Luke Chapter Four
In Luke chapter four, we finally get to see the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. However, before we get there, Jesus spent forty days and forty nights in the wilderness by himself with no food. He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. We are never told the purpose of the Spirit leading Jesus to the wilderness, but I imagine it served as a great time for Jesus to focus in on God all by himself before he began his earthly ministry.
While Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days, the devil came to tempt Jesus. Three times the devil tempted Jesus, but he had zero success. To combat the temptation, Jesus responded each time with scripture (verses 4, 8 and 12). Scripture offers us a great way to combat temptation, as Jesus demonstrated here. Psalm 119:11 supports this notion, as it states, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
Whenever we are confronted with temptation, as we all are, a great way to resist and combat that temptation is by quoting scripture. Now, this is only possible if you have scripture memorized in the first place. This is a big reason why it is important to store God’s Word in our hearts.
After Jesus withstood the temptation of the devil in the wilderness, Jesus officially began his earthly ministry in his hometown of Nazareth. He did not have quite the warm welcoming, as the Jews tried to throw him off of a cliff (Luke 4:29). This was just the beginning of the Jews seeking to end and kill Jesus. They were constantly taken back by Jesus’ bold claims that he makes. In the end, the Jews send him to the Roman government to have him killed because Jesus claimed to be the Son of God (Matthew 26:54). The Jews seldom got along with Jesus because they did not believe that he was the Christ, the Son of God.
Luke chapter four ends with Jesus telling us his purpose, as Jesus states, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent,” (Luke 4:43). Jesus himself stated that his purpose was to preach the good news of the kingdom of God. From the very beginning of his ministry, he preached all about the Kingdom. The message of the kingdom was at the heart of Jesus’ ministry, and it should be at the heart of our ministry as well.
Mark Chapter 1
This week we begin a journey into the Gospel of Mark, reading just one chapter a day. Jesus has much to teach us about being different. Instead of hearing from just one writer this week – we get to hear from 7 young people as they inspire us to follow Jesus.
“At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
Mark 1:9-13 (NIV)
In these verses, we see God having favor with Jesus as well as Jesus being tempted. We just came back from Fuel and it’s so easy to go back to life as we know it and to maintain the same habits. We will be tempted both now and throughout the year. However, the theme this year was different and regardless of a Fuel theme, we should strive each year to become a better version of ourselves upon going home.
Let us pray:
“God, we praise you for such a powerful week at Fuel. We’re grateful for the things you’ve laid on our hearts and for the Godly relationships that have been created and strengthened through fellowship. We ask that you would help us act in accordance with your will and help us fulfill the commitment that we made to be different in our personal lives as well as in our communities.”
Until next year, brothers and sisters in Christ.
Free theme week: Worship
Chapter reading for the day: Philippians 4
The mind is incredibly powerful. Because the mind is powerful and directly affects how we live our life and how we think about ourself, setting our mind on God is of paramount importance. If Satan and dark spiritual forces can win over your mind and have you believe their “truth” then they control you. We see this when Jesus was led into the wilderness and then was tempted by Satan. Satan questioned Jesus’ identity twice trying to get Jesus to believe that he was not who God said he was. Satan was attacking the mind of Jesus. But Jesus had a strong mind that was set upon God and his promises and did not fall for Satan attacks. Worshipping God with our mind is essential if we want to stand firm against the schemes of the enemy. Today we’ll look at one way that we can love and worship God with our mind.
The definition of anxiety is a being in a state of apprehension, uneasiness, or nervousness. Anxiety wrecks the mind and bombards it with endless “what if’s”. All of us have experienced anxiety at one time or another. There are many situations that we can become anxious about including our relationship with God. If left unchecked anxiety can consume a person and drastically affect their relationship with God and Jesus. When this happens the person and their mind is living in a state of “non-worship”. In Philippians 4.6-8 God reveals to us the remedy of anxiousness:
“6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication make your requests made known to God. 7 And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
Philippians 4.6-8 is a call to worship God with our mind. To set our mind on God and Jesus and not dwell or focus on anxiety. Here are some things we learn from this passage:
- Let nothing in life give you anxiety
- Because we are called to give everything to God in prayer (including anxiety)
- The supernatural peace made available to us because of Jesus will guard our heart and mind
- We are to set our mind on things that are good, godly, and wholesome.
Notice that Philippians 4 does not say that life will not have anxiety. But when you do have episodes or seasons of anxiety do not let it consume you. Surrender it to God in prayer. When we allow ourselves to be consumed with anxiety and fear we live in a state of non-worship of the mind. But when we obey what God has said we worship God with our mind, it says I will not let [fill in the blank] define me or consume me, I will bring it to God. That is worshipping God with our mind. This is worship that God desires from his people.
It always impresses me when someone can quote scripture that is appropriate to the situation at hand, especially when they can quote it word for word, and know the reference. Being impressed isn’t really because of their knowledge, but because if they can quote exactly what is in scripture, and tell me where to look it up and get more information means that I can know the truth from the Bible.
In Matthew 4, Jesus has spent 40 days and 40 nights fasting. I think that would make it very difficult to remember anything clearly. However, when tempted, Jesus is able to quote the necessary scripture to answer the temptations brought to him by the tempter. When tempted with food, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” For each of the other temptations, Jesus again quotes Old Testament scripture that answers the temptation directly. Because of these answers, the devil leaves Jesus.
How awesome is the power of scripture. We can rebuff temptation with scripture in the same way Jesus did. However, it requires us to know scripture, to memorize it.
I often find myself being able to paraphrase things, and maybe being able to get somewhere close to where it is found. If given time, I can find it. While this is helpful, it often falls short of what I need. When I am having a difficult time, or trying to help someone, it is frustrating not being able to find the verses needed to help with the problem.
I encourage you to learn and memorize scripture. Jesus is our example, and he knew the scriptures. We should all follow that example.