|March 23rd||March 24th||March 25th||March 26th||March 27th||March 28th||March 29th|
|New Testament||Luke 3||Luke 4 v 1-32||Luke 4 v 33-44||Luke 5 v 1-16||Luke 5 v 17-39||Luke 6 v 1-26||Luke 6 v 27-49|
Two weeks ago, I read an article about pollution in Wuhan, China. The article carried two photos showing the Nitrogen Dioxide pollution levels in a satellite survey, one month apart. The Coronavirus crisis in the city and ban on all transport had radically improved the pollution levels in just one month (see photo above).
As we read through this week’s Bible verses, I was struck by the way Jesus changed the environment everywhere he went. Sin’s pollution levels were radically transformed by Jesus.
The Chinese government may have used soldiers and an overwhelming show of force to reinforce the ban but Jesus produced the same result by different means, the power of his life.
A Submitted Life
The one person who had no need to get baptised was Jesus. Repentance from sin was totally unnecessary for the sin-less Son of God.
In his baptism, Jesus was making a public statement of intent, a declaration of war on the devil. He had lived sin-free to that point, fully submitted to the Father and his parents. He was clean and infection-free. But now he was going to enforce a sin-free zone everywhere he went.
The wilderness represents the devil’s territory; wild animals, snakes, scorpions, dangers and lack of resources are there. Jesus went there secure in his submission, led by the Spirit, showing that submission was not an occasional thing. When pressed hard on things that would affect him personally, he still submitted.
A Positioned Life
That submission was worked out immediately. The series of trials did not stop once he returned from the wilderness but continued in the city of Nazareth. Having just won victory over the devil in the desert, he was not put off by the ongoing opposition and rejection that came through people. He remained in position, only doing what the Father told him to do, even when it looked like the people were going to throw him off the cliff. It was only at the last moment that he was released by the Father and was able to walk through the crowd untouched (Luke 4:30).
In both situations Jesus confessed who ran his life. Refusing to be drawn into a power contest with the devil, he stuck to his Father’s Word (authority). He was still doing that when he declared the Lord’s anointing before the people. He raised the name of the Lord and the Lord’s abilities over his personal reputation in both settings.
A Love-filled Life
That position was worked out in love. Entering a sick person’s house would make you ceremonially unclean but Jesus released health instead (Luke 4:38-41). Eating with a rejected tax collector, would corrupt your character but Jesus released God’s call instead (Luke 5:27-39). Working on the Sabbath brought you under judgement but Jesus released mercy instead (Luke 6:1-11).
That love-filled life was explained fully in his teaching. Blessings for those who stay in position with God, curses for those who live for themselves (Luke 6:20-26) is just the starting point in the Love-filled Life. Jesus went so much further. Bless your enemies, turn theft into giving, lend like you will never be repaid. Love gives and gives!
Love drives out and leaves no room for fear or sin (1 John 4:18). Love is a much better enforcer of exclusion zones than any soldier.
So, we find that …
Loves saves us and gets us born again. Instead of us being afraid of sin infecting us, we are to realise the power of submission frees us to live that same life as Jesus. No longer sinners but new creations, saints, full of life and power. We produce a sin-free zone within us as we follow Jesus.
Love empowers us to fully obey the leading of the Holy Spirit. Instead of relying on our knowledge or skills we live in the power of the positioned life. Death is defeated, we get to bring the Lord’s life into situations. We position ourselves in Christ, we enforce a sin-free zone around us as we follow Jesus.
Love fills us and overflows from us. Living the love-filled life produces a love-filled environment around us. We become true climate changers … baptised into Christ, full of the Spirit and fire!
Day 83 (23 Mar) Luke 3:1-end
Before Jesus came, John was working on the spiritual environment. He was preparing the way. What practical ways can we prepare our neighbours, work colleagues and family to receive Jesus?
Day 84 (24 Mar) Luke 4:1-32
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. As you look at your life, do you see wilderness times as periods of survival or growth? What has made a difference?
Day 85 (25 Mar) Luke 4:33-44
Compassion was a mark of Jesus’ ministry. How do we grow compassion?
Day 86 (26 Mar) Luke 5:1-16
Personal testimony time! How did you hear God’s call? How did it change your life and career plans?
Day 87 (27 Mar) Luke 5:17-39
Who are you taking time to be with in order to help them transition into the calling? Calling Levi was just the start of the journey!
Day 88 (28 Mar) Luke 6:1-26
The Sabbath brings two challenges:
1. Do you pay attention to the Sabbath? God was very strict with the Jews about them setting the time aside to be with Him. What do you think of the sabbath in this modern day?
2. But how do you spend the Sabbath is the challenge to those who do obey the first challenge?
How are we doing with BOTH these challenges?
Day 89 (29 Mar) Luke 6:27-49
The Love-filled life overflows. How are you overflowing today? Have you looked at the 40 Acts of Kindness that GoChurch Manchester are doing?