The Shema: Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is known as the Shema or “hear,” named for its first word. The Canaanites were polytheistic – believing in many gods, but Judaism and Christianity is monotheistic – believing in one God. Together with the first commandment, this establishes a major difference. God is preparing them for the difference.
A chosen people: Deuteronomy 7:6-11 shows clearly that the Israelites were chosen not by any particular merit, but solely on the basis of God’s love and covenant-keeping character. See also Deuteronomy 9:4-12.
A conditional covenant: The covenant with Abraham was unconditional – that is unilateral or one-way, see Genesis 15:12-21. However, the covenant with Israel concerning the land is bilateral or two-way. Their conditions while living in the land and their keeping the land is dependent upon their behavior. See Deuteronomy 7:12-16, 8:1-20, 11, etc. This is a major theme of this book, and a major turning point in the relationship. There are blessings and curses – and they were going to have to recite these when they got into the promised land.
It’s about the heart: This early in the relationship, God is making it clear that this was really a matter of the heart. See Deuteronomy 10:16, 11:1, 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; Acts 7:51; Romans 2:29. Over and over they are commanded to love the Lord. What is the connection between love and obedience? Is this a New Testament concept? See John 14:15. They were to seek the Lord in bad times and good times.
A pure people: False prophets and idols were to be met with capital punishment – even a whole city if necessary! See Deuteronomy 13, etc.
Reiteration of key laws: Foods, tithes, Sabbath year, feasts, justice system organization and practices, forbidden worship practices, kings (Deuteronomy 17), priests and levites, cities of refuge, warfare, marital practices, inheritance, sexual morality, offerings, and more.
The kinsman redeemer: Deuteronomy 25:5-10 is about what’s called Levirate marriage. This is a major plot point in the book of Ruth, and is used the challenge Jesus about the resurrection in Matt. 22:24; Mark 12:19; Luke 20:28.
A coming prophet: Deuteronomy 18:15 is cited in Acts 3:22 and Acts 7:37 as speaking of Jesus. John the Baptist was asked if he was “the prophet.”
Power: Healing, casting out demons, raising the dead, calming a storm, feeding a multitude, and displaying his glory to the inner three – Peter, James, and John. In the midst of this, John the Baptist sends messengers to confirm if Jesus is “the one who is to come.” Jesus responds by dragging them around to see what he is doing. His answer is given concisely in Luke 7:22-23. According to this, why did Jesus do these signs? Compared to all the sick in the world, Jesus healed very few. Additionally, except for the apostles (Luke 9:1-6), the followers of Jesus are never commanded to do these kind of signs and wonders. However, it was clearly predicted that these signs would accompany the first believers (Mark 16:17-18) and indeed they did. The reason was the same – to attest to the genuine nature of their message. Peter and the others begin to understand who Jesus is, Luke 9:28-20, 9:28ff.
Diversity: Jesus continues to break social barriers dealing with a centurion, a widow, “a woman of the city,” and women who were traveling with Him. He also raised the daughter of a ruler of the synagogue, and healed an unclean woman along the way. How does this make you think about the availability of the kingdom? How does this shape your understanding of evangelism?
Mission: Jesus sent out the twelve apostles, Luke 9:1-6. He also sent out seventy-two in pairs, Luke 10:1ff. In what ways is it different living in post-Acts Christianity?
Relationship with God: The key to loving and forgiveness is to know how much we’ve been forgiven – Luke 7:36 and following. The Kingdom must be entered into with the faith of a child. What does Luke 10:21-24 teach us about the attitude of a follower of God?
Conflict: Things seem to begin to turn – as the disciples begin to figure out who Jesus is, the Jewish leadership seems to resist Him more. Most of Luke 11 is the building of this conflict. What are the characteristics from Luke 11 of someone in conflict with Jesus? How does he deal with it? How were the disciples to deal with rejection when they were sent out? In Luke 9:51-56, how did the disciples want to deal with rejection? What was Jesus’ response? What is the sign of Jonah, Luke 11:29-32?
Parables: Notice that Jesus began to speak in parables, Luke 8:4ff. He outlines the purpose of parables. His interpretation of the parable of the sower is important to understanding some of the other parables. Notice that only 1 of 4 soils is ‘good.’
Discipleship: It begins with receiving the kingdom as a child, Luke 9:46-48. Jesus says, “take up your cross and follow me,” Luke 9:23ff, and 9:57ff.
Psalm 5: Notice the blessings pronounced upon the righteous in Psalm 5:12. Do we often consider those things? What in this Psalm do you need to pray about today? If you feel down, ask God to lift you up.
Psalm 115: What a start! Compare Psalm 115:1 to Luke 10:21-24. Can you ever go wrong praying for God to be glorified? How can God be glorified in the saving of souls? In the condemning of souls? In your easy times? In your tough times? Sometimes the answer to that last question is the very thing that will bring you through tough times.
Psalm 6: Do you cry out to God in grief? Do you ever tell Him just exactly how you feel? Sometimes if you just begin, the words will come.