43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19, NIV)
Wow! This just shook me up. Not recognizing the time of God’s coming to us leaves us exposed to harm, terrible harm. I had never considered the personal take away of this word: I need to stay tuned daily to the right frequency to know when God has come to show the way out of danger. And might it be that God comes to me in the form of counsel from faithful friends? Do I stay in touch with friends? Do I seek their counsel? Do I heed it?
When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues,and everyone praised him. (Luke 4:13-15), NIV)
I’ve read this passage many times. This morning for the first time “in the power of the Spirit” stood out. I realized that not even Jesus could pursue his mission with power until he was filled with the Spirit. Jesus’ path to this supreme power was baptism, isolation, fasting, and rejection of the power, glitter and glory the world had to offer.
I need the power of the Spirit to accomplish my mission. I have been baptized. I have spent a day or so at a time isolated without speaking. I have spent days in fasting from time to time. I don’t feel particularly bound to a lust for power, glitter, and glory. Even so, my Spirit walk falls far, far below the example of Jesus. I am surely not walking in the needed power. What next? What’s a husband and father to do? I barely have the time to write this, and that only because the family is still asleep.
38 A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. 40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”
41 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied,“how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” (Luke 9:38-41)
I have always wondered why Jesus came down so hard on this dad. This morning, listening to this passage in Spanish, it came to me. The dad’s words reveal his motive: “for he is my only child.” He could have said first off something about how much the child was suffering. He did not. His primary concern was about himself, his position in society, the continuation of his family line, and all the things which in that society were associated with having a son. Since the boy was an only child, he was his dad’s only hope for all these things.
I think Jesus was angry because this dad was thinking of his son as an item of property, a possession. His core motive was not love and compassion for another human being, his own son, in such distress. The son was an important possession, and the dad wanted him fixed, wanted him to function properly, behave properly, fit in with the dad’s plans, goals and societal aspirations. I think that is why Jesus said what he said.
The take away for me? I’d better be darn careful about my own motives when I ask God’s blessing. Am I so focused on my needs that I disregard the sacred humanity of another person for whom Christ lived and died and lives today?
Here is something I am excited to share with you. It comes from wordproject.org.
The HOLY BIBLE contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here Paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.
CHRIST is its grand subject, our good the design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.