Friday Dec. 20
Scripture: Luke 4:16-21
When you were a child and questioned your parents about why they made certain decisions with which you disagreed, you probably got used to one of their favorite responses: “Because”. I have read numerous parenting books which discourage parents from ever answering any questions by simply saying “because”. These books encourage parents to always explain to their children why they make certain decisions.
(Full Disclosure: As a parent, I (Wil) must admit I use the term “because” to answer the my kids’ questions much more often than the experts recommend. And I kinda enjoy doing so. But enough about me and my issues. Let’s get back to Jesus.)
Luke 4:18-19 preserves for us the very first recorded words of Jesus’ public ministry in which Jesus tells the people the entire point of his ministry by quoting Isaiah 61:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he had anointed me to brings 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.”(NRSV)
Jesus doesn’t stop by simply saying he came to us: “Because”. He completes the sentence and explains his purposes fully from the get go.
In today’s world, where so many people have different ideas about who Jesus is and what God is up to in our world, it can be hard to know what to believe. So, if you find yourself wondering if you can trust what you are hearing about Jesus, you may want to test it by asking:
- Is it good news for the poor?
- Does it set people free?
- Does it heal?
- Does it help people see the world through the lens of love and grace?
- Does it lead to justice and equality?
- Does it make known God’s favor and love for all?
If it does not accomplishment any of these objectives, then it is most likely not of God. If it does all these things, it may well be true of Jesus because that’s what he told us he would do.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, it is hard to know what to believe about you when so many people say so many different things. Help me discern what to believe about you from your own words about yourself, so that I might recognize your presence. And having come to know you, let me come to love you. And having come to love you, let me spend my life serving you. Because you are worthy and good and true. Amen.