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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#974. The real Jesus causes some to stumble (23/1/24)

Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily Devotional, where we continue in our series: Luke Exploring Who Jesus is. Please share this devotional with anyone you think would find it helpful.

‘At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.  So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.  Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”’ (Luke 7:21-23)

Lesson: As with John, the real Jesus can be a stumbling block to many as He acts in ways that we didn’t expect. Let’s endeavour to learn about and worship Him so as to lead others to the real Jesus.  


To listen to this devotional, go to:


Luke wants us, the readers, and John to be clear that, yes, Jesus is the promised Saviour and Messiah. He is Emanuel, God with us. Luke begins his response to John’s doubts (see yesterday’d devotional) with a description of Jesus’ many miracles. The objective truth of Jesus’ great authority and power are to be believed over John’s, and our, subjective feelings and doubts. 


Having listed the amazing works of God’s Kingdom that He was doing, Jesus ends with this admonition:

Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

Jesus knows that many, including John and you and me can stumble over the real Jesus. The real Jesus does not always act according to our will and presumptions. He will not defeat the Romans and restore the Kingdom of Israel as many expect and this may well have been the big stumbling block for Judas who was greedy for power and money. He will not rescue John or Peter from persecution leading to doubt and denial. He will die on the cross which, we are told:

‘Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.’ (1 Corinthians 1:22-23) 

He will be a stumbling block to many as He breaks many of the traditions of the religious leaders and eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners. He’s a stumbling block to many because He doesn’t immediately end all suffering in the world not realising that when He does so, He will bring them into judgment for their contribution! Mike McKinley writes: 

‘Jesus did not meet John’s expectations of what the Messiah would be like. And as followers of Christ, we must realise that Jesus may not always meet our expectations. He may not do for us what we would want a deliverer to do; he may not take away a difficult situation or heal a broken relationship in the way that we would hope. He may deem it best for his power to be displayed in your weakness rather than in your strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). He may call you to love people that you would rather not love (Luke 6:27-31). Following Jesus means you may get the unexpected, because Jesus does not always go the way we would expect him to go.’

Response

As with John, the real Jesus can be a stumbling block to many as He acts in ways that we didn’t expect. As we go through this gospel, let’s dig deep and prayerfully so as to see Christ more clearly so as to love Him more dearly. Let’s endeavour to learn about and worship Him so as to lead others to the real Jesus. 

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals.


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

This week in our devotionals and in this CG study, we will be learning from the account of John's doubts and how we can deal with our, and help others with their, temptation to doubt Jesus.


Please read Luke 7:18-35 (We will be focussing on verses 18-21)

Note: Firstly, encourage the group to use the devotionals so as to cover more aspects of this text.

  1. Why do you think that John is doubting his conviction about Jesus being the promised Messiah/Christ?

  2. Have you ever experienced doubts in your faith?

  3. If, like John, you, or someone you know is being tempted to doubt Jesus, what lessons does this text teach us about how to be restored in faith?

  4. SIV - What does this text teach us about how we can help unbelievers or 'prodigals' to come to faith?

  5. SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ this week?

  6. SIV - Lets now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.

  7. Let's pray for one another our friends whom we know to be tempted to doubt or who have fallen away from faith.

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