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.
‘After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”’ (Luke 7:24-28)
Lesson: True love, Like Jesus’ love, serves and honours people even if they may have failed us.
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Too often one overhears a group of people on the bus, sat at a coffee table… chatting and very often the topic of conversation is badmouthing others. One only has to go on social media to see the amount of slander that goes on even in the name of God! This is a common human habit that we can all fall into.
It’s a lesson in love and grace as we see Jesus’ gracious response to John’s doubts. Rather than receive John’s questioning as an insult, He seeks to serve and restore him. Agape love is modelled on Christ and is seeking the best of another even those who don’t deserve it. As with the restoration of Peter after his denial of Jesus, John is honoured by God even though he has made a serious mistake. Much gossip is about tearing people down, but here we see a beautiful example of how we should talk behind one-another’s backs! Jesus honours John and reaffirms John’s identity as the prophet who was sent to prepare the way for Him. True love will speak what is helpful about others even though we may be an annoyed with them! We see this in the relationship between Paul and Timothy as he honours Timothy:
‘I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.’ (Philippians 2:19-22)
Earlier in Luke, Jesus commands us:
‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ (Luke 6:31)
Surely, this ‘Golden Rule’ should, like Christ, include our speech as we honour people who are not present and speak of them as we would want them to speak of us.
True love, Like Jesus’, serves and honours people even if they may have failed us. Do you gossip good things behind other’s backs or are you just a gossip? How can you honour people and refrain from dishonouring people? Shakespeare wrote about the importance of a good reputation:
‘Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing; 'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands: But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him And makes me poor indeed.’
In Proverbs, we read:
‘A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.’ (Proverbs 22:1)
When we rubbish people and speak badly about them it sticks in the minds of the people with whom we share, and this is also true when we ‘polish up’ the good qualities of people in front of others. John the Baptist was not perfect but He was honoured by Christ and may we learn to imitate Him.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
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.
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.
Why do you think that John is doubting his conviction about Jesus being the promised Messiah/Christ?
Have you ever experienced doubts in your faith?
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?
SIV - What does this text teach us about how we can help unbelievers or 'prodigals' to come to faith?
SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ this week?
SIV - Lets now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.
Let's pray for one another our friends whom we know to be tempted to doubt or who have fallen away from faith.