Sunday (January 27): "Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit"
Scripture: Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-22
1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, 2 just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent The-oph'ilus, 4 that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up to read; 17 and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." 20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 21 Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, "Is not this Joseph's son?"Meditation: What would you give to be filled with the knowledge of God's truth and goodness? The four gospels point us to the very source of truth itself in the person of Jesus Christ. Luke's gospel, especially his introduction, is somewhat unique among the four gospels. Luke speaks in the first person. He addresses his friend, Theophilus, a name which means "beloved of God". In so many words Luke says, I am writing to you the most incredible story humankind has known. And this story is utterly believable because it comes from reliable firsthand witnesses who knew Jesus personally, heard his teaching, saw his miracles, and witnessed his death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father in heaven. The word "gospel" literally means "good news". The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ and the freedom he has won for us through his death and resurrection. The gospel is God's word for us today! It's is a living word that has power to change and transform lives, and bring freedom and healing to those who receive it as the word of God. Do you want to be changed and transformed by God's living word? Listen to his Son and receive his word with expectant faith and trust.
Luke tells us that Jesus began his public ministry in his own land of Galilee where he was raised as a child. Jesus' first public words in his hometown synagogue amazed both his family and townspeople. It was customary for the president of the synagogue to call on different people each week to read from the Hebrew bible and say a few words. Jesus read the text from the prophet Isaiah that explained how the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to those oppressed by sin and evil (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus told his audience that he himself had been annointed to fulfill this prophecy. Only a madman or the Messiah would dare to make such a claim! Jesus not only got their startled attention, he awoke in his people fresh hope that God was indeed fulfilling his promises to them. Luke tells us that the people received Jesus' words favorably and wondered what would become of "Joseph's son". In Jesus we see the grace and power of God in action. His gracious words bring hope, joy, and favor to all who were ready to receive him. Are you hungry for God's word?
Jesus came for our sake and for our salvation. He came to set us free from the worst tyranny possible – slavery to sin and the fear of death, and the eternal destruction of both body and soul. God's power alone can save us from hopelessness, fear, spiritual emptyness, and despair. The gospel of salvation is "good news" for us today. Do you know the joy and freedom of the gospel?
"Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams. Through the gift of your Holy Spirit you bring us truth, life, and freedom. Fill me with the joy of the gospel and inflame my heart with a burning love for you and a deep thirst for your word."
8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing
the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.