THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD
After Jesus was baptized by John and filled with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, where He was tempted by Satan. Jesus defeated Satan by declaring the Word of God and remaining faithful to it. And then, Jesus began teaching and ministering in the Galilee region:
“So 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 to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah” (Luke 4:16-17).
NOTE: The men in the synagogue took assigned turns in Scripture readings. On this day, the assigned reading—ordained in God’s Sovereign timing—was from Isaiah 61, where Isaiah was prophesying about JESUS! And among all of the men in the synagogue, whose turn was it on that specific day to do the Scripture reading? JESUS! Can you imagine the scene in Heaven? Perhaps the Father called Isaiah over to the balcony of Heaven to watch. “Come over here, Isaiah. I have something I want to show you!” The scene continues in Nazareth …
“And when Jesus had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’” (Luke 4:18-22).
You would think the people would have praised God and rejoiced. But they totally missed the significance and reality of what Jesus had said. My friend Mike Poulin once said, “You can be in the middle of something God is doing and still miss it.” The people simply thought, “Oh, He’s a nice boy. He speaks so well.” Jesus knew they missed it, so He drove the point home, telling them that just as they resisted the prophets in the past, they would reject Him.
Furthermore, He told them that because they rejected Him, God would show His favor to others.
The congregation turned ugly, filled with wrath, thrust Him out of town, and tried to throw Jesus over a cliff. But verse 30 says something amazing: “Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.” I don’t know what happened, but He simply passed through the raging mob, parting them like the Red Sea, because He had the Father’s business to do.
Jesus set His face like flint to do the Father’s will; to reveal the Father to the world and reconcile the world to the Father. He was never deterred nor distracted. He continually courageously faced down opponents and stymied the schemes of the enemy. And at the very moment when the Devil thought he finally had Jesus right where he wanted Jesus to be … on the Cross … that was when the Father’s plan was fulfilled and Jesus won the greatest victory of all time! I heard Mahesh Chavda say, “One drop of the blood of Jesus is enough to destroy the entire kingdom of Satan.”
When Jesus declared on the Cross, “It is finished! Into Thy hands I commit My Spirit,” it was not a statement of weary defeat. It was a statement of triumph and vindication from the Father. It’s a direct quote from Psalm 31, which was a prophetic Psalm from David. Read that whole Psalm and consider that this was the declaration Jesus deliberately made on the Cross. He endured the Cross because of the joy set before Him. And then, Hallelujah, He arose! He arose!
LOOK TO JESUS
As we look to the courageous Jesus, our own courage will be renewed. We face many challenges. Some of us have been weary, scared, confused, angry, grieving, or frustrated. But Jesus Himself is our peace, our hope, and our Solid Rock. “If you look to yourself, you will be disappointed; if you look to others, you will be disillusioned; but if you look to Jesus, you will be delighted.”– Dr. Harold Wilmington
Stephen Simpson, President