Many things are needed to sustain physical life but only one is needed to sustain spiritual life: the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. As Simeon testified at the temple, Jesus is all a believer needs to live in hope, grow in grace, and die in peace. No matter what the situation, He is enough.
With this sermon, we come to the close of Luke’s gospel, but not the end of the story of Christ’s earthly ministry. In this last section of Luke’s portrait of Jesus, the Son of Man, the Son of God, we’ll see that from his passion through the resurrection, and to his ascension, Jesus is giving hope to people because he has been the fulfillment of God’s age-old promises to deliver his people through his Messiah. We’ll see that the culmination of Jesus’ earthly ministry gives us hope and certainty that God will accomplish all of his divine plan of redemption through Christ.
Why did God announce the greatest news of all time to some of the least-respected people of the day? So the world might know that even the worst of sinners may have peace with God through Jesus Christ. God has done it all for His glory and His grace has become our joy!
Mary rejoiced by focusing on God rather than herself. Zechariah took it one step further by specifically focusing on God’s past, present, and future grace through our Lord Jesus Christ. No matter what we face in a given day, our sure hope is found in what God has done, is doing, or will yet do in Christ for His glory.
After encountering the angel Gabriel, Mary did not focus on her poverty, her obscurity, her weakness, or her impending unwed pregnancy and social rejection. She focused on the Lord and His promise and her heart was filled with joy. Our focus determines our joy. When we focus on ourselves, our misery is compounded. But when we focus on our Savior, His limitless joy becomes ours to the praise of His glorious grace.
Among the arsenal of spiritual weapons at our disposal through the blood of Christ, Paul saves the most powerful for last: prayer to our Father in heaven. With clarity and simplicity, he shows us how to pray, how to ask for prayer, and how to follow-up on prayer requests in a way that strengthens the Church and brings glory to our Savior.
When rebellious Jonah is rescued from the sea by a giant fish, he confesses that salvation is of the Lord, implying that God delivers people from trouble as he pleases. As we study Jonah’s prayer more closely, we will find both encouragement and correction for our own prayers in the midst of distress, especially as we consider the One whose cry for help went unanswered for our sakes.
The onslaught of our spiritual battle is fierce and never-ending. Attacks come from many directions and the fog of war often leaves us disoriented and seemingly alone. But God has provided us with impenetrable spiritual armor through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. In our Savior, we may resist every evil attack and stand firm through the strength of the One who first stood firm for us.
In the last sermon, we saw that the time for Jesus to be taken up to heaven had drawn near, so he resolutely set out for Jerusalem (9:51). While many events and teaching opportunities occurred in the intervening time (9:52-19:1), we will look at several key episodes in Jesus’ life as he approaches and enters Jerusalem during Passion Week. These incidents will again highlight important themes characteristic of Luke’s portrait of Jesus the Messiah.
The end of Ephesians tells us we’re in the fight of our lives; a fight so fierce that no unaided Christian can prevail. But God has provided a sure defense through the shielding blood of Christ. Against such divine armor no attack can succeed. We take our battle stations by faith, resting in the strength of the One who forever triumphed on the cross.