Author: Clarivel Anne Dinh

Jesus proclaimed in the Synagogue in Nazareth– “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the lord.” (Luke 4:18–19) How many prisoners did Jesus set free in His ministry? Well, just ask John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin: John died in a prison, sending messages to Jesus asking if He truly was the Messiah! John knew the scripture that said the captives would be released, but he wasn’t experiencing it in his own helpless captivity. Physical iron–bar jail doors were not flying open as Jesus went around the countryside. But truly, Jesus set the captives free through the Gospel! Millions and billions of slaves and prisoners of sin have been released to enjoy...

Motives for Mercy  Deuteronomy 24:18–19 • But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this thing. When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. Social justice is a big deal in the USA, because poverty is such an achingly huge problem. So, in every election cycle the question is asked, “How much should we tax, and who should we tax, in order to fund the welfare needs of the less fortunate?” This is a hot issue in the political landscape, and over the years, it has brought about welfare programs for those without jobs,...

Deuteronomy 23:15–16 • “You shall not give back to his master the slave who has escaped from his master to you. He may dwell with you in your midst, in the place which he chooses within one of your gates, where it seems best to him; you shall not oppress him. We aren’t done with this verse yet! There is still one more Jesus–connection we have to make. There is a NT book that gives an amazing real–life object lesson of the reality of being set free in Jesus. Paul wrote a letter to the slave master Philemon for this very purpose – because he didn’t want Onesimus the escaped slave to go back into bondage to Philemon, so Paul did everything in his power to win Onesimus’ freedom. First, Paul played the, “I’m an apostle and prophet, so I could just use my authority and command this”—card. But, Paul knew it was...

Blessings of Liberty Let’s look at this amazing verse once again: Deuteronomy 23:15–16 • “You shall not give back to his master the slave who has escaped from his master to you. He may dwell with you in your midst, in the place which he chooses within one of your gates, where it seems best to him; you shall not oppress him. History can provide amazing illustrations or contrasts to God’s word. Here is a bit of Civil War history for our devotional today: One of the key events that precipitated the war was the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. Since the founding of the country, the Northern States were mostly content to let the Southern plantation owners do what they wanted in terms of slavery—just as long as it wasn’t seen in the North. This was a moral bugaboo, but unfortunately thought was: Out of sight, out of mind. But as the nation grew, the...

Because He did it first! Deuteronomy 23:19–20 • “You shall not charge interest to your brother—interest on money or food or anything that is lent out at interest. To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that the LORD your God may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.   There are some awesome parallels between Deuteronomy chapters 23 & 24 and Luke 6. But you’ll see some significant improvements in Jesus’ Perfect Version of God’s Law!   Notice this: the Israelites were not allowed to charge interest for loans to fellow Jews, since they were brothers. But, foreigners were fair game!   Now, compare it to what Jesus taught in Luke 6:30–36: Jesus took the law of kindness introduced through Moses and He perfected it, taking it over the top. “Love your fellow Jew” has become...

For You Read Luke 22:20 A simple thought today, both simple, but profound; maybe the most profound thought of all . . . Jesus says He went to the cross and shed His blood “for you.” “You” is plural, but it’s a plural made up of a lot of yous-singular. Ponder that today – When Jesus hung on that Cross, He did it all for you....

Remember & Feel Read Luke 22:19 The Passover meal was packed full of meaning. Every dish and course was a rehearsal of what God had done for Israel in delivering them from Egypt and providing for them in their on their journey. It may not have been the most “delicious” meal as some of the courses aimed more at reminding them of the hardships they’d endures as slaves. But it was certainly a meaningful time. What’s the most memorable meal you’ve had? Why was it memorable? Was it that the food was so good, or that the moment was packed with emotion? Now consider this . . . A large part of taste is smell. And smell is strongly connected to both memory and emotion in our brains. We can smell something just once and if it’s identified, though it may be years later, can recall what it is. And if the smell comes...

Enjoy in Moderation  Read Luke 22:17-18 Yes, Jesus drank wine. It was part of the culture. But the wine they drank wasn’t what we’re familiar with. It was far less potent since it was watered down. The only people who could afford to drink regular wine lived in palaces. And, this is important, the average Jew was always on guard against being drunk. This was a society that ran on honor. Reputation was a major concern to all. So, how you carried yourself in public was something people took great care over. Public drunkenness was shameful. Even the hint of having drunk too much was avoided. We call it getting ‘buzzed.’ So while Jesus and the disciples drank wine, they never abused it. The cups used at this meal would have been small; a few ounces. After the four cups of the meal, the disciples would have been relaxed, but not buzzed since...

 Saying “Goodbye” Read Luke 22:14-16 Jesus was profoundly moved because He knew His time with these men who’d become so dear to Him was running out. Keeping with the theme we started yesterday, of entering into the story as a disciple of Jesus, reconnect to the emotions here by thinking of a time you had to say goodbye to a good friend. Maybe you or they moved away. Maybe they died. Maybe some argument or dispute busted up the friendship. People handle the pain of loss differently. But it’s something we all feel. Jesus felt it too....

Just Be There Read Luke 22:14-16 This is it; the last meal Jesus and the disciples will share before the Cross. It’s the last they’ll share on this Earth. As Jesus later says, they won’t share a meal like this until the End of the Age. Jesus will in fact eat after He rises from the dead. He ate a piece of fish on Sunday evening to prove He wasn’t a ghost, and later cooked them breakfast in Galilee, though it never says He ate. But those weren’t meals. They weren’t the daily evening main meal shared by family and friends as a time to sit and fellowship at their leisure. And they certainly weren’t the feast this Passover meal was. One of the most important things we can do in cultivating our relationship with Jesus is to meditate on little passages like this; putting ourselves into the story. The great privilege of...