Reading Luke and Acts in 2020
Week 13 | Luke 13
Luke 13 Reflections and Questions
By Rev. Dr. Alice Rogers
In the Common English Bible, the heading the editors give Luke 13 is “Demand for Genuine Change.” We are in an unprecedented time of change as the novel Coronavirus and the efforts to slow its spread force us to make changes in how we work, learn, play, shop, worship, and just live day to day. Some resist this change, some deny the need for change, and others embrace the change and find life-giving, creative ways to remain in connection and communion with others.
Jesus Christ brought radical change to the religious, social and cultural systems of his day. He did not go about “business as usual,” but challenged everyone to “see” who and what they had become blind to, to “touch” those who were “legally” marginalized, to “hear” the voice of God speaking through of the layers of tradition, and most of all, to change their orientation—to repent and believe in the Gospel.
As you read Luke 13 this week, listen for the voice of God speaking through God’s Holy Word and ask God to reveal what needs to be changed in your own life, in your community, and in this world, so that we might better reflect true connection and communion with all of God’s creation.
Wednesday Unless you change your hearts and lives
Read Luke 13: 1-5
Some people ask Jesus about who is more sinful. We often measure ourselves against others to determine if our sins and shortcomings are more or less sinful. More often than not, we conclude, “At least I’m not as bad as ….” In verses 3 and 5 Jesus states, “Unless you change your hearts and lives, you will die just as they did.”
Question: Without comparing yourself to anyone else, what do you need God to help you change in your heart and life?
Thursday A fig tree
Read Luke 13: 6-9
Jesus tells the parable of an unproductive fig tree. The master wants to cut it down. The gardener begs the master to give it one more year to produce figs. The gardener even promises to “dig around it and give it fertilizer.”
Question: What “fertilizer” do you need in your life to help you produce genuine change?
Friday The Bent-over Woman
Read Luke 13: 10-17
Jesus heals a woman bent over and crippled for eighteen years. Once again, Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath angers the religious rulers who know every detail of the Law. He “sees” this woman to whom they have become blind. He “touches” her in direct violation to the Law in order to heal her. He sets her free!
Question: Are there people to whom you have become blind and with whom you are unwilling to be involved? Who is Jesus calling you to “see” and “touch” in order to bring God’s gracious healing?
Saturday Growth of God’s Kingdom
Read Luke 13: 18-21
Jesus compares God’s Kingdom to a mustard seed and to yeast hidden in flour. Both images represent extraordinary growth.
Question: How have you grown in your Christian life through the Holy Spirit working in you? How has the gardener’s fertilizer nurtured that growth?
Sunday Who will be saved?
Read Luke 13: 22-30
Jesus responds to the question, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He describes an owner who eventually gets up and closes a door saying to those standing outside, “I don’t know you or where you are from.” This statement sounds much like the statement made by the King in Jesus’ parable of the sheep and goats (Matthew 25: 31-46), “I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give anything to drink. . . I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.”
Question: In what ways have you “seen,” “heard” and “touched” the least of these this week?
Monday A mother hen
Read Luke 13: 31-35
The Pharisees warn Jesus about Herod’s plot to kill him. Jesus confirms his mission to journey to Jerusalem and reminds them of his constant desire to love and care for them as a mother hen. Jesus gives us the beautiful image of a mother hen gathering all of her chicks under her wings. But then he states, “But you didn’t want that.”
Question: What makes us run out from underneath the protective love and grace of God?
Tuesday Demand for genuine change
Read Luke 13: 1-35
Read the entire chapter again. Underline words and passages that have spoken to you this week.
Question: How is God calling you to change in your heart and life?
Day by day
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day.
(from the musical Godspell)
Rev. Dr. Alice Rogers is superintendent of the Gainesville District.
Download the reading schedule
Invite others to subscribe to the weekly reading prompts and reflections: