Luke and The Lost
Randy and I were teachers by profession. All the rest of our hours were spent at church volunteering in various ways from Sunday School teacher, leading youth ministries, to cleaning the church and mowing the lawn. We were also raising a family. The picture is probably pretty familiar to all of you who read this. Then something changed…in a large way. God changed our call. God rocked our world.
Our home church, where we grew from infants to adults, needed a pastor. Randy felt the call of God on him to fill this empty slot. Randy obeyed. I agreed to help because I felt God calling him, too. It was scarily exciting. This meant speaking to people who knew all your mistakes, failures, and personality flaws as well as your achievements. “You can’t go back home” as said by many is partially true. Randy was advised not to pastor the church where we grew up, but God called and we obeyed. This was a special circumstance. Randy knew it would be temporary until God sent someone else. Randy “temporarily” pastored this church for about nine years. It wasn’t easy but doable. He was occasionally reminded of his past mistakes by members, but the mission to obey God trumped what others said.
Jesus knows how Randy felt. Jesus’ ministry takes him back to his hometown “church”, the meeting place in the community where he grew up. It is here where he declares the mission God, the Father, has given Him to complete on earth. The home town folks are rude then hateful, ready to kill him before the mission grows. The mission, in spite of what others thought, continued…praise God! Jesus’ ministry begins as God leads. Jesus heals, restores, throws demons from their strongholds in others and tells ALL people who God really is and the love He wants to give. Jesus teaches with authority…no debate. Only Truth. Let us begin to humbly learn from The Master, Jesus as we read the gospel of Luke.
Luke 4, The Message
To Set the Burdened Free
14-15 Jesus returned to Galilee powerful in the Spirit. News that he was back spread through the countryside. He taught in their meeting places to everyone’s acclaim and pleasure.
16-21 He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,
God’s Spirit is on me;
he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and
recovery of sight to the blind,
To set the burdened and battered free,
to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”
22 All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son, the one we’ve known since he was a youngster?”
23-27 He answered, “I suppose you’re going to quote the proverb, ‘Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.’ Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown. Isn’t it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon? And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian.”
28-30 That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, but he gave them the slip and was on his way.
31-32 He went down to Capernaum, a village in Galilee. He was teaching the people on the Sabbath. They were surprised and impressed—his teaching was so forthright, so confident, so authoritative, not the quibbling and quoting they were used to.
33-34 In the meeting place that day there was a man demonically disturbed. He screamed, “Ho! What business do you have here with us, Jesus? Nazarene! I know what you’re up to. You’re the Holy One of God and you’ve come to destroy us!”
35 Jesus shut him up: “Quiet! Get out of him!” The demonic spirit threw the man down in front of them all and left. The demon didn’t hurt him.
36-37 That set everyone back on their heels, whispering and wondering, “What’s going on here? Someone whose words make things happen? Someone who orders demonic spirits to get out and they go?” Jesus was the talk of the town.
He Healed Them All
38-39 He left the meeting place and went to Simon’s house. Simon’s mother-in-law was running a high fever and they asked him to do something for her. He stood over her, told the fever to leave—and it left. Before they knew it, she was up getting dinner for them.
40-41 When the sun went down, everyone who had anyone sick with some ailment or other brought them to him. One by one he placed his hands on them and healed them. Demons left in droves, screaming, “Son of God! You’re the Son of God!” But he shut them up, refusing to let them speak because they knew too much, knew him to be the Messiah.
42-44 He left the next day for open country. But the crowds went looking and, when they found him, clung to him so he couldn’t go on. He told them, “Don’t you realize that there are yet other villages where I have to tell the Message of God’s kingdom, that this is the work God sent me to do?” Meanwhile he continued preaching in the meeting places of Galilee.
What do we learn?
–The scroll with the prophecy of Isaiah had a profound last thought…”This is God’s year to act!”. Jesus, The Messiah, whom they had all been waiting for was right there among them. Imagine it!
–It this God’s year to act with a new mission in our lives? Let’s ask God for what HE wants this year!
Dear Heavenly Father, We love reading about You, how You work in and through us, how You are in control of every situation and we fall down in humble praise to You. Continue to be with us on our separate journeys. Show us Your will for You are God and we are not. We need you every hour. Defeat the foe within us and all around us. Help us to see only You above all else.
In Jesus Name, Amen