Set Your Mind on Christ Challenge – Day 1

It’s an exciting start to the “Set Your Mind on Christ” Challenge, where we’re exposing ourselves to who Jesus is and what he’s done (via the gospel of Luke) so that we can set our minds on him and be changed through the process. Below you’ll find some of my observations on Luke 1-3 and how God is working on me through this. We’d love to have some good interaction over this, so be sure to leave your comments and questions.

UPDATE: Here are a couple of helpful online commentaries on Luke: J.C. Ryle, IVP New Testament Commentary

Observations

  • Our understanding of who Jesus is comes from a detailed historical account, designed to help us know what we believe with certainty (1:1-4).
  • God can do impossible things, like allow senior citizens and virgins to get pregnant (1:24-38).
  • Jesus is a Savior (1:47, 2:11).
  • Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham and the Old Testament prophets (1:55, 69-75).
  • Though he was disciplined by the Lord for his unbelief, Zechariah was filled with joy at the “tender mercy” of God (1:78).
  • Jesus was born in poverty and humiliating circumstances. He was born in humility (2:7, 24).
  • Jesus was first revealed to insignificant shepherds. There is hope for us ordinary people (2:8-20).
  • Jesus would be a light for revelation to the Gentiles — he is a Savior for the whole world (2:32).
  • Jesus, fully human, grew in strength and wisdom (2:40, 52).
  • Jesus submissively obeyed his parents (2:51).
  • True repentance bears fruit — it leads to real life change (3:8).
  • One of the marks of repentance is how we deal with our money and possessions. Do we become generous or stingy? (3:10-14)
  • The Trinity is present in affirming Jesus’ ministry (3:22).
  • Jesus spent 30 years in relative obscurity before he began his ministry. Again, lots of humility (3:23).
  • As a descendant of Adam, Jesus is the Savior for the whole world — anyone affected by Adam’s sin [which is everyone] (3:38).

How would I be different if this truth were explosively alive in my innermost being?

  • There are a lot of possible things to focus on here. The thing that struck me the most was the humility surrounding all of these people and circumstances. If Jesus, who is fully deserving of all fame and honor and glory and power, was born and raised in obscurity and humility, then how much more appropriate would it be for me–a lowly sinner–to be humble? Life is about God, who does the impossible. It’s not about me. Even John, who Jesus calls the greatest man who ever lived (Luke 7:28), said that he wasn’t worthy to do something as low as untying Jesus’ sandals. How much more should I delight in humbly serving Jesus?
  • If this truth were explosively alive in me, I would not care about people’s opinions of me. I would not care who gets credit for good things. I would willingly accept responsibility for my failures, sins and shortcomings. I would be increasingly dependent on Jesus, expressed through prayer.  All of that would be very sweet.

What about you? How is God using this passage in your life? Questions or comments?

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  1. #1 by Leah Hawkins on October 12, 2009 - 8:40 am

    Luke 1-3

    Gosh, there so much to comment on during the first few chapter of Luke. Here is just one part that made me stop and realize…Chapter 1, verses 39-45, the snapshot of Mary and Elizabeth. Mary visits Elizabeth and announces she is with child. Elizabeth’s baby begins to “leap in her womb”… leaping for JOY (as stated in my ESV version of verse 45). It started to make me wonder… if an unborn child can leap for JOY… why can’t I? Why do I not have JOY when the Good News of Jesus is proclaimed. Don’t get me wrong, my love for the Lord and Savior is abundant. But have I grown somewhat weary of His Word? I am praying for my JOY to leap just as John’s did. Jesus’ role in all our lives deserves that kind of JOY. The joy that flows over and never ends, the joy that is always growing, the joy that cannot be kept a secret, the joy that LEAPS in a mother’s womb. I want that kind of JOY.

    joy–noun

    1. the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation: She felt the joy of seeing her son’s success.
    2. a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated: Her prose style is a pure joy.
    3. the expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety.
    4. a state of happiness or felicity.

    dictionary.com

    • #2 by Susan S. on October 12, 2009 - 8:57 am

      Amen, Leah! Awesome thoughts!!

    • #3 by Brian Frahm on October 12, 2009 - 9:19 am

      I have started reading John Piper’s book ‘Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ’ in conjunction with the sermon series and in chapter 4, Piper quoted John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”

      My joy has not been full, and I think it is due in large part to the degree to which I fail to savor Jesus Christ for who he is, not what I can get from him. It is hard not to be “in it for me”, so I struggle with purely wanting to know him for him.

  2. #4 by Susan S. on October 12, 2009 - 8:51 am

    What an extraordinary passage of Scripture! I imagined being those shepherds and seeing God’s glory and a company of heavenly hosts praising God…Can you imagine it? And I was struck by the activity of the Holy Spirit- He filled Zechariah (1:67), Elizabeth (1:41), Simeon (2:25), and it was prophesied that John would be filled (1:15). His work then and now is so encouraging.

    Question: The genealogy of Jesus in Luke differs from Matthew. I remembered that the line listed in Matthew included the kings of Judah whereas the line in Luke includes some prophets and names I don’t recognize. I read the study notes that suggest that Luke’s record may be Mary’s line rather than Joseph’s. However, Luke 3:23b and following states, “[Jesus] was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of…” If it were Mary’s line, wouldn’t it read something like this? “[Jesus] was the son of Mary, the daughter of Heli, the son of…”

    I know that the authors are inspired and that the Word is infallible, which is why it’s important that I understand the discrepancy.

    Thanks!

  3. #7 by Brian Frahm on October 12, 2009 - 9:27 am

    Here are eight observations/thoughts that I got from Luke 1-3 this morning:

    1) Just because God views someone as “righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord” does not mean that they will not have trials and/or testing. Elizabeth was barren for a very specific purpose — so that she could bear John the Baptist at the appropriate time.

    2) “For nothing will be impossible with God” — I know this in my head, but do I believe it in my heart?? Wouldn’t my prayer life be much more robust/vibrant if I believed this to the extent I should?

    3) Mary’s song is my song too: “he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

    4) Zechariah’s prophecy also holds encouragement for us: “that we, being delivered from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”

    5) I am reminded that God first announced the birth of the Savior to shepherds – the lowly and humble, not the proud and religious.

    6) Despite Christ’s self-awareness of his authority and knowledge at the age of 12, he still submitted to the authority of his parents for many more years.

    7) “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” — is there any reason that this should not be my goal as well?

    8) “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance” – my life must reflect a repentant heart.

  4. #8 by Jarrod on October 12, 2009 - 9:48 am

    “For nothing will be impossible with God”

    I think I fail to see this in all my trials. I guess it may be pride or stubborness, or a simple failure to realize who my savior is. Currently, I am experiencing a myriad of trials and I see no way out of them. I see no escape. I cannot seem to do the right thing to make things better. I am not capable of making the right choices. It all seems lost at times to me.

    See the trend there? “I” and “Me”.. No “Him”.

    I know all things are possible through Christ. I just need to convince myself that I know this. I need to put the faith in him and not me. I look forward to the week ahead.

    Jarrod
    jrodphx@yahoo.com

    • #9 by Brian Frahm on October 12, 2009 - 11:06 am

      Great post Jarrod. So hard not to be self-focused.

  5. #10 by Brian Ring on October 12, 2009 - 10:38 am

    Did you notice how Zechariah and Mary had VERY similar verbal responses to the angel’s news to them?

    • BOTH were told they would be parents under supernatural circumstances.
    • BOTH (for obvious reasons: old age, virgin) questioned how this could be possible.

    BUT, Zechariah’s question was met with rebuke (and temporary punishment) and Mary’s was met with assurance and comfort. WHY? Implicitly, Zechariah had a sinful doubt as opposed to Mary.

    Dear Jesus, may I have the kind of faith Mary had. One that doesn’t question your ability, even when my eyes may tell me differently. “We walk by faith, NOT by sight.”

    • #11 by lukesimmons on October 12, 2009 - 1:06 pm

      Brian, great observation. It’s interesting how we can see the outward, but God looks at the heart. So much of our life is truly about motivation.

  6. #12 by Kristie Braselton on October 12, 2009 - 10:55 am

    Had a good time with this this morning! Noticed 2:32 for the first time in Zach’s prayer- “A light of revelation to the Gentiles”- which was cool after hearing about “this mystery” from Colossians.

    Also enjoyed reading John’s elaboration on “bearing fruit in keeping with repentance”.

    I was also going to bring up the genealogy thing, so glad to have that cleared up.

  7. #13 by molly scott on October 12, 2009 - 7:07 pm

    I am grateful that we had this “homework”. I am one of the ones that have never read the chapter of Luke. Just told to me by others. I just read it and feel a bit embarrassed that I had not read it before but More than that I am Thankful. So much was happening in the lives of ” ordinary” humble people. I don’t really know how to put in words the awe that I am feeling.

    • #14 by lukesimmons on October 13, 2009 - 9:41 am

      Hey Molly, I’m so excited that God is working through this in your life. Great to hear!

  8. #15 by carolyn on October 13, 2009 - 6:42 am

    I have read and heard these chapters often, but having the guiding questions really helped me think it through in a different way. I am thankful for Kristie’s song of Mary’s song of praise–(Mighty Things on Let Us Run CD)–which has enabled me to plant these words firmly in my mind and heart. I too noticed the difference between Mary’s response and Zechariah’s. I pray that I would respond to God’s leading as promptly and confidently as Mary did–although I never seem to trust that he’s actually speaking to me.
    I also thought about how amazing it was that right from the beginning when John the Baptist was preparing people for Jesus, that he talked about living a generous life. He didn’t just talk in the abstract–“bear good fruit” but he was very specific–“share food and clothing, take only what you need.” I pray that I can take this to heart and become increasingly more generous with the confidence that God will always provide what I need. He does it through other people blessing me and by me blessing others, I can be part of His work.

  9. #16 by Jarrod on October 14, 2009 - 9:56 am

    My wife and I read together last night and we discussed the fact that Jesus pointed out that the person who owed the higher debt was more impressed and more thankful for the grace afforded to him. It made us realize that we sometimes are not thankful enough for the grace in the little things. We often wait until the world is crashing down on us to beg on our knees for that grace. And when we get it, we are so thankful and so appreciative, yet we continue down our sinful paths.

    God looks at our sin and unfaithfullness as just that- ugly sin and unfaithfullness. Regardless of how big or small it is. we get caught up in the rights and wrongs of our lives.

    The woman gave her all to Jesus, without question. She was rewarded greatly. Led me to ask, Are we giving our true all to our savior?

  10. #17 by Randy Hasty on October 15, 2009 - 8:51 am

    “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” 2:19, “His mother treasured all these things in her heart” 2:51. I think pondering is often overlooked in our busy world and can have a positive effect on focusing our heart on our treasure. I know that when I take the time to ponder as I study I often end up with more questions than answers but a greater sense of God’s greatness and sovereignty.

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