Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Luke 4

This chapter marks the beginning of Jesus public ministry. It is important to note that the beginning of Jesus public ministry does not begin in public but in the wilderness and in a private struggle with his identity. Luke 4:1-13 is a description of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. These temptations go to the core of who Jesus is and the mission he was sent to accomplish. "Turning stones into bread" is the temptation, and one we all face, to use our power and position for ourselves. Will Jesus use his power to care for himself or others? He chooses others. The second temptation: 'worship me and I will give you the world'. Is, at its core, not only a temptation to fall into idolatry but is a temptation to take a short cut. Philippians 2 tells us that at the end of all things all things will be put under Jesus feet. Every knee will bow, every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. That is Jesus destiny. But to earn the crown promised he has to endure the cross. The 2nd temptation is a temptation to take a short cut -- to have the victory without the pain. Again, Jesus refuses. The third temptation is a temptation to make a big show to draw a crowd and attention. It is worth noting that the evil one quotes scripture when it suits his purpose. Jesus, again, refuses and identifies who he is to the evil one: "you will not put the Lord your God to the test (13)."

Jesus ministry begins in Galilee and a journey to his home town. The Nazareth manifesto (as some of my friends like to call it) is a statement of his purpose. It has at its heart a quote from Isaiah: "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." This is Jesus opening sermon in his home town. It is the place where he was raised, it is the one place where people knew him best as the son of the carpenter as the son of Mary and Joseph. Jesus chooses to preach from a passage that is identified with the coming of Messiah and he announces: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing (21)." In other words, the messiah has arrived. These words and the examples that follow cause a riot to break out but Jesus walks away with his life.

From here Jesus moves his ministry to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee where he teaches and preaches and heals many and "a report about him began to reach every place in the region (37).

No comments: