September 20 – Luke 22:35 – 24:53
As you read this section of Jesus’ passion and death, note how it presents Jesus “being numbered with the transgressors” (Luke 22:37 with Is. 53:1-12 as OT background). Who would all be included? And yet what is the assessment of Pilate? When Pilate hands over Jesus to be crucified, what does he reveal about himself? What is the assessment of the second criminal and the centurion? What does Luke want us to confess especially in light of the resurrection (Luke 24)? What does Jesus help us understand through His resurrection appearances recorded here?
September 21 – Paul’s Letter to the Colossians
It appears that Paul writes this letter in response to news that he has heard from Epaphras (see 1:7-8 and 4:12-13). Apparently Epaphras has brought the good news of Jesus to the Colossians, but they are troubled by some who promote a “superior type of knowledge.” Paul writes to help them grasp that Christ is all-sufficient (see 1:15-20), that He has rescued them from the powers of darkness, united them with Himself in Holy Baptism (2:11-14), and now calls them to put that new life into action. They are called to do this by rejecting what is evil and practicing what is good–in the congregation, their marriages and homes, and in the world of work. As you read it, think of how appropriate it is for us to know and do today.
September 22 – Paul’s Letter to Philemon
As you read this very personal letter to Philemon, you will discover that Paul is sending Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus, back to him. Onesimus apparently had stolen money from his owner and had fled, but was led to faith through the work of the Apostle Paul, and so Paul now asks Philemon to receive Onesimus back. It is a remarkably tactful and moving request.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians signals the Gospel’s advance to Europe. In the letters to the Christians in Greece (Philippians, Thessalonians, and Corinthians) we find Paul giving examples for them to follow, that they may sense how the Christian faith works out.
September 23 – Paul’s Letter to the Philippians
This letter is often called Paul’s “Letter of Joy” because of the wonderful partnership in the Gospel Paul experienced with this congregation. What evidence of this partnership do you see? As one looks at the letter more closely, you will detect his advice for them to overcome the divisions there and for them to have their Christian identity show through in their pagan environment. How does Paul seek to motivate them for this double thrust?