Manna for Today

 

Jesus’ First Sermon (Luke 4:14-30)

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.   

Learn it:


            After the story of Jesus in the wilderness, Luke puts in Jesus’ first sermon.  This story is out of order because in verse 23 Jesus mentions miracles that he has done in Capernaum.  We will not read about these miracles until the end of this chapter.  This means that Luke had a special purpose for moving this story out of the chronological order of Jesus’ ministry. 

In this story, Jesus gets up in front of a crowd at a synagogue and reads a passage from Isaiah.  This passage of Isaiah predicts a coming Messiah, that will be filled with the Spirit, and he will preach good news to the poor.  Jesus says that in his coming he has fulfilled this prophecy.  This stunned the crowd!  They were all just staring at Jesus and at first, their response was positive.  They were excited about what Jesus had said. 

Then Jesus, being all knowing, perceives their thoughts and how they want him to perform miracles.  They do not fully believe he is the fulfillment of the prophecy.  He explains to them how the Jews will not accept his message just like Elijah and Elisha were rejected.  He says that the Gentiles will be more accepting that they would be.  This infuriated the Jews and they chased him out of the town and were wanting to throw him off a cliff!  Jesus was able to escape from this because it was not yet his time.      

Live it:

            So far in Luke, we have had many people say that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.  That he was the promised Messiah.  In this passage, we now have Jesus saying, with his own words the same thing.  Like we see today, some people were excited about it and other people rejected him.  The gospel message is divisive.  Jesus came to rock the boat and push people out of their comfort zones. 

The gospel is not for one people group and this upset the Jews.  For the longest time, God watched over his chosen people, the Israelites.  Now God was extending his grace and mercy to the world.  Some of the Jews did not want to share.  Jesus came to for all people, the Jews, and the Gentiles.  When we share the gospel, we need to do it with everyone.  We should also expect that people are going to react to it in many ways.  It should not surprise us, and we pray that God would move in their hearts despite how well we communicate this truth.


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Fighting Temptation (Luke 4:1-13)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.  (Luke 4:1-13)

Learn it:

            The temptation of Jesus Christ in the wilderness is a well-known story.  Jesus is preparing for his ministry and the Holy Spirit does this by leading him into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan.  That’s an intense way to prepare for ministry!  We see the Holy Spirit did not lead Jesus to a safe, quiet place for him to fast and pray.  He led Jesus to be on the offense and take the battle to his adversary.  Do we ever think about taking Satan head on like this?  Seems pretty bold. 

            While Jesus is being tempted to disobey God’s commands Jesus uses Scripture every time to rebuke Satan.  He tempts him to give in to his hunger pains, he tempts him to test God, and he evens tempts him to worship Satan, so he can have authority over the whole earth!  These were all things that would have been appealing to Jesus.  Especially the one where he could avoid going to the cross and suffering and obtaining authority over the earth by just worshipping Satan.  That would have been a nice shortcut! 

            Yet Christ was obedient to the plan God the Father had.  He did not waver but stood on the Word of God.  When Satan would twist Scripture, Christ would respond with other verses that countered what he was saying.  He was going to be obedient to the Father no matter what Satan threw at him.    

Live it:

            Jesus went into the desert to be tempted and prepare himself for ministry.  He did this when he was “full of the Holy Spirit”.  He did not go into battle unarmed and vulnerable.  Christ did this to learn about his enemy, see how Satan works, and to show him he was not afraid.  Jesus did not just have the Holy Spirit but also knew the Word of God.

           Christians need to fully equipped for spiritual warfare.  We need to have knowledge of the Scripture.  Spending time in prayer helps us to be filled with the Spirit.  If we do these things it will help us counter Satan when he attacks because he is going to!  There may even be seasons where we go on the offensive.  To show Satan we are not afraid of him and that he has no hold over our lives.  That should be done carefully and covered in prayer.  Our adversary is powerful, but our God is stronger.  How well do you know Scripture?  How deep is your relationship with God?       


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The Baptism of Jesus (Luke 3:21-38)

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph.  (Luke 3:21-23)

Learn it:

            This passage is an important moment in Jesus’ ministry.  This baptism account is seen in all four gospels and it comes before Jesus begins his public ministry.  Luke wanted to make a clear distinction between John the Baptist and Jesus, so Luke leaves out the details that he baptized Jesus.  Though, we know from the other gospels that he did. 

Luke also focuses a lot on the fact that Jesus prayed during important events in his life.  He wanted people to know that Jesus was constantly in prayer and that it is a powerful tool that Jesus used.  Jesus was praying and then the heavens opened, the Holy Spirit comes down and God affirms who Jesus is.  This is a beautiful scene and it sets up a picture of what is to come when the Holy Spirit will come down on all of those who will believe in Jesus. 

After this scene of Jesus’ baptism, we get a long genealogy of Jesus.  The purpose of this genealogy is to show that Jesus is a man and his lineage can go all the way back not to Adam but to God.  Luke is trying to prove the divine sonship that Jesus has.  In the baptism of Jesus, God verbally approves Jesus but then we can affirm who Jesus is by his genealogy. 

Live it:

            The application of this passage is more of an intellectual one.  There are many people today who believe Jesus existed but that he was just a good teacher.  They do not believe he was the Son of God.  They agree with the morals he taught, how we should live our lives and love other people.  Yet, we see clearly in the Bible that Jesus was the Son of God.  This passage is one we can look to and read that Jesus was so much more than a good teacher.  He was God in the flesh.  This passage should give us great confidence in our faith.  


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Jesus is Better Than John (Luke 3:15-20)

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

19 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20 Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.  (Luke 3:15-20)

Learn it:

            After hearing the teachings of John the Baptist people began to wonder if he was the coming Messiah.  He’s talking about forgiveness of sins and the good news that is coming, so it’s easy to see how they could get confused.  Luke makes it clear that John was not taking all the glory but was pointing people to the real Messiah that was coming soon.  He was baptizing with mere water but the one to come was baptizing with the Holy Spirit and fire!  John was not to be worshipped but the coming Messiah was to be.

            Luke then tells us how John’s ministry ends.  John always spoke the truth no matter who the person was.  He was so bold that he even rebuked the king for his incestual relationship with his brother’s wife!  King Herod was so mad that he locked him up!  We know from the gospel of Mark that John was eventually beheaded.  John was a man of conviction and would not pander to anyone. 

Live it:   
            For us today we need to see how Jesus is better than anything we may find here on earth.  In Christian culture, it is easy to get caught up in worshipping famous pastors.  Maybe they have an electric personality, preach great sermons or the church has a great worship team.  Those things are all good, but they should be pointing towards the one who is greater!  Jesus is better than any pastor, no matter who they are. 
            We should be going to a church because they are strengthening our relationship with God.  We should not go to a church because it is trendy, popular, or comfortable.  Churches should be challenging people in their faith.  Calling them to be like Christ and to build the kingdom of God.  John was true to the message and it cost him his life.  Hopefully, church leaders are staying true to the gospel and preaching the good news.  Pray for your pastors and pray that your motives for attending a church are pure.  You attend because it is a place focused on God and it is drawing you closer to God.

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Pastor’s Corner