Archive for February 2008

Jesus I AM 1

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77. Christian Disciple and Jesus’ I AM statements (1)

Exodus 3v13-14: Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'

Isaiah 41v4: “Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD -with the first of them and with the last—I am he”

John 8v58: “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was, I AM”.

On seven other occasions in John’s Gospel, John records statements where Jesus said “I AM”. These are unique to John and are not recorded in the three other Gospels. For this Podcast we will look briefly at four of them and the next Podcast will discuss the remaining three. Here Jesus is reinforcing His claims to be God because when he says “I AM”, he is referring back to the time when God revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus 3v14 and through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 41v4 That’s why in John 8v59, they picked up stones in order to kill Him for blasphemy. This was in accordance, so they thought, with Deuteronomy 13, which dictates that anyone who tries to turn people away from the living God is to be stoned to death. They knew Jesus was claiming to the very God they thought they worshipped.

John 6v35, 48, and 51: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; this bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Three times in this passage, Jesus refers to Himself as the living bread. By this He meant that He was the only one who could satiate the appetite and yearning of every person’s spirit. For those He was speaking to, bread was a basic staple food for living, just as it is for millions of people today. Jesus indicates when saying He is the bread of life, that He will supply all needs! Just as He said to the woman at the well in John 4v4, that whoever drinks His living water, shall never again go spiritually thirsty. When Jesus referred to the manna in the desert (John 6v49) he talked of it being merely temporary despite being a gift from God. He however as the true bread of life would give permanent satisfaction and life everlasting to all those who believe and follow Him (John 6v51)! But this bread He offers, has to be eaten; has to be taken up by the person wanting spiritual life! Note the inference to His impending sacrifice on the cross at the end of John 6v51!

John 8v12: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I AM the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

Jesus is at the Feast of Tabernacles! One of the great symbols of that Feast was Light! At the end of the feast, when the lights are extinguished, Jesus said that he was the light of the world! Throughout the Old Testament, light is an important symbol. There is the pillar of fire and cloud leading the nation of Israel on their journey (Exodus 13). In Psalm 27v1, the Psalmist describes God as “my light”. The nation of Israel was to be God’s light to all the world (Isaiah 49v6) so that God would be the world’s light (Isaiah 60v19-22). So by referring to Himself as the light of the world, Jesus is saying it is He who shines light into peoples spiritual eyes and gives them understanding which in turn leads to them seeing their need of God and His ability to satisfy their spiritual needs.

John 10v7-11 and 14-15: Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I AM the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Throughout the Old Testament, God is seen as a shepherd and His people are the sheep of is keeping. The sheep are always God’s even though He temporarily entrusted them to people such as Moses to care and tender them. Therefore Moses and others like him such as the true prophets, were forerunners to Jesus. Here Jesus proclaims that He is the door or gate to salvation! It is through Jesus that salvation is found and through Him alone as the door or gate, people are led safe and sound into spiritual freedom, spiritual light and spiritual sustenance. Unlike others who come only to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus offers spiritual safety & nourishment. Jesus does not just offer a way out, but also a way in! The security offered by Jesus is because He is always in close proximity to those who follow Him. Jesus calls all those who follow Him by name (John 10v3) and they know each other.

Jesus is the great shepherd only through the sacrifice he must make for His sheep. Here Jesus is looking ahead to the sacrifice He makes on the Cross. His love for all of humanity compels Him to make the ultimate sacrifice. Just as all shepherds will endanger themselves for the safety of their sheep, so too will Jesus endure the pain and suffering of the Cross, so that people can be led into safety of God’s kingdom. It is in this role of shepherd, that Jesus exhibits true leadership, which is self-less and sacrificial. Ezekiel 34v11 tells of God searching out for his sheep among all nations, and this is fulfilled through Jesus. Through His perfect, obedient and voluntary sacrifice on the Cross, not only will salvation be available to the Jews but also to those of other nations (John 10v16).

For more to think about please do read XXXXX. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. Read John 6v25-59. How does Jesus being the bread of life encapsulate His whole message?

Q2. Read 1 John 1. If Jesus is the light of the world, how am I to live as His follower?

Q3. Read John 10v1-21. As a Christian Disciple, what benefits does Jesus as the shepherd offer me?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.

Thank you for stopping by! Read and download what ever you like... A new feature is that I have been asked by some if they can donate for the upkeep of this site as they know I have no regular income/wages/salary at the moment, and that is why the Paypal Donate button is above... Paypal is totally secure and is operated by the same people as eBay. There is absolutely no obligation to do so if you desire not to... God bless you and may you continue to be transformed into the very image of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ... Dave

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Jesus’ Teaching

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76. Christian Disciple and Jesus’ Teaching

Luke records in Luke 4v31-32: Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.”

This event in Capernaum was not a one off occurrence. Frequently the writers of the gospel remark how people viewed Jesus’ teaching as authoritative. But what was it that made His teaching authoritative?

1. How he taught with authority:

Jesus’ manner of teaching shared much in common with other teachers of 1st century Palestine. His teachings frequently included Old Testament texts; exaggerate hyperbole, telling of parables, rhythmic poetry aiding memorisation and the predicting of future events were common teaching practise at the time in both religious and secular circles. Most of the teaching we have in the Gospels did not arise out of formal settings but rather through personal encounters, engaging with the religious leaders and the inherent need to teach His disciples. However it is not so much his manner of teaching that created the air of authority about him, but rather what He taught that did (Matthew 7v28-29).

2. What did he teach?

Throughout the Gospels, Jesus appeals to the Old Testament scriptures in every facet of His teaching. Founded on Old Testament texts, were His moral and legal teachings (Matthew 5v17-48), the historical stories (Matthew 24v27-29) and in His debates with the religious leaders, Jesus frequently used Old Testament Scripture (Mark 7v6-13).

Quite possibly, the supreme example of His teaching can be found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5v1-7v29). Whilst mainly speaking to His disciples, he allowed the crowds to listen. In this discourse, all of Jesus’ teachings are exhibited. Key themes from the Sermon on the Mount include: a Christian Disciple’s character, influence, righteousness, religion, devotional life, ambition and relationships.

The Kingdom of God

Jesus preached that entrance to the kingdom of God was through repentance (Matthew 3v2) and this repentance led to a spiritual rebirth (John 3v1-8). He calls all Christian Disciples to seek it first (Matthew 6v33) and to pray for it (Matthew 6v10). But what is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus, was not a political uprising against the Romans, as thought by James and John (Mark 10v35-45) and nor is it the church. The kingdom of God was and is both a personal inner spiritual relationship with God as ruler over the life of the Christian Disciple, but also the Christian Disciple exhibiting this relationship with God in a visible new society (Matthew 25v34; Luke 13v29). Parable such as the corn and weeds (Matthew 13v24-30) and the mustard seed (Mark 4v3-32) typify Jesus teaching on this.

Regarding Himself

Whilst Jesus never directly claimed to be God, He did things only God could do. He claimed authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9v1-7). He also claimed that He, and He alone, was the only way to the Father when he said in John 14v6: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” His claim to be the Messiah, or Son of Man, is an appeal to Old Testament texts and their subsequent fulfilment and completion in Him (Mark 8v29-33). Primarily His teaching that the Messiah must suffer and be glorified was also an appellation to Old Testament scripture (Luke 9v31; Luke 12v50; John 10v11-15).

3. The prime method He used was with parables:

Throughout the Gospels, we see that Jesus spoke a lot in parable form. A parable is an allegories or picture story. He did this in order to get His message across completely. The parables as recorded in the Gospels mainly fall into four categories:

Society and its God – an example of this would be the parable of the sheep (Luke 15v1-7) whereby God is seen as a God of grace.

Society and the individual – an example of this would be the parable involving the rich fool who thought his wealth would make God love him more (Luke 12v13-21).

Society and the community – an example here would be the parable of the Good Samaritan whereby everyone is to show love, even for their enemies (Luke 10v25-37).

Society and the future – an example here would be the parable of the great feast whereby the future climax of the kingdom is seen (Matthew 25v31-33).

4. Who did He teach?

The Gospel writers attributed Jesus as a teacher (Mark 5v35; John 7v15) despite his lacking the formal requirements usually attained by rabbis. The Gospel writers also refer to him as a prophet (Luke 7v16; John 6v14), and he was recognized as such by people (Mark 6v15; Mark 8v28). There were three main groups of people that Jesus interacted with and taught. There were large crowds, his twelve disciples and the religious leaders.

The Crowds- Sermon on the Mount

When Jesus taught large gathering of people, it was always based on evidential facts and it was always as Luke described “good news” (Luke 4v18), because God gave it to Jesus. Crowds recognized that Jesus had a confident manner of speaking (Mark 1v22). It must be noted that in the presence of crowds, Jesus didn’t actively reveal who he was (Mark 1v44; Mark 3v11-12; Mark 9v9).

The Disciples

Many of Jesus’ recorded teachings were to His disciples, but in the midst of crowds, such as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5v1; Matthew 7v28). However on more precise requirements of discipleship, or about Himself or the future of God’s Kingdom, Jesus usually only taught His disciples concerning His true identity, even though they failed to grasp it (Mark 8v27-33).

The religious leaders

Because of Jesus’ popularity and the activities He was involved with, the religious leaders soon took notice of him. Jesus respected the Law of Moses and Moses authority (Mark 1v22). He gave his own unique interpretation and as such attracted the opposition of the religious leaders who had taught a different interpretation. An example of this is in Jesus interpretation of the Sabbath (Mark 2v23-38); the healings He performed (John 5v1-18); fasting and ritual cleanliness (Mark 7v1-5) and for consorting with sinners (Luke 7v34). Jesus criticised the religious leaders for amongst other things: their lack of compassion and the weighty burdens they placed upon others (Matthew 23; Mark 12v38-40; Luke 11v37-54).

For more to think about please do ask your self the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. Read Matthew 5v13. How can I as a Christian Disciple be salt and light to my community?

Q2. Read Mark 4v10-20. How does Jesus speak to me as a Christian Disciple and how does the Holy Spirit help me to interpret what Scripture says?

Q3.? Read Matthew 7v24-27. In what ways am I as a Christian Disciple sometimes like the wise builder and at other times like the foolish builder?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.

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Bible Book in a Minute

Watch Now:

The next Podcast in the series regarding Jesus' ministry will be published tomorrow... Unforeseen circumstances prevent it being published today...

Meanwhile here is an introductory video of a series I am producing where each book of the bible is summarised in one minute with key verses and theme(s)...

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Jesus’ Identity

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75. The Christian Disciple and Jesus’ Identity

Mark writing in Mark 8v27-33: Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ. Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

This section of the Bible contains the verse, which divulges Jesus’ identity, when Peter calls Him the Christ or Messiah or Saviour (Mark 8v29). In the preceding few verses Jesus and the disciples were in Bethsaida and there is the incident where Jesus healed the blind man.

1. See who Jesus is – (Mark 8v22) reveals that the faith of others apart from the blind man was also involved

There are two very obvious questions that come out of this.

Why did Jesus touch the blind man twice to heal him? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that Jesus kept on until the man could see clearly. Two things to remember though. Firstly that Jesus was unable to do miracles because of people’s lack of faith and we also need to remember that God does things in His own time and for His own purposes, but also acts in order to tell us of His love for us.

Why does Jesus tell the man not to tell anybody? Jesus didn’t want to be seen as only a healer and miracle worker.

2. Confess who Jesus is

Now we come to a climactic part of the Gospels when Jesus asks His disciples: “Who do people say that I am?

John the Baptist

· Jesus and John had been seen together in public and they were different in personality and ministry

· John came ‘in the spirit and power of Elijah’ (Luke 1v17), in a ministry of judgement, whereas Jesus came in a spirit of meekness and service.

· John performed no miracles (John 10v41), but Jesus was a miracle worker.

· John even dressed like the Prophet Elijah (2 Kings 1v8; Mark 1v6)

Jeremiah (Matthew 16v14)

· Jeremiah was the ‘weeping prophet’, and Jesus was the ‘man of sorrows’

· Jeremiah called the people to true repentance from the heart, and so did Jesus.

· Both men were misunderstood and rejected by their own people.

· Both men condemned the false religious leaders and the hypocritical worship in the temple.

· Those in authority persecuted both men.

In both His works and words, Jesus gave evidence to the people that He was the Son of God, the Messiah, and yet they did not get the message.

a Why did Jesus tell the disciples to keep quiet about Him?

Disciples had much to learn about Him and what it meant to follow Him.

The Jews were expecting a victorious Messiah (Isaiah 11v1-5). But they had forgotten that the Messiah must suffer and die (Isaiah 53v1-12; Luke 24v26). The Jewish people thought that the Messiah would set up an earthly political kingdom, but Jesus came to set up a spiritual kingdom that would last forever (Isaiah 9v7; Daniel 7v13-14; Luke 1v33; Revelation 11v15)

b What was the purpose of the Messiah? (Mk10v45)

Jesus’ mission was to be the Servant of the Lord, and therefore, the saviour of the world as God’s Son (John 3v16). His purpose as the Messiah was neither that He be served nor that He will lead a political overthrow of the Roman government as some had hoped. Rather, His purpose as the Messiah was to be God’s servant and give a message of hope for the spiritually poor and spiritually oppressed people.

3. Follow who Jesus is

When Jesus rebuked Peter, he was also telling off the other disciples (Mark 8v33). Remember that they did not yet understand the relationship between suffering and glory. By the time Peter had written his epistle 1 Peter, he did (1 Peter1v6-8, 1 Peter 4v13-5v10).

Some Jewish leaders taught of 2 Messiahs – one to suffer and one who would reign (1Peter 1v10-12)

Price to pay for true followers

· We must surrender completely to Him.

· We must identify with Him in His suffering and death.

· We must follow Him obediently, wherever He leads.

What is the reward for the true disciple of Jesus?

· Satan promises glory now, but in the end suffering comes.

· God promises suffering now, but the suffering turns to glory.

Spiritually, at this time, the disciples were still blind to who Jesus was, just as the man who was physically blind.

Our confession of Jesus is a matter of life and death (John 8v21;1 John 4v1-3). Confession of Jesus as Lord is necessary for salvation (1 Corinthians 12v1-3), when that confession is from the heart (Romans 10v9-10). Christians are called to follow Jesus, to take up their cross and this could mean nothing less than being ready to suffer and die for Jesus. If we are ashamed of Him on earth, He will be ashamed of us when the end of the world has come. He will reward those deserving the reward, and deny those who deny Him.

For more to think about please do read 1 Peter 1v1-12. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. What does Jesus’ revealed identity as Saviour offer me as a Christian Disciple?

Q2. How does knowing Jesus’ identity help me as I undergo trials, suffering and bad times?

Q3. What part does each member of the Trinity play in my life as a Christian Disciple?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.

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Jesus’ 12 Disciples

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74. The Christian Disciple and Jesus’ Disciples

Matthew writing in Matthew 4v18-22: “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”

Who were Jesus’ Disciples?

There are three main lists of disciples (Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:13-19, Luke 6:12-16) who were chosen near the start of Jesus ministry. The Gospel of John offers no comprehensive list but does refer to them as “The Twelve” (John 6v67, John 6v70, and John 6v71)

  1. Andrew: he was a fisherman from Bethsaida (Matthew 4v18). It was he who introduced his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus (John 1v40-42). He was a disciple of John the Baptist.
  2. Barthomew: he was the son of Talemai and possibly was also called Nathaniel (John 1v45-1v51)

3. James: he was the son of Aphaeus. He is also know as James the Less (Mark 15v40) or James the Just. He would later be the leader of the Jerusalem church (Acts)

  1. James & John: the sons of Zebedee. Both were fisherman (Matthew 4v21; Luke 5v1-11) and Jesus called them the sons of Boanerges or sons of thunder (Mark 3v17)! John is known as the “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13v23, John 19v26, John 21v7 & 20)
  2. Judas Iscariot (Luke 6v13, 16): he was the son of Simon (John 6v71 & John 13v26). He was the disciple who betrayed Jesus (Matthew 26v14-16; Mark 14v10-11) and was replaced after the Resurrection by Matthias (Acts 1v26).
  3. Matthew: he was a tax collector (Matthew 9v9) and the son of Alphaeus (Mark 2v14. He also authored the gospel by the same name (Matthew 1v1)
  4. Philip : from Bethsaida (John 1v44; John 12v21). Notable it was he who introduced Greeks to Jesus (John 12v20-22)

8. Simon: also known as Simon the zealot (Matthew 10v4) and possibly from Jerusalem.

  1. Simon : brother of Andrew and also an uneducated fisherman from Bethsaida (Matthew 4v18; Acts 4v13). Later, he was renamed Peter by Jesus (John 1v42) and would later lead the disciples (Acts 1v15-26). He wrote 2 of the books of the New Testament known as 1 Peter and 2 Peter.
  2. Thaddeus: listed as a disciple in Mark 3v18 and also known as Lebbaeus (Matthew 10v3) and Judas brother of James (Luke 6v16)
  3. Thomas also known as Judas Thomas Didymus. (John 11v16, John 20v24, John 21v2)

How were they chosen?

In the time of the New Testament, it was usual practice for a disciple to take the initiative and choose his master and then voluntarily join that school. However, in reverse of this practise, Jesus Himself chose those who were to follow Him by issuing a command to “Come, follow me.” (Matthew 4v18-22; Matthew 16v24; Matthew 19v21; Mark 1v17; Mark 8v34; Mark 10v21; Luke 9v23; Luke 18v22). Jesus chose them after a night of prayer and were given to Him by God (John 17v9). The reason that God gave them to Him as His disciples was so that they would produce fruit for God’s Kingdom (John 15v16). Jesus also placed some demands on those who wanted to follow Him. For some these demands proved too much so they went away, like the rich young ruler (Matthew 19v16-22). Others who initially attracted to Jesus left saying “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it? (John 6v60).

What were they chosen for?

As we read the Gospels, we know that they often got things wrong. Jesus often rebuked them, such as when the storm hit when they were in the boat. He rebuked them for panicking (Mark 4v38) and for fearing and lacking faith (Mark 4v40). This in spite of having seen Jesus do the things He had done. In Matthew’s Gospel the disciples mistake Him for a ‘ghost’ as He walked to them on the water (Matthew 14v22-36) and Jesus rebukes Peter for lacking faith as Peter looked at the storm (Matthew 14v30) rather than to Jesus Himself. When Peter tried to dissuade Jesus from going to the cross Jesus’ subsequent rebuke was meant for all the disciples and not just Peter (Mark 8v33). They did not yet understand the relationship between suffering and glory. By the time Peter had written 1 Peter, he did (1Peter 1v6-8, 1 Peter4v13-5:10).

In calling them to Himself, Jesus called them into a common discipleship of which they are to “love one another” (John 15v17). The reason for this is so that people will know they are His disciples by their love for one another (John 13v34, John 15v16) and this will produce the desired fruit for God’s kingdom and an effective prayer life (John 15v16).

  • Take up your cross: In Matthew 16v24, Jesus called his disciples to take up their cross, just as He was going to be taking up His cross at Calvary. By this he meant that His disciples must be prepared to sacrifice and be willing to suffer and die.
  • Called to a life of repentance: Symbolic of this is Peter who when first encountered by Jesus in Luke 5v1-11 declared of Jesus "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"
  • Called to a life of obedience: Jesus called for obedience of God (Matthew 7v21, Luke 6v46). This obedience means to follow Him in all areas of life.
  • Called to a life of service: When they were sent out in Matthew 10, the disciples were to: Tell the Good News’; heal the sick; raise the dead; drive out demons and freely give.
  • Called regardless of background: The disciples were from a broad cross-section of society. Some as we have seen were fishermen, another a tax collector (who were thought of as traitors to Israel!), others zealots or sons of zealots.

For more to think about please do read John 15v18-24. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. Looking back on my life, how did Jesus choose me to be His disciple and why?

Q2. As I continue my life as a Christian Disciple, what things are holding me back from total obedience and service to Him?

Q3. Do I truly show love towards others in my life as a Christian Disciple?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.

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Jesus’ Mission

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73. The Christian Disciple and Jesus’ Mission

Luke writes in Luke 4v42-44: “At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.”

Jesus’ public ministry on earth has begun! These verses at the end of Luke 4 tell us that His mission is to preach God’s Kingdom. A reluctant John the Baptist baptized him and the crowds heard God the Father speaking to Him. He underwent temptations by the arch-seducer, satan and emerged victorious from that ordeal. Now Jesus, led by the Holy Spirit, has returned home to Galilee (Luke 4v14).

1. Jesus at home (Luke 4v14-30)

Jesus is back in home territory and because of the power of His teaching, He is becoming known as a great teacher (Luke 4v15). Jesus spent some time in Galilee, become known and arousing the interest, curiosity and excitement of people.

a. Worshipping (Luke 4v14-18) – It was Jesus’ habit to attend public worship wherever he was.

A typical synagogue service · Opened with a prayer for God’s blessing · Traditional Hebrew confession of faith (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21) · Prayer and readings from the Law and the Prophets · Brief sermon given by one of the men or a visiting rabbi (Acts 13:14-16) · Benediction or prayer

Because of His growing renown as a teacher, it is no surprise that he should be asked to read the Scripture and give a short teaching session regarding it. Here in Nazareth, Jesus declared that the day for demonstrating God’s salvation had arrived and the day the prophets looked forward to, was going to be fulfilled in Jesus Himself (Luke 4v20). He was the Servant Isaiah had talked about long ago (Isaiah 61v1-2). His ministry was divinely directed; it was a ministry of hope for all people and a ministry to free the spiritually oppressed (Luke 4v18).

Acceptable Year of the Lord (Luke 4:19)

When Jesus said in Luke 4v19 “to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour”, Jesus was referring to the “Year of Jubilee” (Leviticus 25). Every fiftieth year, this special year was the balancing of the economic system. · Slaves were set free and returned to their families · Property that was sold back to the original owners · All debts were cancelled · Lands lay bare to rest and rejoice in the Lord

The local reaction was at first one of astonishment (Luke 4v22) and telling each other he was the son of Joseph! But Jesus was not the son of Joseph, but rather the Son of God, the new Adam and the founder of a new humanity as he goes on to explain.

b. Rejected (Luke 4:20-30)

They saw Him as the son of Joseph. Admiration turned to anger, because Jesus began to remind them of God’s goodness to the Gentiles.

· The prophet Elijah bypassed all the Jewish widows and helped a Gentile widow in Sidon (1 Kings 17:8-16) · Elisha healed a Gentile leper from Syria (2 Kings 5:1-15)

Whilst those in Nazareth could only see Jesus in the local setting, He told them His mission was for all Israel! And if Israel rejected this message of Good News, then the Gentiles would be blessed by it (Luke 4v25-27). Upon hearing this, the astonished admiration turned to furious anger (Luke 4v28-30)! Salvation is no longer restricted to Israel but for every child of Adam – every human. Jesus’ mission was not to be Israel’s saviour but the world’s saviour. When Jesus quoted the proverb “no prophet is accepted in his hometown”, he revealed his knowledge of Old Testament history. He knew that God’s messengers often were rejected, and even as God’s Son, he was rejected as well.

2. Jesus away from home (Luke 4v31-44)

Now Jesus walked through the rioting mob and went to Capernaum and here he engaged in public ministry:

a. Preaching (Luke 4v31-32) – Jesus sets up headquarters in Capernaum (Matthew 4:13-16) and started teaching in the Synagogue. People were astonished that He taught with such authority. b. Rebuking (Luke 4v33-37, 41) – Our Lord did not want the demons to bear witness to Himself and His identity (Luke 4:34,41). Again people were astonished at Jesus power and authority. c. Healing (Luke 4v:39-40) – People bought their sick and asked Jesus to help them. d. Praying (Luke 4v42-44) – He was up early the next morning to pray (Mark 1:35). It was in prayer that He found his strength and power for service, and so must we.

During this period:

· No new teaching – He has God’s authority to do what He is doing – preaching healing and releasing. · God desires humility – Jesus is looking for people to acknowledge their spiritual blindness and poverty, so that Jesus may liberate them. · God’s Word is important – In the previous verses, Jesus counters the devil by using God’s Word, and he continues to do this throughout His ministry. He teaches and preaches in the synagogues (Luke 4v32, 44); rebukes demons (Luke 4v35, 41) and heals diseases (Luke 4v39) all with the authority of His word.

Jesus’ mission was to be the saviour of the world as God’s Son (John 3v16) and the Servant of the Lord. His mission was to give a message of hope for the spiritually poor and spiritually oppressed people. People not only in his hometown, nor only in Israel, but rather for the whole world. People have two choices when faced with this fact: accept or reject. There is no other option. That is why as Christian Disciples we are to be actively engaged in evangelism, to tell people of this news about Jesus Christ.

For more to think about please do read Luke 4v1-44. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. How does knowing Jesus’ mission help me in my life as a Christian Disciple? Q2. Where does the authority for my ministry come from? Q3. What encouragement can I take from Jesus’ behaviour to those who rejected His message?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.

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