SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- This chapter opens with a centurion sending men to Jesus on his behalf. A centurion was a Roman soldier who oversaw one hundred other Roman soldiers. At the time of Luke's writing, Rome was trying to forcibly take over the world. They were going into towns and massacring people. The Romans were viewed as anti-God. A centurion was the last person someone would expect to come to Jesus.
- We also see a first-hand account of Jesus' deep compassion for others. A widow had just lost her only son. He sees her weeping over the son's casket and he is overwhelmed with love for her. This story is fascinating because the woman did not ask Jesus for anything, but Jesus brings the boy back to life anyway. This miracle causes a great stir, and people were questioning who this "prophet" was.
- John the Baptist is stuck in prison and expresses doubts about whether Jesus is the one they had been waiting for. Jesus does not get angry at John for this doubt. Instead, he assures John that he is and compliments him on the great work he had been doing.
- Jesus is dining at a religious leaders home when the town prostitute comes to see Jesus. Once again, this is not a person you would expect to see around the religious elite. However, just like the centurion, she understands that she is not worthy of Jesus. This is why she falls to the ground weeping and covering Jesus' feet with perfume. This scene appalled the men that were watching, but Jesus uses a parable (a story with a spiritual meaning) to commend the woman for her sacrifice.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- The stories of the centurion and the prostitute remind us that there is no sin big enough that can keep us from God's love. Not matter what you've done, God is still for you.
- The story of the widow shows us that God is truly compassionate and sees our pain. He wants to help us.
- Maybe you have doubted Jesus, just like John did. God is not angry. He understands our fears.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Perhaps you've never said yes to a relationship with Jesus because you feel too sinful. Or, when you sin, you feel like you can't pray. Maybe you don't volunteer at church because you think you're too messed up. Learn from this chapter that God is still for you, no matter what. Don't let anything keep you from God.
- Jesus drew all kinds of people to himself that you'd never expect. Maybe you have someone in your life who you think would never be interested in God. Never assume anything. Have a conversation with them about Jesus today. If that seems scary, invite them to come to Verve with you this weekend.