(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. 7 (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. 1-10) I like to read the story about this centurion, and have great respect for him. At that time Roman soldiers were generally known to be bullies but this officer was different. He loved and highly valued his servant. Upon seeing his servant dying of illness, he hurriedly asked the Jewish elders to find Jesus. We learned of this centurion’s character based on what the elders described— he loved the Jewish people and built a synagogue for them; what’s even more worth mentioning is his respect for Jesus and the kind of faith that he professed when he said to Jesus, “say the word, and let my servant be healed.”
Do pay attention to how the centurion did not self-proclaim to be a “loving” person, nor did he just talk about it with no action. He had good deeds for his servants and people, and he earned the recognition of the elders. He had shown humility from his interceding on behalf of his servants, and his faith was ratified by Jesus, who said that he had never seen such faith in Israel! Let us learn the lessons of “love”, “humility” and “faith” from this centurion and think about how we can truly practice “love,” “humility,” and “faith” in everyday life. What are some practical actions that we can take?
(vv.11-17) As written in this passage, Jesus and his disciples arrived at the city of Nain and a large crowd of people followed them. When this mighty group of people were approaching the gates of the city, they encountered a funeral procession passing by. Jesus saw and took pity on the mother of the dead. She was a widow and her only son died. Jesus touched the bier and ordered the dead young man to rise. Suddenly the previous moment of grief and sorrow turned into a moment of joy when the widow’s son came back alive again because of Jesus. The crowd was filled with awe and started praising God, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!”
Do you think that Jesus happened to be in the city of Nain? Is it by coincident that each of us met Jesus? No, Jesus came because he wanted the world to be saved through him, as John 3:17 said, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Jesus came and turned mourning into joy, bringing God’s blessings unto people. Blessed are those who receive Him in faith! Thank you, Jesus, for saving me!
(vv.18-23) John the Baptist was puzzled about the identity of Jesus and then he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Instead of giving a simple response like “Yes, I am!”, Jesus asked John’s disciples to report back to John on what they have seen and heard. It is because the best testimonials came from the sick who were healed and those who were set free spiritually because of Jesus. We may learn more about Jesus and his true identity by referencing the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 29:18-19; 35:5-6; 42:6-7; 61:1-2) for numerous descriptions about the Messiah and the teaching of Jesus in the synagogue of Nazareth (Luke 4:16-21).
When we feel spiritually low or our faith is challenged, we can always rely on God’s word and the living testimonials of God’s work in our lives to reassure us that He is the only Savior to us!
(vv.24-35) When speaking to a crowd about John, Jesus said, “He is more than a prophet” and “among those born of women none is greater than John.” Jesus did not think anything less of John even though John had sent people to inquire about him. Among all the prophets, John was the only one who saw Messiah with his own eyes. John himself had served Jesus by preparing the way before him. And yet when commenting on the people in the kingdom of God (that is, us) Jesus said, “the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Yes, relatively, the grace that we have received from Jesus is much greater than what John had seen, and that is the salvation that He has prepared for us. Through our faith, we are justified, becoming a citizen of the kingdom of God.
However, we must not feel complacent about ourselves just because we are said to be “greater” than John (actually it is God’s grace that is great to us). How can we ever compare to John? John lived his life in modesty, humbly prepared the way for the Lord, and spoke up for justice. By God’s grace, let us look up to John as an example and serve the Lord with all of our hearts faithfully.
(vv. 36-50) This passage was often misinterpreted as “those who are forgiven much, love more, and those who are forgiven little, love little”. It would be a misperception if God’s forgiveness can be redeemed by our deeds. We should note that in the parable, Jesus specifically mentioned that both debtors are “incapable of repaying back.” In other words, no matter how much you do and how much you give, you will never be able to repay what you owe unless the creditor waives the debt!
In this passage, that infamous woman who was known to be a sinner was fully aware of the sins that she had committed. She not only knew that Jesus was able to forgive her, she also believed that she was indeed forgiven by Jesus (note in the last verse, Jesus said “Your faith has saved you”). Therefore, the love she reciprocated for the Lord became deeper. She was “standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.” On the contrary, others who think themselves with fewer sins or not needing much forgiveness are less likely to show their love to the Lord.
Let us remind ourselves again that it is not our merits that deserve God’s blessings. We sincerely express our love to the Lord because we believe and understand God’s gracious forgiveness on us. Let us come before God and read the Bible through daily devotions. Give thanks to Jesus for his grace and salvation for us – unworthy sinners. And may God be pleased with our worshipping, praising and praying.
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?”)