I was reading Luke this morning in my NIV Study Bible, and realized how much I love this particular Bible because of all the footnotes, commentary, and extra explanation that is in it. Here's a few "footnotes" that stood out today:
* The Pharisees wrapped their sin in respectability. They made themselves appear good by publicly doing good deeds (hmm... Oprah?) and pointing at the sins of others. Jesus chose to spend time not with these proud, self-righteous religious leaders, but with people who sensed their own sin and knew that they were not good enough for God. In order to come to God, we must repent; in order to renounce our sin, we must recognize it for what it is.
* Beware of thinking that you or your church has all the answers. No religious system is big enough to contain Christ completely or to fulfill perfectly all His desires for the world.
* Some people see God as a cosmic magician and consider prayer as a way to get God to do his tricks. But God is not a magician - He is the Master. Prayer is not a way for us to control God; it is a way for us to put ourselves under His control.
* If you are trying to find fulfillment only through riches, wealth may be the only reward you will ever get - and it does not last. We should not seek comfort now at the expense of eternal life.
* Popularity is no guarantee of truth, and human flattery does not bring God's approval. Sadness lies ahead for those who chase after the crowd's praise rather than God's truth.
* We should not be so afraid of the label hypocrite that we stand still in our Christian life, hiding our faith and making no attempts to grow. A person who tries to do right but often fails is not a hypocrite. Neither are those who fulfill their duty even when they don't feel like doing it. Often it is necessary and good to set aside our desires in order to do what needs to be done. It is not hypocrisy to be weak in faith. A hypocrite is a person who only puts on religious behavior in order to gain attention, approval, acceptance, or admiration form others.
* Our speech and actions reveal our true underlying beliefs, attitudes, and motivations. The good impressions we try to make cannot last if we are being deceptive. What is in your heart will come out in your speech and behavior.
Yep, that's some good stuff right there.