While Matthew records his version of this most famous of all sermons as The Sermon on the Mount, Luke provides a different perspective “He went down with them and stood on a level place” (Luke 6:17)—the setting may be the same for both versions—just approached from different directions.
Matthew provides a more detailed account in his gospel (Matthew 5, 6, and 7). Both authors lay out the ethical life that Jesus taught without compromise. Anyone who reads Luke’s version (Luke 6:20—38) "The Sermon on The Plain" cannot miss the challenges that Jesus gives his disciples:
· Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you
· Bless those who curse you
· Pray for those who mistreat you
· Turn the other cheek
· If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt
· Give to everyone who asks you
· If anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back
· Do to others as you would have them do to you
· Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back
· Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked
· Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful
· Do not judge, and you will not be judged
· Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned
· Forgive and you will be forgiven
· Give and it will be given to you
Jesus calls his followers to action to become what his half brother James would later call “doers of the Word, not hearers only” (James 1:22).
Luke closes chapter six with three of Jesus most memorable teachings.
1. “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?” (see Luke 6:41—42).
2. “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit” (see Luke 6:43—45).
3. The difference between practical wisdom and its opposite are packed into the parable of the wise and foolish builders—the wise man builds his house upon the rock, the foolish man builds on the sand. When the rains and storms come, the house built upon rock stands firm, but the one on the sand collapses (see Luke 6:46—49).
Jesus still invites us to come to him, listen to his teaching, and put his words into practice.
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Monday, April 2, 2018
Although he is already encountering opposition (Luke 6:11), Jesus is undeterred from his primary mission. So, as Luke writes, “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God” (Luke 6:12).
We soon learn why he sacrificed sleep for prayer—he was ready to choose twelve close companions to be with him for the remainder of his time on earth. The Twelve became Jesus’ inner circle of followers.
Significantly, he also designates the Twelve as “apostles” which comes from a Greek verb meaning “to send.” As The New Bible Dictionary explains: “In the New Testament it [the term apostle] is applied to Jesus as the Sent One of God (Hebrews 3:1), to those sent by God to preach to Israel (Luke 11:49), and to those sent by churches (2 Corinthians 8:23, Philippians 2:25).
“Essential to the understanding of all the Gospels . . . is the choice by Jesus . . . of a group of twelve men whose purpose was to be with Him, to preach, and to have authority to heal and to exorcize (see Mark 3:14).” Luke lists their names:
“Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor” (Luke 6:14-15). As they go down from the mountainside, this group is surrounded by a larger group of disciples and “a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear Jesus and to be healed of their diseases” (Luke 6:17).
But before launching into the many challenging topics covered in the remainder of Luke 6, I want to pause to consider the questions posed by N.T. Wright in his discussion of Luke 6: If Jesus comes into our everyday context today:
“What sort of a team is he going to choose? Who is he calling, and to what sort of task? What are his promises and warnings for our world, for people who will hear his call and follow him” (Luke for Everyone, page 72).
Jesus shares his viewpoint in Luke 6:29-49, and the next post will summarize his key points. From the perspective of what Jesus calls the Kingdom of God, those verses communicate a thorough description of the ethical life expected of his disciples.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Last Friday I attended a Black History Showcase presentation at a grandson’s elementary school in Oakland. So I missed our regular men’s group discussion on Luke 6.
The group covered the first 19 verses and, fortunately for me, decided that we will review the second half of the chapter this week. I noticed how much I missed connecting with my friends last week.
As we meet weekly to read and discuss a passage together we learn so much by sharing our different insights. Reading and applying scripture together becomes a practice that we miss when we are away. As we spend time together we get to know others--and let others know us--in the prayerful context of sharing in a common purpose and friendship.
My friend Dan’s email gave me a quick snapshot of some of the key questions our group covered when discussing Jesus’ activities on a certain Sabbath in Luke 6:1-11:
- Have we lost the idea of a Sabbath?
- Does Sabbath mean church, or do we make it just another day to run around?
- Can Sabbath mean nature?
- Is the Sabbath an external form or posture?
- Does the outward form become something of a charade (as it did for the Pharisees) that gets in the way of an internal dialogue with God?
Another friend of mine recently described how her family decided to take a family hike with a friend and some relaxing family time with a meal and a movie one recent Sunday. She acknowledged that it is often just too easy to spend a typical Sunday evening making a do-list and stressing out over the week ahead.
Luke records how Jesus revolutionized people’s thinking about their Sabbath practices. When he was asked “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” (Luke 6:2) He responded by reminding the Pharisees of the time when King David and his band of men “entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. Then Jesus said to them, “the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:4-5; see Leviticus 24:5-9).
Luke highlights another confrontation on another day when Jesus is teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath. A man in the congregation has a deformed right hand, and the Pharisees are watching to see whether or not Jesus will heal on the Sabbath. Knowing their thoughts, Jesus invites the man with the withered hand to stand up in front of everyone.
Jesus then turns and questions the Pharisees, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath; to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” A long silence follows. No one replies.
Eugene Peterson captures the way Jesus reacts: “He looked around, looked each one in the eye. He said to the man, ‘Hold out your hand.’ He held it out—it was as good as new! They were beside themselves with anger, and started plotting how they might get even with him” (Luke 6:10-11, Message).
Sunday, February 18, 2018
In Luke 5 we read several dramatic scenes which bring us up close and personal with Jesus.
In the first scene, Jesus is standing beside the Sea of Galilee and “the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God” (Luke 5:1). Seeing two empty fishing boats, Jesus asks Simon if he can use his fishing boat to move away from the crowd. He then sits down and teaches the people gathered along the shore.
When he had finished teaching, Jesus tells Simon to “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Peter hesitates and explains they were out all night and caught nothing. “But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:4-5).
Miraculously, the men’s nets fill with so many fish they begin to break. The men signal their fishing partners to bring out a second boat. Both boats overflow with fish, and begin to sink. Feeling completely shattered Simon falls down beside Jesus and says, “Go away from me Lord, I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8).
Luke observed how all of the fishermen shared Peter’s response. “When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him. It was the same with James and John Zebedee’s sons, coworkers with Simon.”
Jesus said to Simon, “There is nothing to fear. From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.” They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him” (Luke 5:9-10 Message).
In scene 2 a man suffering from leprosy, a social outcast, throws himself face-down pleading with Jesus, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Moved with compassion, “Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I want to. Be clean.’ Then and there his skin was smooth, the leprosy gone. Jesus instructed him, ‘Don’t talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed self to the priest, along with the offering ordered by Moses. Your cleansed and obedient life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done’ (Luke 5:13-14, Message).
Unable to keep silent about his life-changing experience with Jesus, the man’s story spread so quickly that time and again large crowds flocked to wherever Jesus might be found, longing to hear him speak and to heal their diseases.
Before moving on to scene 3, Luke inserts an important observation into his narrative: “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). Do we follow his example by praying before, during, and after our daily activities?
Thanks to Luke’s careful account, we can benefit by looking at all the ways Jesus connects with his heavenly father and how he relates to individuals and large crowds while carrying out his mission (Luke 4:18-19).
When scene 3 begins, People were coming “from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick”(Luke 5:17). One of the most memorable healings follows when four men tear the tiles off the roof of a house, so they can lower their paralyzed friend down through the roof to a soft landing in front of Jesus.
The crowd in and around the house was so dense and impenetrable, that the man’s friends exercised amazing courage and creativity to make sure their friend could be seen by Jesus. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’ (Luke 5:20). This shocked the Pharisees and teachers, who were thinking to themselves ‘Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ (Luke 5:21).
“Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking and said, ‘Why all this gossipy whispering? Which is simpler: ‘to say I forgive your sins, or to say Get up and start walking?’ Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both . . . He now spoke directly to the paraplegic: ‘Get up. Take your bedroll and go home.’ Without a moment’s hesitation, he did it—got up, took his blanket, and left for home, giving glory to God all the way” (Luke 5:22-25 Message).
In scene 4 Jesus turns the social order and polite society’s expectations upside down. First, he calls Levi—a tax collector—to become one of his disciples. Immediately, Levi leaves his tax booth, and follows Jesus. Once again, someone called by Jesus leaves everything behind for an unpredictable future.
Next, Levi throws a party for a “large crowd of tax collectors and others” who were eating and drinking with him at his house. Jesus had this party scene in mind when he prayerfully selected and called Levi.
But the Pharisees and teachers of the law had other ideas, and promptly started complaining to Jesus disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” (Luke 5:30). Jesus uses this encounter to communicate his mission:
“Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders—an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out” (Luke 5:31 Message).
Scene 5 tackles the religious party’s pressing question: “Should we be Fasting and Praying, or Eating and Drinking?” The Pharisees remind Jesus that “John the Baptist’s disciples often fast and pray, as do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking” (Luke 5:33).
Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast” (Luke 5:34).
As N.T. Wright comments, “This is a party—the first of many in Luke’s gospel—and like all Jesus’ parties it is a sign of the new age. It is, for those with eyes to see, a miniature messianic banquet . . . It’s a celebration of life itself. Yes, there is a dark note to this as well: one day the bridegroom will be taken away, and then it will be time to fast once more. But it won’t be for long. Luke’s gospel ends with two Easter meals, one in Emmaus and one in the upper room. The bridegroom returns, and his risen life means that God’s new age has been well and truly launched” (Luke for Everyone, pages 64-65).
The chapter concludes with two sayings, one making the point that it’s not good to patch an old coat with new cloth . . . suggesting that you can’t “patch” the old ways with Jesus’ new approach. The second saying declares that new wine belongs in new wine skins. “You have to take the new thing whole or not at all . . . The task then is to live out the new life, the new energy, which was at the heart of Jesus’ teaching and work” (Luke for Everyone, page 65). As we review the 5 scenes Luke describes, where do we find ourselves?
Do we live according to the old rules and old ways, or are we open to letting Jesus shape our lives according to the new kingdom he is still bringing into being?
Monday, February 12, 2018
In Luke’s fourth chapter he takes his readers from Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan river out to the same Judean desert described in last week’s post as a blistering hot and rocky landscape.
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry” (Luke 4:1-2).
The devil challenges Jesus with three tests, suggesting first that Jesus turn a stone into bread.
Second, he shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and claims he will give Jesus all the splendor of those kingdoms--but only if Jesus will worship the devil.
Next, taking Jesus to the highest point of the temple in Jerusalem he challenges Jesus to jump so God can catch him and prevent any possible injury.
How did Jesus handle these temptations? For each one, Jesus quotes a single scripture.
“The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone’’ (Luke 4:3-4, with Jesus quoting Deut. 8:3).
After showing Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in an instant, the devil taunts Jesus.
“And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only’” (Luke 4:6-8, with Jesus quoting from Deut. 6:13).
In the third instance, the devil confronts Jesus once more by provoking him with the same phrase with which he started this confrontation--“If you are the Son of God”.
“The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ “Jesus answered, It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Luke 4:9-12; the devil refers to Psalm 91:11-12, and Jesus replies with Deut. 6:16).
Laurence E. Porter summarizes: “What is important is to see how, when our Lord’s physical resources had been taxed to the full by His fasting and His spiritual wrestling, Satan suggested easier ways to win men’s hearts and to fulfill his mission than the way of the Cross that lay before Him” (The New International Bible Commentary, 1979, ZondervanPublishingHouse, Grand Rapids, MI, page 1193).
Jesus returns to Galilee to begin his teaching ministry in the synagogues “in the power of the Spirit, and the news about him spread through the whole countryside” (Luke 4:14).
During a regular Sabbath day service in a synagogue in Nazareth Jesus reads aloud from the scroll of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19, Isaiah 61:1-2).
In those days, the designated reader would stand to read scripture, then sit down to teach. Luke describes the scene in detail noting that after Jesus sat down “He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:31). What a breathtaking announcement! Imagine the impact on those present! But Jesus was already anticipating their unspoken question:
Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ Truly I tell you” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4:23-27).
When Jesus first entered the synagogue on that day, everyone spoke well of him. But the mere mention of God blessing two Gentiles was enough to turn them into an angry murderous mob intent on killing him. But as they run him out of town and prepare to throw him off a cliff, Jesus “walked right through the crowd and went on his way” (Luke 4:30).
Luke continues his story with another Sabbath teaching in a synagogue in Capernaum. This time the people “were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority” (Luke 4:32). In Capernaum Jesus heals a demon-possessed man. He also heals Simon’s mother-in-law who was suffering with a high fever.
This action-packed chapter concludes with Jesus leaving town at daybreak--hoping to find some quiet time alone in a solitary place. But the crowds follow and try to encourage him to stay with them. “But he said, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea” (Luke 4:43-44).
Sunday, February 4, 2018
John the Baptist was surely one of the world’s most unforgettable characters even though he never made it into the Reader’s Digest’s popular series “The Most Unforgettable Character I ever met.”
Doctor Luke quickly sketches John’s unique profile in Luke 3, writing “the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness” (Luke 3:2). Earlier, Luke tells us “the child (John) grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel” (Luke 1:80).
William Barclay provides a vivid description of the landscape that John knew so well. “Between the centre of Judaea and the Dead Sea lies one of the most terrible deserts in the world. It is a limestone desert; it looks warped and twisted; it shimmers in the haze of the heat; the rock is hot and blistering and sounds hollow to the feet as if there was some vast furnace underneath; it moves out to the Dead Sea and descends in dreadful and unscalable precipices down to the shore. In the Old Testament it is sometimes called Jeshimmon, which means The Devastation. John was no city-dweller. He was a man from the desert and from its solitudes and its desolations. He was a man who had given himself a chance to hear the voice of God” (The Gospel of Mark, 1975, page 16).
John’s very appearance conveys a message. He lives simply in the desert, eating locusts and honey, and he wears a garment woven from camel’s hair and a leather belt. As news spread about him crowds of people made their way out to the desert country to see him and hear his provocative message.
“He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him’” (Luke 3:3-4).
Following the example of Israel’s prophets, John’s preaching style was bold and direct when he spoke—even to those who came to him for baptism: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:7-8) . . . adding “every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:9).
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. “If you have two coats, give one away,” he said. “Do the same with your food.”
Tax men also came to be baptized and said, “Teacher, what should we do?” He told them, “No more extortion—collect only what is required by law.”
Soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He told them, “No shakedowns, no blackmail—and be content with your rations.”
The interest of the people by now was building. They were all beginning to wonder, “Could this John be the Messiah?” (Luke 3:10-15, The Message).
But John intervened: “I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned” (Luke 3:16-17, The Message).
“With many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them” (Luke 3:18). How many people heard John’s fiery talks? Did they number in the hundreds, thousands, or were there as many as a million? We do not know precisely how many people heard John preach.
All we do know is that after he dared to rebuke Herod Antipas, a government official who married his brother’s wife, Herod locked John up in prison. And by reading Mark 6:24, and Matthew 14:10 we learn that ultimately John was beheaded and died as a prisoner (Matthew 14:10).
John the Baptist lived a short, dramatic and unique life that people never forgot. He surely qualifies as one of the world’s Most Unforgettable Characters on the world’s stage.
There’s one more thing to note in Luke 3:23-38—the way the author chooses to record Jesus’ genealogy—some still thought of Jesus as the “son of Joseph,” but Luke traces his lineage back to Adam “the son of God.”
As N.T. Wright writes: “Perhaps it is best to see the family tree, stretching back to the creation of the world, as a way of saying that, though Jesus is indeed the Messiah of Israel (another meaning of ‘son of God’), he is so precisely for the whole world. All creation, the whole human race, will benefit from what he has come to do" (Luke for Everyone, Westminster, John Knox Press, 2001, 2004).
Sunday, January 28, 2018
Luke 2 begins with one of the most frequently read Bible passages which describes the birth of Jesus.
With Mary’s time fast approaching, she and Joseph make their way to his hometown—Bethlehem. Around the world, in homes and churches wherever Christ’s followers gather, the story is told and re-told during the Christmas season just as it has been for centuries using the details Luke provides.
Mary “gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manager, because there was no guest room available for them” (Luke 2:7).
Shepherds minding their sheep are startled by the appearance of an angel with a message: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). They waste no time, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about” (Luke 2:15). After visiting the baby in the manger, the shepherds are unable to contain themselves, They tell everyone about their life-changing experience. Luke’s summary of the first eight days of Christ’s life, also includes Mary’s response to the amazing events:
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
One verse tells so much, and invites us to engage with Luke and consider his story from Mary’s unique perspective. This will also prompt us to consider Joseph’s thoughts even though Luke doesn’t mention them. Instead he pauses, and replaces words with silence. By not saying anything at all, Luke demonstrates one of his strengths as an author. When you read Luke, watch for moments of silence and the times when Luke refrains from embellishing his story.
In this chapter he explains where Jesus was born (Luke 2:1-21), then describes how his parents took him to the temple for the purification rites (Luke 2:22-40) before returning home to Nazareth in Galilee.
While they are in the temple, two new characters are introduced. One is Simeon a righteous and devout Spirit-filled man “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah” (Luke 2:26). Simeon goes to the temple and takes the baby Jesus in his arms, and praises God saying “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:9-32).
Anna, an eighty-four year old widow and prophet is the second new character. Anna lives in the temple, worshiping night and day, fasting and praying. She comes up to Joseph and Mary, giving thanks to God, and “Spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
After fulfilling the requirements of the Law, Joseph and Mary travel back to Nazareth. As Luke notes, “the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him” (Luke 2:40).
Doctor Luke then breaks off, leaving us a blank page with a gap of a dozen years without a word. Here Luke remains silent.
In Luke 2 he resumes his story when Jesus’ parents take him (now twelve years old) to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, a festival that lasted for eight days. When it’s time to return home, Joseph and Mary leave without realizing that Jesus is not with them. Instead of joining all his parents’ relatives for the journey home he stayed behind in Jerusalem.
When Joseph and Mary realize what has happened they go back and find Jesus “in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished. His mother said to him, ‘Son why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you’ ” (Luke 2:45-48).
Jesus replies “Why were you searching for me? . . . Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house? But they did not understand what he was saying to them” (Luke 2:49-50).
As Luke concludes, we hear an echo of Mary’s thoughtfulness expressed in Luke 2:19. The reunited family turns for home “Then he [Jesus] went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:51-52).
Spoiler alert: now there's another period of silence, an eighteen year gap that Luke doesn't even attempt to fill.
As you review all you've read in Luke 2, ask yourself What title would you use for Luke's second chapter? Is there one title for the whole chapter: Jesus' Birth and Dedication; How Old Testament Prophecies were Fulfilled; or Searching for Jesus. Or would you give a different title to each of the main sections? Finally, what verse or passage is your favorite, and how could you make application from it in the week ahead?