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Share God's forgiveness with yourself

March 26, 2022

Daily Scripture

Luke 11:37 – 12:7

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:


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.

37 While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to share a meal with him, so Jesus went and took his place at the table. 38 When the Pharisee saw that Jesus didn’t ritually purify his hands by washing before the meal, he was astonished.

39 The Lord said to him, “Now, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and platter, but your insides are stuffed with greed and wickedness. 40 Foolish people! Didn’t the one who made the outside also make the inside? 41 Therefore, give to those in need from the core of who you are and you will be clean all over.

42 “How terrible for you Pharisees! You give a tenth of your mint, rue, and garden herbs of all kinds, while neglecting justice and love for God. These you ought to have done without neglecting the others.

43 “How terrible for you Pharisees! You love the most prominent seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.

44 “How terrible for you! You are like unmarked graves, and people walk on them without recognizing it.”

45 One of the legal experts responded, “Teacher, when you say these things, you are insulting us too.”

46 Jesus said, “How terrible for you legal experts too! You load people down with impossible burdens and you refuse to lift a single finger to help them.

47 “How terrible for you! You built memorials to the prophets, whom your ancestors killed. 48 In this way, you testify that you approve of your ancestors’ deeds. They killed the prophets, and you build memorials! 49 Therefore, God’s wisdom has said, ‘I will send prophets and apostles to them and they will harass and kill some of them.’ 50 As a result, this generation will be charged with the murder of all the prophets since the beginning of time. 51 This includes the murder of every prophet—from Abel to Zechariah—who was killed between the altar and the holy place. Yes, I’m telling you, this generation will be charged with it.

52 “How terrible for you legal experts! You snatched away the key of knowledge. You didn’t enter yourselves, and you stood in the way of those who were entering.”

53 As he left there, the legal experts and Pharisees began to resent him deeply and to ask him pointed questions about many things. 54 They plotted against him, trying to trap him in his words.

12:1 When a crowd of thousands upon thousands had gathered so that they were crushing each other, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples: “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees—I mean, the mismatch between their hearts and lives. 2 Nothing is hidden that won’t be revealed, and nothing is secret that won’t be brought out into the open. 3 Therefore, whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and whatever you have whispered in the rooms deep inside the house will be announced from the rooftops.

4 “I tell you, my friends, don’t be terrified by those who can kill the body but after that can do nothing more. 5 I’ll show you whom you should fear: fear the one who, after you have been killed, has the authority to throw you into hell. Indeed, I tell you, that’s the one you should fear. 6 Aren’t five sparrows sold for two small coins [Or two assaria—that is, 1/8 of a day’s wage]? Yet not one of them is overlooked by God. 7 Even the hairs on your head are all counted. Don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

As Jesus moved steadily toward Jerusalem, the tension between the status quo and God’s kingdom kept building. Jesus challenged religious and political leaders who fixated on washing for ritual purity (not for hygiene—they didn’t yet know about viruses). Their only response was to plot against him. Jesus gave a wide-ranging set of warnings against a “mismatch between…hearts and lives” (12:1). He knew that faithfulness and trust flow from the inside out.

  • With powerful people plotting against him, we might think Jesus would be afraid. But he defined “security” very differently than humans typically do. Scholar N. T. Wright summed up his teaching: “One should recognize who the ultimate enemy is. In this picture, God is not the enemy to be feared; he is one to trust, the one who values his children more highly than a whole flock of sparrows, who has the very hairs of our head all numbered.” * How does Jesus’ teaching challenge our culture’s messages about how to attain true security?

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King Jesus, it’s hard for me to make the inside of me match the outside sometimes. Help me desire your kingdom of eternal security and fulfillment above all else. Amen.

GPS Insights

Joshua Clough

Joshua Clough

Joshua serves as the Location Pastor for Resurrection Overland Park in Overland Park, KS. He runs marathons, and because he grew up in Seattle, drinks a lot of coffee.

There is a classic quote I return to time and again. It’s from A. W. Tozer, a pastor who also wrote extensively about the spiritual life, and who earnestly sought to help people follow in the way of Christ. He wrote, “Whatever comes into your heart and mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you.” It’s one of those quotes I came across at some point while reading and it stuck with me. I keep it in front of me as a reminder that what I think, how I think, and who I think about intersects with my thinking about God.

Is God judgmental or invitational? Is God caring and compassionate or does God pull the levers of our lives? Does God forgive us or punish us? Our responses to these questions, and our view of God, say something about us and what is in our hearts.

Our responses also say something about how we view others. I know that when I think of others, I’m prone to judgment or criticism, teasing or, perhaps I think something like, “I would never do that.” I’m still a work in progress! Whatever comes into my heart and mind when I think about God, means that I open or close myself to others. Am I judgmental or invitational? Am I caring and compassionate or prefer to punish others?

We may not even notice this tendency, and yet, it’s part of our human nature. Perhaps this part of our human nature is why Jesus so often debated the Pharisees. It’s not that they were bad people, but what they thought about God closed them off to the outcast, the left out, the outlaw. What about you? When you think about God, does your thought open you to the incredible life-giving grace of life in Christ? What comes into your heart and mind is the most important thing about you!

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* N. T. Wright, Luke for Everyone. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, pp. 149-150.