Category Archives: Luke

West Coast Chinese Christian Conference 2017 Bible Study Training

The West Coast Chinese Christian Conference is held annually at the end of the year.

One aspect of the Conference is the small group Bible study that takes place in the mornings. Below are some of the training videos that were prepared to help the group leaders.

The first one below is in Cantonese.

This one below is in English.

In the Conference, the following portions of the Bible were studied in the small groups: Matthew 16:13-28, Luke 14:25-35, and 1 Peter 2:11-25.

 

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Interpretive challenge: Luke 14:26

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (NASB)

At some point in many small group Bible study leaders life, they will run into this verse. Or maybe someone in your group will ask you about it when they read it in their personal reading of the Bible.

How do you respond?

Recall the key to interpretation is context. In this case there are two types of context that helps guides our thinking: (1) the literary context and (2) the textual context.

By literary context, we mean that Jesus as a master teacher employs various methods of teaching. He gave pithy sayings, used similes/metaphors/analogies, engaged in question-answer, shared parables, spoke in hyperbole, etc.

In this case, Jesus utilized hyperbole to make a point.

And what was the point?

Looking at the textual context in and around this “hard saying,” we find out Jesus is talking about the cost of discipleship.

If the context of his teaching was honoring your father and mother, this statement in Luke 14:26 would be contradictory. One would suspect Jesus would explicate honor your parents in a completely different way using different words and teaching devices.

However, in the context of teaching about the cost of discipleship and taking into account the literary device of hyperbole, we catch Jesus meaning: God first – “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” (NASB) Luke 14:27

Gospel according to St. Mark

Mantegna’s Mark
image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/eb/Andrea_Mantegna_087.jpg

Matthew’s gospel is well known for the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and the powerful prophetic portions of Matthew 24-25.

Luke’s gospel is beloved for its parables like the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).

John’s gospel is a favorite of many for its “I AM” passages and poignant and pointed personal encounters.

That often leave Mark’s gospel out in the cold.

Yet, those who take the time to visit Mark and read through it find it has its own unique way to highlighting the vital message of Jesus.

For instance, take the rocket launch of the beginning of Mark in chapter 1:1-8 …

Mark 1:1-8 (NIV)

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”—
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

N.T. Wright put it this way in Mark for Everyone (2004):

You are sound asleep and dreaming, when suddenly the door bursts open and a bright light shines full in your face. A voice, breaking in on your dream world shouts, “Wake up! Get up! You’ll be late!” And without more ado, the speaker splashes your face with cold water to make the point. Time to stop dreaming and face the most important day of your life.

Link

The Prodigal Sons – Pastor Tim Keller Sermon

The Prodigal Sons – Pastor Tim Keller Sermon

Be sure to check out this sermon (click on link above on post title) on the famous parable. The story (see text below) in itself is very compelling just from reading it. Yet, taking into account elements of the culture of Biblical times, this parable becomes an even more powerful tale of the human condition and the majestic love of God. Also, we often focus on the younger son but here in this sermon, Tim Keller also points out the lostness of the older son as well. As we enter into the Christmas season, perhaps, this story could be one point of reflection on the amazing love of God for humanity as revealed through the birth of Jesus and His mission on Earth.

Luke 15:1-2, 11-32 (NIV)

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your propertywith prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

image source at the top of post: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/93/Rembrandt_Harmensz_van_Rijn_-_Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/184px-Rembrandt_Harmensz_van_Rijn_-_Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg