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Monday, May 12, 2014

Guest Post: Declaring His Ministry

We do not know much about what sorts of things Jesus did after his birth, since no information about his childhood or youthhood or early adulthood can really be found in the Bible.

We do know that, when he was twelve, he stunned all of the learned men at the temple in Jerusalem with his profound wisdom and understanding, but that is it. It is only a glimpse. We know he went about doing his Father's business, but that's all we truly know without haphazardly speculating.

It is interesting to think about how, even after all the glorious signs of his birth, Jesus went incognito for the first thirty years of his life.

This is the Savior! This is the Messiah! This is the Lord!

But Jesus did not draw attention to himself. He used this time to prepare himself for what was to come.

I absolutely LOVE how Jesus reveals himself when the appropriate time finally comes. I am going to quote it exactly from Luke 4, because I cannot give it justice in paraphrase:

"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

"And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.

"To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

[FYI, he is quoting Isaiah 61:1-2.]
[But this next part is the BEST part. Just wait for it ... wait for it ...]

"And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."

[Ooh, doesn't it give you the absolute chills?]

"And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?"

[They were confused. How could Jesus possibly be the Messiah? Wasn't he yonder neighbor Joseph's kid? Didn't he go to synagogue with their kids? Doesn't he spend a majority of his time making furniture? How could he be the anciently prophesied Messiah? How could someone as common as him be God's divine son?]

[Jesus then says some things about how no prophet is accepted in his own country, and speaks about Elias as an example.]

[The men in the synagogue get pretty p-oed.]

"And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,

And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong."

[They were going to kill him for what he said.]
[Yet, should it be any surprise that I LOVE what he does next?]

"But he passing through the midst of them went his way,"

[That's it! He went his way, calmly ignoring their outrage,]

And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power."

Jesus knew what he needed to do, and he did it. Pure epic-ness. It was time for his ministry to begin. As he thus quoted from Isaiah 61, so he did. He went about preaching, healing, recovering, and freeing. Jesus did exactly what he said he would do, because he was exactly who he said he was. He had power because he was true. His mission was being funded by God's power, and he would accomplish everything he set out to accomplish, no matter what anyone else had to say about it. Only God's will mattered, not the measly wills of men.

It reminds me of a Bob Dylan quote, and I hope this isn't sacrilegious, but: "When you feel in your gut what you are, and then dynamically pursue it -don't back down and don't give up- then you're going to mystify a lot of folks."

I love how Jesus begins his ministry by reading a scripture. He did not start things off with a gigantic miracle, he only, very simply, verbally pointed out the divinity of his mission, in a local synagogue, participating in a normal custom.

His listeners were mystified. Little did they know who they were trying to kill.

Jesus stayed true to his purpose, even when his own people rejected him on home turf. I think we can learn a lot from this. I think we need to a) learn who we are, b) proceed, not with reckless abandon, and not with pansy caution, but with full intensity of purpose, and c) find that we will be able to accomplish what we were sent here to accomplish, d) mystifying many.


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Melissa Condie is a middle school orchestra teacher in Houston, Texas. Read her other guest posts here.

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