Distance Matters

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Luke 22:54-62 Peter was following at a distance. (v. 54) Peter is understandably confused. Although he confessed Jesus as the Christ (Luke 9:20), he cannot understand Jesus’ arrest. Why this now? The thought of the Messiah suffering at the hands of his own people and being nailed to a Roman cross is simply unthinkable. Everyone knows the Messiah will restore David’s kingdom. What do you do when Jesus does not fit your expectations of what a Savior should be? …

Two Up, One Down

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Luke 18:9-14 The tax collector, standing far off . . . (v. 13) Jesus tells this parable while on the way to Jerusalem for Passover. His audience includes his followers, some of whom “trusted in themselves that they were righteous” (v. 9). It’s the story of two men going to pray in the temple at a time of worship. Their motives could not be more different. The Pharisee turns prayer into a courtroom, making his case for why God …

The Chasm

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Luke 16:19-31 A great chasm has been fixed. (v. 26) Not all stories have a happy ending. A rich man and a poverty-stricken sick man both die. The rich man experiences torment in Hades. Then he gets a glimpse “far off” of the poor man he didn’t help in life being embraced by Abraham in heaven. Ouch! Now that’s trading places, only this role reversal is forever. He begs for mercy but to no avail. Abraham explains that “a …

When God Runs

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Luke 15:11-24 While he was still a long way off. (v. 20) This story is commonly called “the parable of the prodigal son,” implying that it is mainly about the son who went far from home. But “prodigal” does not mean lost. Rather, it means extravagance on a lavish scale. The younger son squanders his father’s money on lavish living. His shame compounds as his lifestyle is reduced to feeding pigs. “Prodigal” befits this rebellious child. But maybe, as …

The Value of the Lost

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Luke 15:1-10 I have found my sheep that was lost. (v. 6) Once as a child I hid inside the clothing racks of a department store. With three other children in tow, my mom rushed off down the mall to another store. I was left behind! I was having a blast until I realized Mom was gone. All I saw was “stranger danger” in the people around me. It was less than five minutes before Mom returned, but it …