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A Word from Kay Daigle on how to use the resources for this study…I want to encourage you to complete the personal lesson below before you click on any of the accompanying elements that may be found with this lesson (audio lecture, manuscript, PowerPoint, or handout). This study was written to help you maximize your personal spiritual growth. That means that you first spend time with God through His word, and then hopefully, discuss what you learned with a small group of women. After that, if you want to hear the audio (or read the manuscript) and follow the PowerPoint, filling in the handout, then that is a great time to do it! I cannot cover all the verses in depth, but you can read and study them for yourself. It is best for you to think through the passages before hearing what anyone else thinks, even me! You will find some lessons without lectures. At our church we use some of those weeks to spend extra time in our small groups sharing life stories, having a longer prayer time, or expressing how God is working in our lives.
“And he got up and followed Him, leaving everything behind.”
Description of Matthew in Luke 5:28 (NET)
When I go home, I have to leave behind the place where I am. Such is God’s call for our lives—come home and leave everything else behind!
As we pick up Jesus’ story we realize that His ministry had begun. His headquarters became the city of Capernaum in the area of Galilee, near His hometown of Nazareth is located. Luke divides his gospel geographically, and this Galilean ministry is covered in Luke 4:14-9:50.
Right from the start, people had differing responses to Jesus’ ministry. Some things never change!
Read Luke 4:14-30.
1. What was the primary message in Jesus’ sermon in the synagogue in Nazareth?
2. What was Jesus’ point to these people in using the examples of Elijah and Elisha?
3. How did the people respond and why? How might you have felt in their place?
4. Review the entire passage, and describe Jesus’ early ministry in Galilee. Contrast the reception He received in His hometown of Nazareth with that elsewhere in the area.
5.Sharing Question: Describe a time in your life when you responded in anger to God’s message to you. Why did you respond this way?
6.Responding to God:Are you struggling with God’s message to you in any particular area of life right now? If so, share it with your group and make it your written prayer request this week.
Read Luke 4:31-41.
7. What miracles did Jesus perform? What do you learn about Jesus’ power and authority from them?
8. Compare Jesus’ reception from the people in the synagogue in Capernaum with the response of those in Nazareth (yesterday’s lesson).
9. What do you learn from these miracles that can help you when you are tempted to fear the power of evil?
Read Luke 4:42-44.
10. What do you learn about Jesus’ priorities from His response to the crowds?
11. How does Paul’s statement in Gal. 1:10 compare with Jesus’ response here?
12.Sharing Question: In what situations do you tend to please people rather than God? How do you discern what God wants you to do when there are other good, positive works that need to be done?
13.Responding to God: Write a prayer asking God for the wisdom and discernment to help you know the difference in good works and the best work—that which He has planned for you to do.
Read Luke 5:1-11.
14. The disciples went out in the water twice to fish. Contrast the two situations, etc. What did the second trip out reveal about Jesus?
15. What do you learn from Simon Peter here that you can apply to your own relationship with Jesus?
16. Compare the interaction between Jesus and Simon with these other situations of encounter with God. Write down the similarities you observe in the responses of these other men to Simon’s:
In all of these situations the encounter with God involved a call to God’s work.
17. Read these verses and write down some of what God calls us to do in our work for Him:
18.Sharing Question: How are you doing at this point in your life with each of these areas of God’s call? Be honest and specific.
19.Responding to God: Write a prayer or poem of confession and commitment based upon the verses you read in #17. If you prefer, draw a picture representing your response to God’s call.
Read Luke 5:12-26.
20. Contrast the situations of the two sick men, including how they got to Jesus.
21. Why was it significant that Jesus forgave before He healed the second man? What was he claiming for Himself? What did the healing prove?
22. Compare the role of faith in these two healing situations.
23. Review Luke 4:42-44; 5:5-16. What do you learn from Jesus’ example concerning busyness?
24.Sharing Question: In what ways are you, as a friend, similar to the men who carried their friends’ stretcher? What is one specific way that you can be more like them?
25.Responding to God:Ask God for the grace to become the kind of friend these men were. Write down one specific way you will reach out to a friend in need this week, and share what happens with your group.
Read Luke 5:27, 28.
Levi is likely a second name for Matthew because people often used alternative names in 1st century Jewish culture.
We saw Simon Peter, James, and John leave everything and follow Jesus (Luke 5:9-11). Levi, or Matthew, is described as doing the same thing here. (In fact this is your Precious Word from God to memorize this week.)
26.Sharing Question: If you left everything behind to follow Jesus, what would that look like in your life today? What would have to change—your priorities, relationships, focus, job, etc.?
Read Luke 5:29-39.
The NET Bible gives us greater understanding of what it meant to be a tax collector in that day.4
The tax collectors would bid to collect taxes for the Roman government and then add a surcharge, which they kept. Since tax collectors worked for Rome, they were viewed as traitors to their own people and were not well liked.
27. What criticisms did the Pharisees voice about Jesus?
Read Luke 6:1-11.
28. How did Jesus anger the Pharisees through both His healings and His defense of His actions?
Throughout this week’s lesson we have seen people respond to Jesus’ message. Some were attracted to him while others grew angry at His actions and His words.
29. Compare the responses of those you have studied today. What would you say is the fundamental difference?
30.Sharing question: Have you responded to Jesus as Levi and Peter did? What have you failed to leave behind, that you are holding on to rather than release to Him? Why? How does that keep you from really coming home to Him?
31.Responding to God: Write a prayer or poem of confession and commitment to God. Ask for the grace to leave everything so that He can use you mightily for His kingdom.
When I read Becky’s story, I really could not believe how well it illustrated this lesson. Until she changed her attitude about leaving, she could not be at home.
After over 28 years of living in Austin, we were moving to Dallas. Glenn had been unemployed for six months, and had been offered a good job in Dallas. The timing seemed perfect. All our children were grown, the youngest having just graduated from high school and been accepted at the University of Texas. Our house in Austin was paid for, so we could afford to keep it for Ethan to live in while he was at UT. We joked that he was going to be at home, and his parents were going to come visit on weekends. Maybe we’d bring our laundry.
Dallas beckoned. It was an adventure. Glenn was from Mesquite, and his mother and sister still lived there. There was a great opportunity to get closer to them, especially since Glenn’s sister was suffering from cancer. It seemed clear that Dallas was where God wanted us to be. We moved.
We found a great church right away. We got involved. I joined the women’s Bible study, and both of us joined a Community group. I started going to treatments with Glenn’s sister and mom. Glenn settled in to his job, enjoying the challenge, and the stimulation of a talented group of colleagues.
We went to Austin frequently on weekends. Maybe too frequently. It was good to see family and friends, but we hadn’t been in Dallas long enough for it to feel like home, and Austin was becoming just a place to visit. I felt like I belonged nowhere. I was still sure that God wanted us in Dallas, but my head and my heart were not in the same place. I confessed my feeling to the community group, and they lifted me up in prayer.
As the year wore on, there were more trips to Austin. Our children were having problems. Ethan was struggling with school. Lynn’s marriage was falling apart. She and her husband separated. My older daughter, Lorna, moved back into our house to save money. Her dog died. She had stress at work. It was hard to connect with James because his life was so busy. One weekend as we were returning to Dallas, I saw the city skyline in the distance, and I started crying. Glenn asked me what was wrong. I told him, “I don’t want to be there. I just don’t want to be in Dallas.” But I knew that Dallas was where God wanted me to be. Where He wants me to be. I realized that I was resisting God’s will. I was in Dallas, but I wasn’t here with God. I confessed to Him my feelings and asked for strength to believe that He would take care of my family. I acknowledged that they belong to Him, and He loves them more than I do. Of course, I always knew those things are true, but the head and the heart had to come together.
Last time as we were returning from Austin, I again looked up at the skyline in the distance. But this time, my heart leapt. I was coming home; home to the place God wants me to be.
3 NET Bible Note 3, p. 1811
4 NET Bible Note 9, p. 1802
5 Darrell L. Bock, Luke, ed. Grand R. Osborne, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series, vol. 3 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 110.