Luke 4 ReflectionPosted: February 1, 2014
In his book “Selections”, John Winn, the nationally recognized pastor, mentor, spiritual journey guide offers a model for scripture study that I wish to introduce to you today. John is mentor Emeritus of the Center for Pastoral Excellence of the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.
- Read and Ponder each passage.
- Write the words that leap out to you.
- Meet the challenge to write a prayer using all the words you selected.
- Then select a phrase or sentence from the passage that grabs your attention.
- Write several personal I BELIEVE statements about each passage.
(Try not to let my examples get in your way.)
Words that leap out to me today:
led Spirit tempted live test departed good news
Challenge: Write a prayer that uses all these words:
Holy God, by your Holy Spirit, you have led me to this moment in my own journey. Even though I am tempted to fall away from your grace, you continue to call me to live more fully than I have, surrounded by the mercy and love that only you can give. Even though I sometimes fail the test, like this week when I allowed my defenses to speak in ways that did harm, I have not departed from your love and grace. Forgive me, I pray. Deepen in me the profound gift of your Good News that I might find my voice to speak your truth to those who are the most vulnerable and those who think they are not. Give me the words to speak to those who think they need your grace the least and those who know they need it the most. Amen.
A phrase or sentence that today leaps out at me that seems to attract my attention:
In the power of the Spirit
Personal “I believe statements” from Luke 4
I believe temptation comes in many forms and disguises today.
I believe in spite of the times when I fail, God’s grace is sufficient to pick me up and set me on the right path again.
I believe I continue to be called to worship the Lord our God and serve only him.
I believe the power of the Holy Spirit will guide our steps.
I believe we live in a world hungry for the Good News of the Gospel.
I believe now is the time.
There is specificity in Luke’s gospel here in the fourth chapter.
With regard to temptation, John Wesley argued that the most dangerous temptations are often subtle appeals to spiritual pride cloaked in poor interpretation of Scripture like the one used by the devil here. (Sermon 136: “On Corrupting the Word of God”)
Jesus overcomes temptation by drawing upon Scripture, which, for Wesley, is the primary means of grace in Wesleyan theology. (Sermon 82: “On temptation” and Sermon 47: “Heaviness through Manifold Temptation”)
This chapter sets the tone for all that is to come for Jesus. The wilderness comes to him and allows us to see that we are not insulated from similar wilderness experiences.
He steps into his hometown and reads from the prophet Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” I pray that the Spirit of the Lord would be upon us all as we seek to offer Good News to the poor, release of the captives, the recovering of sight to the blind, and announce the year of the Lord’s favor.
The chapter ends with Jesus saying, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.” (Luke 4:43-44)
For me, at this critical moment in the life of our Church, this seems to be a word for us to stay focused on that which God is calling us to do. Proclamation of the good news is not just what happens on Sunday morning at a given hour when the preacher stands in the pulpit. Proclamation of the gospel is that which a congregation offers through its witness in a given mission field. We are sent for this purpose—to offer Christ to a hurting world. Indeed, it was Wesley who taught us, “Offer them Christ.”