep to find one lost sheep, and he carries it back on his shoulders, rejoicing (15:1-7). In the second parable, a woman lights a lamp and carefully sweeps the whole house to find one lost coin, and she rejoices when it is finally found (15:8-10). In the third parable, a prodigal son wastes his inheritance on worldly pleasures and is reduced to nothing. He returns home with the intention of asking for forgiveness and a place as one of his father’s servants, but instead, he is met by his father running to him and restoring his place as a son (15:11-32).
In each of these cases, we are the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son, who are sought out by the shepherd, the woman, and the father. Actually, the seekers here represent the Triune God – the shepherd represents the Son, Jesus Christ (see also John 10:14), the woman sweeping represents the Spirit (see also Romans 8:27), and the father represents the Father. This shows that the entire Triune God seeks out each one of us specifically, to save us and to restore us back to Himself!
1/28 – Luke 14
In verses 14 – 24, Jesus tells a parable about a man who gave a great dinner and invited many, but these invited ones declined the invitation and gave excuses that they had others things to tend to. Angered, the master of the house charged his slaves to go out and “bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame” (14:21). After these ones came in, there was still more room, so the master told his slaves to “go out into the roads and hedges” (14:23) to invite many more. This great dinner is a picture of God’s salvation: the Jews had turned away from Jesus, and so God extended His salvation even to the despised Gentiles. We are the poor and crippled and blind and lame ones, the ones who live in the roads and hedges. God’s salvation had room for so many, and yet there was always room for more!
Following this parable, the Lord Jesus taught the way to follow Him. He warned that those one who loved any person or matter – “even his own soul-life” – more than Christ “cannot be My disciple” (14:26). Even though we may be saved and have come in to this great dinner, we must be careful of the things that would distract us from God. Just like the guests who turned down the master’s invitation, we may become occupied with our possessions, other people, or our work. To follow the Lord requires us to pay a price. If we are faithful to answer the Lord’s call and give Him the first place in our lives, He will be faithful to fill all our needs.
1/21 – Luke 13
Welcome back to the new semester! In Luke 13, we again see the Lord Jesus healing on the Sabbath (13:10-17). The ruler of the synagogue highly valued the keeping of the Sabbath, but Jesus considered healing the woman of her illness to be of much greater importance. Without life, keeping the law is just a dead and empty practice, but Jesus came to give life!
We also see in the chapter that the way to enter into the kingdom of God is by the narrow door: Jesus said, “Struggle to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will seek to enter, yet will not be able” (13:24). This narrow entry deals not only with the outward conduct but also with the inward motive (footnote from the Recovery Version) of our heart. We not only need to enter the narrow gate, but after entering, we must also walk on the constricted way. The Lord cares not for outward forms and law-keeping if the inward motive of our heart is not one with God. Lord, keep us in the narrow way, the way of life! Make our heart’s desire one with Yours.
12/10 – Luke 12
In this chapter, the Lord Jesus tells us that when we bear His testimony and meet with opposition, we should not be anxious, but rather we should trust in Him. “Are not five sparrows sold for two assaria? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But even the hairs of your head have all been numbered. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows” (12:6-7). We need not be anxious even in deciding what we should say, “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that hour what should be said” (12:12).
The next section (verses 13-34) is a warning not to be covetous or occupied with our needs, “For all these things the Gentiles of the world are anxiously seeking, but your Father knows that you need these things” (12:30). If we seek His kingdom, all these things shall be added to us (12:31). In verses 35-48, the Lord says that we must be watching and ready for His coming back. The exhortations about not being anxious and not being covetous are for our watching for the Lord. He has already taken care of all our needs, so now we just need to be watchful and vigilant to seek Him.
12/3 – Luke 11
Luke 11 begins with the Lord’s Prayer (11:1-4), and the order seen here is very important: He first teaches the disciples to remember the Father and pray for the Father’s will first (11:2). When we pray, we likewise should place God’s desire and will first before our own. Next, we pray for the needs of today – we do not need to be anxious about tomorrow, the day after, or the month after – we only need to pray for a daily supply of what the Lord will give to us (11:3). The part that follows deals with repenting of our sins and asking for forgiveness from the Father (11:4). The verses that follow show that He knows our needs and if we ask Him to fill our needs, He will give us so much more; He supplies us with the Holy Spirit! (11:13).
In verses 33 through 54, Jesus spoke of the importance of having a proper seeing. Because “the lamp of the body is your eye” (11:34), we need to keep our eyes single and solely on Christ in order to have a clear and focused sight that fills our whole being with light. This light is Christ. When he spoke to the Pharisees, He pointed out that they only “cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but [their] inside is full of extortion and wickedness” (11:39). Even though they did “good” things outwardly, they were empty inside and the motive of their heart was not clean and pure. We must both have a single vision for Christ and be filled with His life that our motives and content of our being would just be Christ.
11/18 – Luke 10
Similar to the start of the previous chapter, the beginning of chapter 10 shows the Lord Jesus appointing not just 12, but 70 to go out and proclaim the gospel (10:1-2). The proclamation of the gospel was multiplying as Jesus called more and more people to His ministry. He charged them, “Go; behold, I send you as lambs in the midst of wolves” (10:3), knowing full well that they would be met with opposition, just as He also was being rejected by many; however, the sent ones only needed to trust in the Lord’s word because He would take care of any needs they may have (10:4-11).
Probably one of the most well-known parables, that of the Good Samaritan, is found in this chapter. Here, the Lord Jesus spoke to a lawyer, a man well versed in the Judaic law. When Jesus told him to love his neighbor, the lawyer, “wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?'” (10:29). Jesus told him this parable to show that what the lawyer needed was not someone to love. Rather, his need was for Someone to love him first. The man beaten on the road represented the lawyer, who would not be helped by religious law (the priest in 10:31) or by doing good things (the Levite in 10:32). Only the Lord Jesus (the good Samaritan) could and would help a low and fallen person like him and bring him to an inn (the church) to save him and to heal him (10:33-35).
11/11 – Luke 9
Luke 9 begins with Jesus sending out the twelve to proclaim the gospel to the people; from this point on, Jesus began charging others with the ministry work (9:1-2). In verses 27 through 36, Jesus ascended a mountain with a few of His disciples. There He was transfigured and began to converse with Moses and Elijah. When Peter woke up and saw this, he suggested, “‘let us make three tents, one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah,’ not knowing what he was saying” (9:33). In this way, Peter was putting the Lord Jesus on the same plane as Moses and Elijah: he was equating Christ, the very Son of God (as the disciples themselves realized earlier in 9:20) with the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah) of the old Judaic religion. The Lord Jesus is and was actually greater than both the law and the prophets because He came to replace them with His very life!
His perfect humanity was demonstrated in verses 51 through 56, when He was rejected by the Samaritans. James and John (called the “sons of thunder” in Mark 3:17), suggested that they “command fire to come down from heaven and consume them” (9:54), but the Lord Jesus responded, “The Son of Man has not come to destroy men’s lives by to save them” (9:56). In verse 20, He is revealed to be the Son of God; here in verse 56, He refers to Himself as the Son of Man. Hallelujah! He is God, and He is man!
11/4 – Luke 8
Just a brief summary is not enough to unveil all of the riches in this chapter! But here are some highlights:
- The parable of the sower and the seeds (8:4-18): the sower is Christ, who sows the word of God into our hearts (represented by the different types of soil/ground), but when we hear His word to us, how do we receive it? In what condition is our heart – is it hard and dry? Is it full of hidden rocks and motives? Is it occupied by anxiety? Or is it soft and open for His word to grow and produce fruit in us? Oftentimes, our heart goes through all of these conditions, and the Lord warns us, “take heed how you hear” (8:18). How do you hear?
- The calming of the wind and waves (8:22-25): as they were crossing the sea in a boat, a storm came upon them and the disciples woke Jesus, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” (8:24). After the Lord rebuked the wind and the waves, the storm ceased, and He turned to His disciples, asking, “Where is your faith?” (8:25). The disciples had little faith that they would make it to the other side safely, even though they had the Lord Jesus in their boat. We have the very God of the universe within us! We must learn to just trust in Him.
- Healing the woman with a flow of blood (8:40-48): there was a great crowd pressing upon Jesus, yet He felt a little power go out of Him when the woman touched the fringe of His garment. Are we like those in the crowd, who press upon the Lord but don’t really touch Him? Or are we like the woman who only touched the very edge of His garment? In doing so, she touched life and was healed by her faith.
10/29 – Luke 7
In the first section of this chapter, a Roman centurion asks the Lord to heal his slave. He says, “…let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority” (7:7-8). This man was a Gentile, yet he recognized that Jesus was under the Father’s authority, and was sent by Him to do His will on the earth. The centurion believed that Jesus could heal his slave with just a word, and the Lord marveled at his faith (7:9).
Later in the chapter, we see two more instances concerning faith: John the Baptist was in prison and sent his disciples to Jesus with a question to provoke the Lord to release him from prison. However, the Lord replied, “blessed is he who is not stumbled because of Me” (7:23). The second instance involves the woman who poured the alabaster flask upon the Lord (7:38), to whom Jesus said, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (7:50). Out of this woman’s faith came love, and as a result, she had peace to follow Him. John the Baptist, the very one who had baptized Jesus and witnessed the heavens opening up and the Spirit descending upon Him, had little faith; however, this sinful woman who was so far from God had much greater faith than he, and through it was able to receive His salvation and His peace.
10/22 – Luke 6
Two instances of Jesus acting against the regulations of the Sabbath are recorded in this chapter: in picking grain to eat from the field (6:1-4) and in healing a man’s withered hand (6-11). The Sabbath was originally established by God for man’s rest, satisfaction, and enjoyment; the Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath. The pharisees were so concerned with keeping the law, but Jesus was concerned with giving life and satisfaction. When the pharisees criticized Him, He replied, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Hallelujah! Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath to bring life to us!
In this chapter, we also see the matter of prayer. The Lord Jesus prayed for a whole night to seek the Father’s will in appointing the twelve apostles. We can actually see throughout all of the Gospels that Jesus always went away to pray to the Father privately and seek His Father’s will. By prayer, we too can know God’s heart desire and align our will with His.
10/15 – Luke 5
In Luke 5, the Lord Jesus comes personally to Simon (Peter) and calls him from his occupation as a fisherman. Jesus cared for the fishermen’s needs by providing the big catch of fish and then calling them to follow Him and “[catch] men alive” (5:10), that is, to become ones who preach the gospel and bring others to Christ. In order for these men to drop their means of living to follow Jesus indicates that there must have been something very attracting about His person.
Later in the chapter, Jesus heals a man suffering from leprosy, a very contagious, deforming, skin disease. Lepers were kept apart from society and nobody would touch them lest they also become infected themselves. However, Jesus did not just speak a word to heal this man; He was compassionate and healed the leper with a touch (5:13). In the case of the paralytic (5:17-26), Jesus forgave him his sins, freeing him from the bonds of sin and allowing him to walk again. The leper and the paralytic are pictures of our own condition before the Lord today, but when we meet Jesus, He heals us of our sicknesses and frees us from the bondage of sin! He does not call us to follow a set of rules and regulations, but rather to feast with Him and just enjoy His presence (5:34)!
10/8 – Luke 4
This chapter begins with Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Even though the devil tried to provoke the Lord into proving that He was the Son of God, each time, Jesus answered him from the words of the Scripture and from the position of a man. For example, when told to turn the stones into bread that He may eat, He replied, “Man shall not live on bread alone,” indicating that He was living on earth as a man. The Lord Jesus was a real man and lived like one – He even became hungry (4:2) – what can be more human that this?
We also saw here that Jesus declared that He was the fulfillment of the Jubilee (Luke 4:21). In the Old Testament, when the children of Israel entered into the good land, each family from each tribe was apportioned a piece of the land for their living. Over the years, however, some became lazy and did not work on their land. They had to sell off their land, and eventually themselves into slavery, in order to have food and live. The year of jubilee, however, was the year when each of the Israelite’s portions were restored to them and the slaves were released and returned to their families. In Luke, the Lord Jesus proclaimed that He was the fulfillment of the Jubilee, “sent…to proclaim release to the captives” (4:18). When Jesus died on the cross, we were released from the bonds of sin, the world, and the self, and we now have our possession – God Himself for our enjoyment – restored to us! When we turn to Him, He frees us from all of our troubles, homework, exams, work – anything that imprisons us – and He brings us into the enjoyment of the good land, which is Christ Himself!
10/1 – Luke 3
In Luke 3, we see the John the Baptist “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins” (3:3). As it was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, he came to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus. After Jesus was baptized, the rest of the chapter records His genealogy, starting with Jesus Himself and tracing it all the way back to Adam, and finally to God.
This genealogy is different from that in Matthew 1, which begins from Abraham and goes forward until Jesus. As a book about Jesus Christ as the rightful heir to the throne of God, Matthew’s genealogy focuses on the royal lineage. On the other hand, book of Luke was written about Jesus as the Man-Savior, with an emphasis on His humanity. As such, it is very significant that His human lineage traces all the way back to fallen Adam. There are 4 especially prominent figures in His genealogy: God, Adam, Abraham, and Jesus Christ. God created man, but man fell (Adam); then, man was called by God and given the blessings of the promise (Abraham); and now man can obtain salvation through believing in Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord!
9/24 – Luke 2
Luke 2 talks about Jesus’s birth, His presentation in Jerusalem, and His growing up.
- In this chapter, we see that the census decreed by the emperor caused Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem, and this allowed the prophesies in the book of Isaiah concerning Christ’s birth to be fulfilled. He was born in a lowly state (2:7) but was proclaimed as the Christ (2:10-11).
- When He was brought to Jerusalem to be presented according to the law of Moses, two of those serving in the temple, Simeon and Anna, recognized that this baby was the Christ (2:25-38). In order to be able to recognize the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the coming Christ, they must have studied and known the Scriptures very well.
- Jesus grew up living a normal life, yet neither His humanity nor His divinity was compromised. At twelve years old, His parents searched for three days before they found Him in the temple, “sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them and questioning them” (2:46). He told His parents, “Why is it that you were seeking Me? Did you not know that I must be in the things of my Father?” (2:49). Afterwards, He returned with them to Nazareth “and was subject to them” (2:51). Jesus was still obedient to His parents, and he lived a proper human life even as a child.
The Bible says that He grew up (2:52); this One had to grow up just as we did. Thus, He is able to understand everything we go through in our own lives because He has experienced it already.
9/17 – Luke 1
It was great seeing everyone at our first Bible study of the semester! In Luke chapter 1, we saw that Jesus is a man (Luke 1:31), but Jesus is also divine, having the life of God (Luke 1:34-35). We also found that there were several differences between the conception of John the Baptist and the conception of Jesus:
John the Baptist:
- Begotten by man
- One nature = human nature
- Born of a woman advanced in age
- Born in the line of priests
- Begotten by the Holy Spirit
- Two natures = human nature and divine nature
- Born of a virgin
- Born in a less prestigious family (although in the direct line of David, of the kings)
Thus, Jesus is 100% God and 100% man, and as such, He is the perfect Man with a perfect humanity. As we continue to read through the gospel of Luke in the coming weeks, we will see how Jesus’s human living presents to us a pattern of how a man can express God.