They Understood None of These Things

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Reading the Word

Luke 18:31–34 (ESV)

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

Parallel Texts: Matthew 20:17-28; Mark 10:32-45

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses, Jesus predicted his death for the third time (cf. Luke 9:22 and Luke 9:43-45). In this third occurrence, Jesus also tells the disciples of his resurrection. However, they did not understand what he was telling them. It was hidden from them. It would not be until after the events of the crucifixion and the resurrection that the disciples would understand how Jesus had fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures concerning the Messiah.

It can be easy for us to think poorly of the disciples, wondering why they seemed to miss it so often. Why did things seem to go right over their heads? It is easy for us who have the completed Scriptures and the ability to read the entire story to understand Jesus’ ministry. We understand that he entered the world and lived a sinless life so he could go to the cross as a sacrifice for sin. We understand that this had to happen if mankind was going to be saved. And we understand that the resurrection was essential if sin and death were to be defeated and if we were going to have hope.

The disciples did not have what we have today. They did not have the completed Bible. They were living in the middle of the events and they were trying to make sense of it all. It would take hindsight and Jesus explaining the events for them to understand (cf. Luke 24:13-35). Let us not take for granted the blessing we have in having the completed word of God available to us so easily, which teaches us about our Savior and the importance of all he said and did.

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Choosing What Is Best

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Reading the Word

Luke 10:38–42 (ESV)

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus visited the home of Martha. While he was there, Martha put herself to work serving her guests. However, Martha’s sister Mary, who was also present, sat at Jesus’ feet listening to him as he taught. Martha thought Mary should get up and help and asked Jesus to tell her so, but Jesus would not. Instead, he told Martha that Mary had made the right choice.

This short passage emphasizes something profound. Life presents us with many choices and decisions, but they are not all equal. Sometimes, we must choose between right and wrong. In such cases, the decision is clear. However, there are other times when we must choose between what is good and what is better. Martha’s decision to serve was not wrong, but there was something more important. Jesus was in her home! Serving could wait for the moment. It was time to hear what Jesus had to say. It was time to spend time with the Lord.

We too can spend much of our time doing good things, but fail to do the most important thing: fellowship with the Lord. It is vital to the health of our faith that we take the time to sit at the Lord’s feet and hear from him through his word. We must take the time each day, even time away from doing good things, to do the best thing. We must fellowship with our Savior and grow to know him more and more. Are you taking the time to do what is best each day?

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All the Father Has Revealed

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Reading the Word

Luke 10:21–24 (ESV)

21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

Parallel Text: Matthew 11:25-27

Understanding and Applying the Word

We read here that Jesus rejoices as he addresses the Father. The reason for his rejoicing is that the Father had revealed to the disciples, who Jesus refers to as “little children” (v. 21), the arrival of the kingdom and the reality of Satan’s fall (cf. Luke 10:17-18). The wise and understanding (i.e. the Jewish religious leaders) had not seen these things because they had rejected Jesus and the gospel. Therefore, these things were hidden from the religious leaders. The disciples were blessed to see the things that they witnessed. The Old Testament prophets had spoken of these things, but had not witnessed them. The disciples were alive at a unique time in the history of the world.

We too are blessed and live at a unique time in world history. We have the privilege of having God’s completed word readily available to us. Previous generations only had portions of the word and not everyone had easy access to it. Most of us have multiple Bibles in multiple translations in our own language and can read and study all that the Bible says concerning our Savior. We know the historical record and we know the gospel. We know the message of repentance and forgiveness and we know of the resurrection, which gives us hope for the future. Let us rejoice in all the Father has revealed to us!

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The Life of Jesus Recorded

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2nd century biblical text fragment from Egypt

Reading the Word

Luke 1:1–4 (ESV)

1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

Luke’s Gospel begins with a purpose statement. Luke is writing to a recipient he calls “most excellent Theophilus.” To open his Gospel, Luke says that his purpose for writing is to put together an orderly account of the things that have happened. He received his information from those who were eyewitnesses of the events. And he writes these things that Theophilus can be certain of their truth.

We often take the word of God for granted. Most of us have multiple copies and they often sit around on our shelves collecting dust. Imagine where we would be without God’s written word.

What if the events of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection were not recorded for us? If we knew anything about Jesus at all, we would be left to wonder what was true and what was not. Thankfully, God wrote these things down for us so that we could study the events and teachings of our Lord. We can grow in our understanding and we can know who Jesus was, why he matters, and what we need to do in response to his life and teachings. That is what we will be doing together in 2019. Let us take a moment to thank God for his word and ask him to teach us in the year ahead.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. Please subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. We will be reading through the life of Christ as recorded in the four Gospel accounts in 2019.

Read Your Bible Every Day in 2019

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Tomorrow is a new year. We all know what that means: New Year’s resolutions. Most of us have made them. Many of us will make them again this year. Why not make one that will have an eternal significance? Resolve to read your Bible every day in 2019.

If that is something you would like to do, I would like to help. Subscribe to this page and follow along with the daily posts. Each day will include a passage from Scripture and some of my personal thoughts on what the passage means. The entire post will take no more than a few minutes to read. I know you can do it! And I know you will benefit from reading God’s word every day.

In 2019, we will read through the life of Jesus Christ together from the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Please join us. All you have to do is subscribe to the page and take the time to read the new posts each day. It is going to be a great year!

Read Your Bible Every Day in 2019

Bible Study Coffee Cup

Read the Bible every day in 2019! Subscribe to this page and follow along with Shaped by the Word as we read through the Life of Christ beginning January 1. Be sure to invite your friends!

The Life of Christ in 2019

Bible Study Coffee Cup

Want to read the Bible every day in 2019? Subscribe to this page and follow along through the Life of Christ beginning January 1. Be sure to invite your friends!

Let My Cry Come before You

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:169–176 (ESV)

169 Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word! 170 Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word. 171 My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes. 172 My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right. 173 Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. 174 I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. 175 Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me. 176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.

Understanding and Applying the Word

We often take prayer for granted. It is an amazing thing that the great God who created everything cares to listen to the prayers of mankind. Why does he concern himself with us? We are insignificant when you think of the vastness of the universe. Yet, we are told that God does care and that he does hear and answer prayer.

The psalmist prays, “Let me cry come before you…Let my plea come before you.” It is a wonderful thing to know that God has heard. And it is also a wonderful thing to know that God answers prayer according to his word. He has not left us in the dark about his plans and purposes in the world, nor has he left us wondering what he desires from us. He has told us all of these things through his word to us. And most of all, we find that God is a God of salvation. He saves us from our sins and gives us life through Jesus Christ. Let us praise God for hearing us, for giving us his word, and for saving those who call out to him.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Open My Eyes

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:17–24 (ESV)

17 Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word. 18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. 19 I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me! 20 My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times. 21 You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments. 22 Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies. 23 Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes. 24 Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.

Understanding and Applying the Word

God’s word is a wonderful blessing to mankind. However, not all view it that way. Many disregard it and think of it as useless. Some even rail against it and proclaim that it is harmful. If it is so wonderful, why do some treat it with disregard?

The short answer is that we need God to open our eyes. Scripture tells us that we are all spiritually dead. We are all sinful and our sin proves this to be true. It takes an act of God in our lives to change our situation and for us to desire the things of God. The psalmist calls out in verse 18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” May we call out to God as well and ask him to open our eyes that we may love him and his word with all our hearts.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Your Word in My Heart

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Reading the Word

Psalm 119:9–16 (ESV)

9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! 13 With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. 14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. 16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this passage we find a well-known verse that reads, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” The psalmist is concerned with living life God’s way. He desires to keep his way pure, not wander, and fix his eyes on God’s ways. He will do this by meditating on God’s word and never forgetting it.

Do you delight in the word of God? The psalmist speaks of delighting in God’s testimonies as much as in all riches. We may be quick to agree with this statement, but how many of us truly live like the word of God is the most valuable thing to us? What we spend our time on is a good indicator of what is important to us. How much time do we spend in God’s word? Can we really, truly say that we delight in it?

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!