Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February 15 - Luke 4

Today's reading in our daily plan is Luke 4. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • The first few chapters of Luke move quickly through the first 30 years of Jesus' life. Now, the pace slows down and Luke gives us the opportunity to peer into the details of Jesus' daily ministry over the next two years.
  • The chapter opens with Jesus entering the desert alone for 40 days of prayer. It is here that the devil meets him face to face in an effort to tempt him to give up.  But Jesus withstands the lies of temptation by quoting truths from the Bible. 
  • After the temptation, Jesus goes to visit his hometown of Nazareth. It is here in the synagogue that we see him reveal who he is by quoting the prophet Isaiah.
  • Jesus confronts the cynicism about his up-bringing and points out that the great prophets Elijah and Elisha were also rejected in their hometowns. As a result, they could only perform miracles  in foreign cities. This angered the mob because they believed they were God's uniquely chosen people. By mentioning that the prophets had to go to non-Jewish cities, Jesus was showing that God's message was for all people, not just a "chosen" few. 
  • Jesus performed many miracles upon leaving Nazareth, just as he said he would. The people loved him everywhere he went and would beg him to stay. But he tells them he must go and  preach the good news everywhere.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Jesus was able to withstand the devil's temptation because of one very important weapon: God's Word. Just like Jesus, we can resist temptation by remembering and knowing God's truth when we are in trouble.
  • Satan also used scripture. He twisted it to meet his needs. This story is also a warning to understand God's Word in it's entire context. We cannot pick and choose certain scriptures as we please. This is what the devil did, and it is a dangerous game.
  • The Savior of the World doesn't look the way we want him to. He didn't grow up in a Summerlin mansion and attend Bishop Gorman High School.  His father wasn't a CEO and his mother wasn't a Stepford Wife. He never got accepted to Harvard and he wasn't exceptional at any particular skill. The thought that someone from "the wrong side of the tracks," living on food stamps in a one bedroom apartment for a family of six kids, could be the Messiah was upsetting and offensive to the religious elite. Jesus' family background made it clear that God came for all people.
  • Jesus will always go where he is invited, in the past, and even today. Despite the brawl that ensued in Nazareth, people in many other cities were begging Jesus to heal them.  They believed in their hearts that he could help them and he did. 

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What are some of the temptations you struggle with repeatedly? You need to know God's truth to help you with your struggles. Think about those areas of life and commit to memorizing a few Bible verses you can remember when tempted. You can find verses by going to www.biblegateway.com and typing some key words into the search engine. Or you can even Google it: for instance, "bible verses about anger" or "bible verses about lust" or "bible verses about drunkenness."