Thursday, July 26, 2012

Luke 4

I decided to dip into a gospel and landed on Luke. Since finishing Hebrews I've been wondering what to read next. It's one of the hazards I guess of not having a devotional plan to follow. Anyway, I took a look at Jeremiah's call for a little personal encouragement, but decided not to read the whole book at this moment. So Luke it is, but not from the beginning. I wanted to start with the ministry of Jesus. I can do the nativity and infancy narratives later in the year. Right now it's the ministry I want to read about.

So I dropped in at chapter 4 and found myself in the middle of the temptation and fist steps into public ministry. A thought struck me. In 4:13 Luke tells us that the devil left Jesus after the 40-day in the wilderness "until the next opportunity". From the rest of the chapter it would appear that he didn't have to wait long for that opportunity.

Having come through the wilderness experience, the fasting and the temptation, it would have been nice to have launched the public phase of hi ministry with a great opening ceremony. Tomorrow of course we have the Olympic opening ceremony. Quite why they can't say, "Here are the athletes, welcome to the games, now get on with it!" Instead we will have hours of parades and lights and dancers and other things going on. The games almost overshadowed by the glitz.

Jesus chose to go to the synagogue on his hometown and, when the opportunity came, to read the scriptures. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon," he read and then announced that it was the day of fulfilment of Isaiah's prophetic words.  No resounding gasp of excitement followed this incredible announcement. Instead they got angry and upset. Dragging him outside they thought it best to dispose of him.

Not exactly what you might want for your fist impression, especially after the ordeal of the temptation and the preparation that was the wilderness experience. I suspect the devil took this early opportunity to have another go somehow.

There are times when I think we are guilty of thinking that somehow Jesus passed through his ministry without meeting temptation again until the garden before the cross. Perhaps chapter 4 of Luke's gospel tells us to be careful about such assumptions.

And what about your own life? what about its ups and downs? Have you recently come through a challenge hoping for some respite but just falling into a noter challenge? At the very least remember you are not alone. Jesus has been there too. This brings me great comfort.

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