Sunday, January 8, 2017

This is How Jesus Started His Ministry with Huge Power!

We sometimes take it for granted that Jesus was Son of Man as much as Son of God. “Yeah sure He did miracles, He was God.” we say, but the thing is He went ahead before us to show us who we are too… He did it all as a Man, His miracles, His way of living, His holiness… He did it all that as a Man, not God.

Today's Reading: Matthew 4, 5
That’s what so amazing about Jesus going to John to be baptized. He went there knowing full well that He was the Son of God. He didn’t need anyone’s affirmation, yet He did so for ‘righteousness sake’ that is, the for the sake of the limited, Law-given righteousness. You see, John was the ultimate prophet of the Law – His ministry was to bring the people to a realization they needed mercy and then reveal the One Sacrifice, the Messiah, who would forever cleanse and forgive them and the entire world of their sins; that’s why the Law of the Old Testament exists, to show the need for such a grace given only by such a Savior.

Anyhow, there was Jesus, being baptized by John, and the Holy Spirit like a dove descends and the voice of the Father thunders from Heaven in everyone’s presence, “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased!”

And that’s when Jesus retreats into the solitude of the desert… to pray, meditate on God’s word and fast. Presumably, fasting done in the right way, for the right reasons, helps us do the other two better and increases our focus. That trio – fasting, praying, meditating – deserves some thought and digestion on our part.

Here was the Son of God doing these things. And watch how Jesus responds to Satan. At first, Satan taunts Jesus attempting to get Him to doubt His Sonship… Satan was so audacious He actually uses Scripture to do this (using God’s word to tempt the Almighty Incarnate Himself!). And as you very well know, both times Jesus responds with the Scriptures… you see the Scriptures are only powerful when they are used by the Spirit-dwelling soul. The mind devoid of Christ’s Spirit is unable to use Scriptures in this way. This is true of us as much as it is even for the devil.

Now, when that strategy didn’t work for Satan, he switches gears and just gets to the point “Jesus, worship me and I will give you everything, because it is mine to give!”

Mark it well – Jesus did not say Satan was lying! Instead, swelling with extreme confidence that He is indeed the Son of God – He shouts at Satan as if he was a stray dog in His way, “Get behind me, Satan!” – If anyone was going to be doing the kneeling it would be Satan to Jesus and of this Jesus didn’t have a doubt. And of course, Satan promptly scurried away.

So what was the result of these 40 days and nights in the desert, praying and meditating and fasting? So full of the Power of the Spirit was Jesus now, that when He began His ministry it was no gradual ascent to the top – He started off with such a bang that He became instantly famous as He healed all diseases, cast out demons and preached the Gospel. The news of this Annointed One who heals and delivers spread like wildfire through all of Syria (which today has endured a very different kind of fire) and people where flocking to Him from all around.

How does that square then with our lives? Have we been living in the power of the Spirit? Have we availed of this prayerful, meditative, frequently fasting life style of Jesus? Perhaps it is time we learnt from The Teacher – though He knew He was the Son of God, even He took the time to pray and meditate and He did for the rest of His life before the cross too!

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David Roiel
The Green Leaf Blog-Discover your inheritance!

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