(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: Luke Ch. 18 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
（vv. 1-17）Jesus spoke of two parables in this scriptural passage. The first parable is about a widow and an unrighteous judge. Jesus told this parable to drive the message home: pray without ceasing, do not lose hope. By comparing an unrighteous judge to a righteous God, we are told that an indifferent judge who neither fears God or man will handle a widow’s case because of her tireless relentless pleading; even more so will a righteous, merciful God who loves all of mankind!
To those who have been wronged for some time, trust that God hears us and vengeance is His to repay (Romans 12:19). Pray without ceasing, do not be discouraged.
In the next parable, Jesus spoke to those who, being self-righteous despised others. Brothers and sisters, we must always remind ourselves not to be self-righteous. Think about the words the Pharisees prayed and contemplate, re-examine yourself. Think about the saving grace of Jesus: It’s not about changing us on the outside, but a change within that begins with a regenerate heart, restored into the loving relationship we are meant to have with our God.
Are you content with your “righteousness” because you have not blackmailed or committed acts of injustice? Are you content with your “righteousness” because you have not committed adultery or extorted like the tax collector? Are you prideful because you attend gatherings regularly and tithe?
Let us take a moment to reflect over our sin before God and plead with Him, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner!”. This kind of sacrifice is more pleasing to God and is also the reason we need to humble ourselves before a righteous and Holy God. Our salvation is through Jesus Christ alone!
（vv. 18-30） In the next section of Chapter 18, we read about the dialogue between Jesus and the young ruler. Jesus was not giving him a hard time. As we read previously from Luke 14:33, Jesus said “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33) Jesus was simply telling him the truth. A person who sought to inherit eternal life and enter the kingdom of God must mindfully and wholeheartedly follow Jesus. Anything that is more important to him than Jesus will deter him from following Jesus wholeheartedly. When Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” How did Jesus respond? “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
(vv. 31-34) From verse 31, Jesus said “See, we are going up to Jerusalem”. For the last time, Jesus foretold the suffering He must endure to redeem us. At the same time, we also read from Luke’s recorded account about events that will transpire during His last trip to Jerusalem. This includes:
- Going up to Jerusalem (Luke 18:35-19:44)
- Being delivered to the gentiles (Luke 19:45-22:54)
- Ridiculed, abused, beaten (Luke 22:54-23:43)
- Killed (Luke 23:44-23:56)
- Resurrected (Luke 24:1-12)
（vv. 35-43） “Your faith has made you well”, Jesus said to the blind beggar in Jericho. According to Luke, Jesus uttered the same words to a woman who was called a sinner by the Pharisee Simon (Luke 7:50), a woman who suffered from hemorrhage (Luke 8:48) and a Samaritan who was healed of leprosy and returned to thank Jesus (Luke 17:19).
We can see that Jesus did not abandon those who were marginalized in the society or were discriminated amongst themselves. Jesus said “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
Brothers and sisters, each of us may have experienced a dark past, bound by sin. By believing in Jesus, we have a new life just as His promised us. He has brought us from death to life. Glory and praise be to our God! Set our hearts to follow Him! If you are still burdened by your past, remember that Jesus has paid the price and has risen again victoriously!
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)