Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday, May 24 ~ tammi

Today's Bible In a Year reading: 2 Samuel 17-18; Psalm 104; Acts 15
Today's scripture focus passage: Luke 4:14-15

MacArthur's accompanying sermon: From the Wilderness to Galilee: Jesus' Judean Ministry

I always love that first statement about Jesus in these two short verses -- He "returned in the POWER of the Spirit..." (emphasis added) -- especially given the experience He has just endured in the wilderness with the devil.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss has a really great series called Walking Through Life's Deserts and she's actually the one who called this to my attention:

Jesus had a powerful earthly ministry. Luke 4 tells us that He “returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.... He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.”

There’s something important there. When it says He “returned to Galilee,” where was He returning from? From the desert.

This successful ministry came after Jesus faced danger, loneliness, and temptation for forty days in the desert. God had been preparing Jesus for His earthly ministry during this difficult time.

Maybe it feels like you’re in a desert—what seems like a hopeless, never-ending situation. Can I encourage you? God may be fitting you for future service. He may want to use your “life message” in a powerful way, so trust Him and let Him prepare you for what lies ahead.

When we've come through a particularly difficult struggle either spiritually or with a particular situation in our lives and we've felt the sweet communion with God because we were driven to our knees, desperate for Him, and He's ministered to us, tended our wounds, nourished us -- that's when we can return to our lives with renewed strength, renewed POWER from His Holy Spirit working in and through us.

It is this relatively new understanding that has helped me not always just wish away the tough things in life as soon as I find myself in their midst.  Don't get me wrong, I still don't WISH for them to come, and I don't want them to last longer than they absolutely have to, but I want that fresh power from the Spirit.  I want to be able to share that fresh testimony about God's goodness and His sovereignty in my life once it's over, and so I must persevere through those "wilderness times," facing the trials head-on, using the same tools Jesus used to deal with temptation and weakness, and with my hope ever fixed on my Heavenly Father.

Remembering that gold is refined and purified only through the fire.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year reading: Luke 4:16-21
Monday's scripture focus passage: 2 Samuel 19-20


Miriam said...

Great post, Tammi. I'm not sure I ever paid these two verses any special attention before now.

TammyIsBlessed said...

The truths that you mention definitely hold true. However, I thought it interesting that in MacArthur's sermon we find that there is actually almost a year gap between the wilderness temptations and Jesus returning to Galilee. In between there is his Judean ministry which is recorded in John. That's the ministry He begins after the wilderness - everything that happened in Judea from returning to the Jordan to see John, calling His disciples, His first miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana, His (first) clearing out of the temple, His conversation with Nicodemus, His meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. Luke skips all this and goes straight to Jesus' ministry in Galilee. MacArthur points out that this explains why Jesus was received so enthusiastically in Galilee - they saw Him clear out the temple, turn water into wine and heal the royal official's son.

But once Jesus returns to Galilee the tide begins to turn and head towards His death.

Very interesting!