Concordia Adult Bible Class
Summary: Dig deeper into God's Word with Concordia Lutheran Church in San Antonio, TX.
We are called to do ministry! The Greek word for “ministry” is related to the word for “service.” Jesus shows His disciples how to serve when He washes their feet and calls them to do likewise (verse 15). When disciples minister to others, they learn how to imitate Jesus’ actions, becoming more like Him as His disciples.
The commercialism of Christmas is well-documented. But Mary eschews the trappings of things and rejoices in the simple things that God gives. She exclaims: “God has filled the hungry with good things” (verse 53). Rather than focusing on what you want for Christmas, what simple things do you already have that you can celebrate?
Mary’s circumstances were hard. Yet, she was nevertheless joyful because her joy came from God. This is why she sings, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (verse 47). From where does your joy come?
In a world that is full of unrealistic standards of beauty, do you make your spouse your standard of beauty? To beat back lust, husbands and wives must continue to see each other as beautiful and remind each other that they are beautiful, but not just because of their looks. Rather, they are beautiful because of who they are in Christ.
Every marriage encounters tough times. It is during these times that the promises you made at the altar must trump the feelings you currently have. When a couple is drifting from each other, they must intentionally pursue each other.
Satan loves to destroy marriages by making marital intimacy grow cold. Indeed, the Bible warns against a lack of intimacy in 1 Corinthians 7:5: “Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” Intimacy is not just about pleasure, but about strengthening and solidifying the bond between husband and wife.
Marriage takes work! The wife in the Song of Songs is tanned by the sun because of the hard work she has done as a young girl. Likewise, even in marriage, the hard work continues. Marriage is more than just “falling in love,” it is an intentional partnership to tackle life’s work together and to support each other when the work becomes hard.
The gospel is a payment – Jesus has paid for our sins. The gospel is also a gift – Jesus gives us blessings, both temporal, like family and home, and eternal, like salvation. Jesus pays for us so He can give to us! On Reformation Day, we remember how Martin Luther re-discovered this simple, yet central, truth.
Because God paid for our sins, we are free to give – not “reluctantly or under compulsion” (verse 7) – but out of thankfulness to God. And God promises that even as we give, God gives to us! Thus, we will never run out of things to give!
Abraham lived in a world where other nations would try to pay off gods by their sacrifices. Indeed, many of these sacrifices would even be of children. But when the true God asks for Abraham’s son, He shows Abraham a different way: rather than demanding payment from Abraham, He provides the payment Abraham needs in the form of a ram and ultimately in His Son. We do not have to pay for our sins! God has paid with His Son.
You would think that the disciples would have figured out Jesus’ mission by this point in Luke’s Gospel! But they were still confused. Like the disciples, we do not have everything about Jesus figured out – even the stuff that we should have figured out. But Jesus patiently continues to teach us, calling us back to his truth.
Arrogance can be disastrous to human relationships. Yet, even though the disciples were often arrogant, Jesus compassionately called them to humility. Who do we know who is arrogant? Do we compassionately call them to humility? How are we arrogant? Jesus can teach us humility!
Our fears can distract us from our faith. This is precisely what happened to Peter when he was walking on water to meet his Lord. In the midst of our fears, Jesus persistently calls us to fix our eyes on him again and again.
The Twelve Jesus called as disciples were nothing particularly special. In fact, the book of Acts calls the disciples “unschooled, ordinary men” (Acts 4:13). But Jesus uses common people to do extraordinary things. For he does not call disciples based on their merits or abilities, but simply because he wants to call them (cf. verse 13). Jesus can use us even though we are ordinary!
As we celebrate Labor Day weekend, we take some time to reflect on both the burdens and blessings of our vocations, trusting God to give us the strength and resources we need to do the jobs he has given us faithfully and well.