It’s almost hard to believe, but today is the last entry in this study of the book of Luke. It began on April 16 and ends on August 30. I never intended for the study to be so lengthy, but I’m thankful that God’s plans have a way of superseding my own. I’ve been deeply blessed and inspired by this study of Luke, and I just want to say a huge thank you to those of you who have come by this blog to study the word of God with me. I’m excited to wrap this book up and then move on to something new next week.
But before we do that, there’s one last verse in Luke that I want to look at. Jesus was crucified, but on the third day he rose from the dead and walked among the living once more. As we get to this scripture, Jesus is giving some final words to his followers before ascending to heaven. He tells them some things, and then he does this.
Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
I humbly encourage every one of you to make this your new prayer before reading the Bible or teaching the Bible. Sometimes we feel like we shouldn’t say it, but the fact is that there are parts of scripture that can be difficult to comprehend. I know most Christians have a passionate love for Paul and all of his writings but I find his writing style nearly incomprehensible. I know I’m in the minority on this, but Paul is my least favorite author in all of the Bible. When I study the parts of the Bible authored by him, I need to be turning to God and asking for the gift that Jesus gave to his followers in Luke 24:45. Open my mind so that I can fully understand the scriptures, so that I can fully comprehend all that there is for me to comprehend in these words.
One thing that I love about this verse is that it brings our focus back to the word. It reminds us that for all that we’ve learned and discovered, there are still infinite mysteries and meanings and pearls of wisdom locked away in the word of God. Jesus’ words inspire us to dig deeper, to keep our eyes set on his word, and to stay reliant on him for the wisdom to understand what it is we’re reading.
It probably shouldn’t surprise me that after 59 parts to this study, the final part comes back to the core principle that drives my ministry; our need to be in the word. Anytime I preach or teach at church I’ll think it’s about one thing only to find that it’s really about our need to be in the word. If I’m known for anything, my hope is that it’s for my love and passion for the word of God. All that is good in me comes from the Bible and the way it’s transformed my life. The amount of work that God can do through an avid reader and studier of His word is astounding.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:114 You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.
Have you noticed how dark and hopeless the world is today? The Bible gives us the recipe for surviving such times. The word of God is the lamp that lights up our path, keeps us from wandering into dangerous places, from falling headlong off of cliffs and into a spiritual death spiral. And it is our hope. Every one of us probably knows someone who is dying inside because they feel hopeless. I know many people who are hopeless. I was one of them for a lot of years. I thank God regularly that He lovingly drew me into His word, because it revitalized me. It saved me from hopelessness.
I could talk about the beauty and the importance of the Bible all day, but I want to close this out by looking at the last line in the book of Luke. I’m a huge fan of last lines, I think there’s a lot of importance and power in them. Look how Luke decided to close this out. Jesus has ascended into heaven, and his followers return to Jerusalem. And then we close out with this simple and beautiful statement about what they did once they got there.
Luke 24:53 And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.
When you know Jesus, when you TRULY know him, there’s not a more appropriate response than this. I imagine this moment like the end of the movie, and you can see the camera pulling back, slowly fading to black as Jesus’ followers, filled with great joy, praise God with all of their might in the temple. As you know when you read Acts, they were a people primed and ready to explode onto the world stage with power and passion, and in this final verse in Luke we get to see them preparing to do just that. Of all the ways Luke could’ve ended his account of Jesus’ time on earth, I’m glad he did it this way.
I sure do love all of you. Some of you who read this are people I know, and then many of you are just random internet strangers who somehow found your way here. I hope you know that I mean it when I say that I love you. God doesn’t make mistakes when He lovingly crafts people, and any creation of His is a person that I love. I hope that you’ve received something from these blogs and that you’ll be back next week as we embark on a whole new adventure through this beautiful Bible!
If you’ve got a prayer request or need someone to talk to, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.