In this short 117 page book, Peter Dickson and David Gibson offer sharp and dangerous commentary on nine+ passages from the book of Luke. Sharp because the short chapters cut precisely into the meat of the meaning of what Luke shares/writes. Have you ever been playing with a little pocket knife and underestimated its ability to penetrate or slice you? Well, Luke’s many glimpses into who Jesus is should never be underestimated. Also, this little book by a couple of guys I have never heard of could be overlooked in the midst of awesome popular books and commentary series. RICH offers wonderful insight that could help any seeker of truth as supplement to personal Scripture reading of Luke.
It’s dangerous because they remind us that we are saved by grace alone by a lover of sinners, not saved by works by a lover of the self-righteous….although he does love repentant self-righteous folks…that’s all of us. Jesus came to help us see that we are needy, that we are dead in our sins, that we are bankrupt with a debt that we can not pay. As he shows us this we see that he offers himself to be our riches, our salvation, our substitute, our hope, and our Lord that can bear our worship…who can be our God unlike any other, including ourselves. We crumble under the weight of self-worship along with all idols.
Many of us want to instinctively want to point to the good things we have done, the kind of things we hope might just haul us out of the spiritual red into the black and tip the scales in our favour…But the problem with even the best that we can bring is that it is like offering the bank a handful of copper coins to repay a £1m mortgage. It is Jesus who came to help us see our bankruptcy.
1. A Rags to Riches Story, Luke 4:14-22
…encountering Jesus is a hazardous business. There is no neutral position to occupy once he has addressed us. Either we hear what he says and believe him, or even our indifference and our apathy counts as a rejection of him.
2. God in the Dock, Luke 1:26-35, 2:1-15
There is no Christian view of God that does not recognize that we can only talk about God meaningfully if we talk about Jesus.
3. The Real Jesus, Luke 4:31-44
Luke presents us with a sobering fact: it is dangerous to be dazzled and amazed by Jesus’ deeds and to be totally oblivious to the priority and meaning of Jesus’ words.
4. The Scandal, Luke 7:36-50
It is dangerous to have fixed ideas about people-and especially about Jesus. With compassion and grace, with perfect insight and understanding, he (Jesus) spots the attitudes that are skewed and says ‘let me tell you why your thinking has to change’.
We separate people into artificial categories of good and bad even though everyone is in need of God’s forgiveness. This was Simon the Pharisee’s mistake. Luke is showing us that God’s forgiveness offends those who think it is only relevant for others.
5. The Greatest Mistakes You Cold Ever Make, Luke 12:13-48
at this point in Luke…”Jesus’ popularity is sky-high. He’s the latest, greatest thing and everyone wants in on the action. But Jesus isn’t interested in admirers, however sincere in their admiration; he wants devoted followers.
What a terrible error to be afraid of the terrorist who can kill but to not give a second thought to standing before Almighty God on judgment day (12:4).
The person who embraces Jesus loosens their grip on everything else. They give their money to others. They share their home with strangers. They are not obsessed with their own nearest and dearest. They spend time with the unlovely. They shift their priorities from themselves to others. Their worries about the present shrink while their hopes for the future grow… All because Jesus Christ is the greatest treasure they possess.
6. The Back to Front Kingdom, Luke 14:1-24, 18:9-14
…the person who has nothing to offer God but their sin is the person who finds that God offers them everything.
7. Finders Keepers, Luke 15:1-32
In regards to the older brother in the story of the prodigal son…..Self-righteousness is the breeding ground for deadly muttering, and deadly muttering when full grown is the spiritual equivalent of a terminal disease that leads to the kind of anger that refuses to go into the party, and sits outside in a huff.
8. The Price of Freedom, Luke 22:14-23, Luke 22:54-23:49
Subtitiles…His blood, my forgiveness. His trial, my freedom. His death, my life. His life, my future.
9. The Big Picture, Luke 4:14-30
It is easy to spend some free-time reading a book about Jesus giving sight to the blind without ever realizing that I am the one who is blind.