Introduction to Christianity with Luke
- The Lord’s Prayer
- Jesus is accused of working with the Devil
- Jonah – the whale guy
- Letting God’s goodness shine through us for others
- Jesus gets angry with religious leaders
Luke 11:1-4: The Lord’s prayer
Our Father who is in Heaven,
May your name be kept holy.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
And forgive our sins,
As we forgive each of those
who sin against us.
Lead us from temptation,
And deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory.
This prayer is recited by congregations of believers all over the world in every language. It’s so beautiful to watch this.
For some, reciting the Lord’s prayer is sharing a moment across time, space, and culture, where we are all together as one body.
It’s useful to meditate on each line – to use this as a prayer checklist:
✔ Honor God and his name
✔ Bring about his kingdom – what should I do?
✔ Provide for us what we need – list your needs.
✔ Forgive our sins like we forgive others – do I need to forgive anyone?
✔ God, show me the way out of temptation you’ve provided.
✔ Keep me and my environment safe.
- Cliff Richard’s Millennium Prayer https://youtu.be/mL9yDb134Rk
- https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Lord%27s_Prayer
- https://bretanark.com/ Books/ studies/ IntroductionToPrayer
Luke 11:5-13: The power of prayer
Luke 11:14-26: Jesus accused of working with the Devil
That’s typical of some religious people: If others are doing supernatural stuff, it must be devilry, but if we do it, that’s different. The truth is we’re one big body with many different parts that look and act very differently. But we all work together for God’s Kingdom. It’s the devil that seeks to accuse others and bring division. Look at the fruit. Are people being drawn closer to God? If so, then let’s celebrate our team-mates scoring a goal, instead of being jealous because I want to be the best player and get all the glory.
In our society, we don’t know much of demons. This seems to be more acute in Jesus’ society, as it is in some underdeveloped cultures today. I think the difference is occult practices attracting and empowering evil spirits. For us, it’s more figurative to talk about “dealing with one’s demons”. People struggle with mental illnesses, but that’s often different, with a scientifically deducible cause. Some of these would have been misdiagnosed as demonic in those days. It doesn’t really matter when God steps in and the person is freed – whether from a broken arm, or a broken mind, or a broken spirit.
When dealing with demons or “demons” such as addictions, it’s important to fill the gap with God’s Holy Spirit and new habits and lifestyle. Otherwise, we might revert to our affliction and end up in an even worse state.
Luke 11:27-32: The sign of Jonah
The book of Jonah tells the story of a prophet who was called to go to Nineveh to tell the people to turn their lives around; or God will overturn the city. Nineveh is in the modern city of Mosul in northern Iraq, which was recently the capital city of ISIS, who emulated the ways of their ancient ancestors.
Instead, Jonah took a boat to England to run away from God. But God brought a storm, which would only be calmed by throwing Jonah overboard. In chapter 2, Jonah prays from the grave, then God brings him back to life, and has a fish spit him out onto the shore. When Jonah preached God’s message, the Ninevites turned their lives around. Jonah went to a safe place where he could gleefully watch their destruction and was most upset that God accepted their repentance and forgave them.
Matthew 12:40 Just as Jonah was in the belly of a huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
This means Jesus wasn’t crucified on a Friday – more likely a Wednesday, before the high holy day of Passover. Jesus predicted his death, burial, and resurrection – just like Jonah, and this was witnessed by thousands. Those who refused to believe were destroyed in the destruction of the temple 40 years later and were dispersed around the world for the past two thousand years.
Superbook produce a really cool version of Jonah’s story for kids.
Luke 11:33-36: Lamp under a basket
Jesus seems to be talking about the Pharisees only seeing evil in everyone who is not of their order. Since their eyes are clouded with the idea that they’re the only righteous ones and everyone else is evil, they couldn’t see the light, which Jesus brought into the world.
Luke 11:37-54: Jesus criticizes Jewish leaders
So, Jesus is invited to dinner by some religious dude, who was surprised that Jesus didn’t follow their traditional interpretation of the laws of Moses. They’d so warped the law that they expected common people to perform priestly rituals all the time. These rituals, such as a certain technique for washing hands, were given for them to perform while on duty at the temple. These rituals carry prophetic messages, dramatizing events and concepts of the spiritual world and God’s plan for the Earth. The Pharisees had forgotten the meaning; and insisted on an ultra-legalistic life so that God would not be offended. This abandonment of God’s reaching out with relationship in favor of pedantic rules caused the ultimate offense that leads to their destruction.
The teachers of the law felt left out of Jesus’ rant, so Jesus really rips into them, revealing their ancestral guilt, that underpins their actions that led to their condemnation of Jesus to be crucified. From then on, these self-righteous theologians scrutinized everything Jesus said, to find an excuse to get rid of him. In the end Jesus was condemned for claiming to be God, while being perfect in every way, which is humanly impossible.
A fundamental aspect of Christianity is forgiveness. Since we can’t reach Heaven by being good enough, because each of us have sinned, we can only enter Heaven by receiving Jesus’ forgiveness. However, this means we must extend the same grace to others – to everyone else. If we can’t forgive others, then God’s forgiveness is not in us. Sometimes it’s naturally impossible to forgive some people. This is where we have to rely on God’s Holy Spirit enabling us to forgive. I’d like to tell you the story of two very different people: Ian McCormack who was an atheist surfer, and Corrie Ten Boom whose family was slaughtered in the Nazi concentration camps for helping Jews escape.
Ian McCormack did not care about God. He was a young atheist looking for adventure and the best waves to surf. While diving, he was stung by several box jellyfish. As he was dying, his diving mates left him on the beach, worried about their brother. The taxi driver threw him out of the cab thinking he was on drugs and without money, and hotel staff harassed the stupid westerner for taking drugs.
In the ambulance, as his life was slipping away, he believed he heard his mum’s voice telling him to pray the Lord’s Prayer. He went through the words he had memorized as a kid. When he got to “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us”, he felt, “No problem, I’m not one to hold a grudge”, but then he saw the face of the taxi driver. “There’s no way I’m forgiving him!”, and likewise the hotel staff. But he realized that he’d not receive forgiveness unless he forgave even those people who’d left him to die. Ian died and found himself in Hell. He called out to Jesus and was rescued and given the choice to return. Despite experiencing Heaven, he chose to return to save his mum thinking he’d wasted his life and was now in Hell forever. He woke up in the morgue as a nurse was poking a scalpel into his foot and walked out soon after to begin his life telling his story around the world. You can watch his story, “A glimpse of eternity”. The movie, “The Perfect Wave” is based on his story.
Corrie Ten Boom
Corrie Ten Boom grew up in the Netherlands where her family sheltered Jews as they escaped the Nazi occupation. Eventually they were caught and shipped off to the concentration camps where her family were separated.
There, they were tortured, and Corrie witnessed the death of her sister. In her message, How to Forgive, she talks about one time when she preached a sermon about forgiveness in Berlin. Afterwards, a man came up to her, and explained how he was a guard at a concentration camp. He’d experienced God’s forgiveness but had prayed that he might be able to ask forgiveness of one of his victims. Corrie froze. She remembered this man. He was the cruellest of the guards she’d encountered. She couldn’t forgive him. Then she knew that if she couldn’t forgive him, she had no forgiveness either as Jesus said:
Matthew 6:15 if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failures.
But she couldn’t forgive him. She could only hate him. In that moment, she remembered
Romans 5:5 … God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Corrie thanked God for this gem, and thanked God that his love is greater than our hate and unforgiveness. This gave her the strength to recognize her brother in Christ and shook his hand. In that moment, she felt God’s love surge through her as she experienced God’s power to forgive the worst of our enemies. Corrie learned that where we can’t forgive, God can forgive through us and release us from the unforgiveness that can imprison us.
Matthew 6:14 If you forgive the failures of others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
So thanks for joining me in this session. Let’s pray.
Lord, I thank you for being with us today. I thank you for teaching us how to pray. Thank you that although people might accuse us of working with the Devil, that you are empowering us to do your miracles, Lord. Lord, I thank you for the story of Jonah and the evidence that’s there today of the city of Nineveh in Mosul. Lord, I thank you that you shine your goodness through us. And although you get angry with people who are leading others astray, you teach forgiveness, and that when we are forgiven, we have the power through your Holy Spirit to forgive everyone who has wronged us - whether that’s our parents or uncles or teachers - anyone around us who has let us down, including that guy who cut us off in the traffic today. Be with us, Lord, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
We’ll see you guys later.