Monday, February 11, 2008

Luke Chapter Four

Luke 4 tells us what Jesus was tempted to do and what Jesus came to do.

Reading: Luke 4.1-44

Scriptures: “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” Luke 4.43

Observations: This chapter is so rich it is impossible to restrain myself to one or two verses. I chose verse 43 because it summarizes the flow of the whole chapter. So, my observations are about the whole, not just this verse.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, launches into his mission. His first challenge is to face down the devil’s temptation to use his authority for his own personal comfort, power and fame. We then learn that he has come instead for the poor, the imprisoned, the blind and the oppressed. And when Jesus hints to his hometown listeners that God would also reach out to the non-Israelites (remember that Luke is writing this for a gentile audience), his friends turned on him and attempted to throw him off of a cliff. But Jesus isn’t thwarted by those parochial prejudices and walks right through the crowd. And so we see that nothing can thwart his mission. His mission begins by demonstrating his power to cast out demons and heal diseases, and in so doing we see the nature of the good news of the kingdom of God.

Apply: The temptation to build our personal kingdom (comfort, pleasure, power) is great. In the kingdoms of this world the tempter’s advertisements shout to us all, “You suck, you deserve more, it’s all about you.” And our ears are naturally tuned to those messages. I need to train my ears to hear a better message. I need to hear the good news of God’s kingdom and be steadfast in building that kind of kingdom.

Pray: Jesus, help me to have ears that hear the whisper of your still small voice above the shouts of all the other voices that tempt me to turn away from your will and your ways.


traci said...

I wonder why we think (I'm sayin' "we" to make it a little less painful for "me")that we should somehow get to be LIKE Jesus without actually having to walk a mile in HIS sandles.
I wanna be selfless and humble, I DON'T wanna be alone with no friends to understand me (who wanna shove me off the cliff for the way I make them feel).
I wanna be strong and filled with the Spirits power, I DON'T wanna be led out into the wilderness (for one SECOND let alone 40 days!) to spar with the devil himself.
I wanna be a light on a hill for Jesus, I DON'T wanna carry my cross UP a hill...
This flesh is always in such a battle with the Spirit, but when I choose Jesus...I suppose I choose ALL of Him, not just the pretty parts.
THAT'S not easy.

Father, Thank you for Jesus - the hard parts, and the sweet parts, cause in the end every part of Him is alltogether LOVELY. I need your gentle touch to pull me along when it's hard to follow.

Kathy said...

It truly amazes me each time I experience the Holy Spirit's progress. ( I am a work in...) As I read your comments and the passages in Luke, I was reminded of a conversation some time ago with my daughter about how "The Great Commission" often separates from other "religious beliefs" and what we as Christians are called to do according to our talents and wealths.
Just last night my husband and I had a supportive and I hope comforting discussion about our "wants" verses "needs".... the meaning of "being successful" verses "gaining acquisitions" and the journey for meaningful and everlasting "joy."
Please keep challenging us, Bill.... as even "squirming" in one's pew on Sunday morning can be perceived as "moving closer to our Lord."

Anonymous said...

Luke 4:5 is in my humble opinion so relevant to us in this day and age. The opposing forces of "The True Kingdom" seem to try and show us all of the kingdoms of this world (i.e. media, political, etc.)and continue to offer them to us in exchange for "The Way." How I pray that we can all look beyond all extras of this world to the Kingdom of God and the will of the Father.

marshmellow said...

The word "guts" comes to mind thinking about this chapter. Guts to stand up to the Devil and resist temptation, guts to speak the truth, guts to confront demonic forces, guts to confront sickness and disease. Guts from the Spirit of God! It takes his guts to do all of this!

We can be and should be doing all of these things if we have the guts of Jesus! We will want to if we have his guts. Tough stuff.

God, give me your guts so I always care about this stuff. Spirit, give me your guts so I can deal with this stuff!

Gladys said...

The key words today for me are: "It is written . ." Jesus said this 4 times and it is repeated once more. At the time of Jesus' tempation, He very aptly reminded the devil what the Scriptures said, and from which the devil departed.*

v. 4 It is written . . Deut. 8:3
v. 7 It is written . . Deut. 6:3 and 10:20
v. 10 It is written . . Ps. 91:11
Also, in v. 12 Jesus said, "It is said" which meant "it was written" and is in Deut. 6:16
Then Jesus read (vs. 17-18) from where "it was written" . . Is. 61:1-2

In my studies over the years, one thing that has had my curiosity at peak interest was that Jesus was Jewish. The Jews are a people that have not been forgotten by God (Jer. 31:35-37; Rom. 11:2,5) and were included in Jesus' last words to "preach the Gospel to ALL creation." (Mark 16:15) See the word "all" again! God gave the Jews a mission, one of which is found in Romans 3:2 ".. they were entrusted with the oracles of God" --these oracles being the Jewish Scriptures/Torah/TaNaKh**, a/k/a, Old Testament, and for which we are, or should be, thankful!

* When the devil departed, v 13, it states "until an opportune time" and later, in the Garden, the devil returned in full fury. Just because we deal effectively with temptation today and can be thankful, does not mean that we won't be tempted tomorrow. This is a huge warning for us to be aware of this and to take steps each day to stand firm, whether it be knowing the Scripture - that is written - and standing on that, or taking other measures.

In any event, the main point here is that Jesus knew the Scriptures very well, and was very adequately able to use them against the devil, even though there was not yet a "new" testament. So, even the Old Testament is replete with wisdom and can still be lifegiving to us today as it was to Jesus then.

"IT IS WRITTEN", that is, the Word of God. (Eph. 6:17)


** The Hebrew Bible -TaNaKh - is an acronym for:
T = "Torah" meaning "teaching." It is also referred to as the "Law." This includes Gen.-Deut., but is sometimes used to include all the Hebrew Bible.
N = "Nevi'im" (pronounced ne-vee'im) meaning "prophets."
K = "Ketu'vim" (pronounced ke-too-veem) meaning "writings."
In the Hebrew Bible,all the books are under one of these headings. Our divisions are a bit different, but everything is there in either case.

Father, I ask that as I read and study Your Word, that You put in my very being that which I need to know and live by. Thank You, Father!