Lent Devotional | week one
This week in worship we focused on the miraculous purpose of Jesus. The account in The Gospel of Luke [4:16-21] tells of Jesus reading a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah concerning his own purpose. He reads that the Spirit of the Lord has anointed him to do several things. As I mentioned in my message Sunday, the events immediately before this account are Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist and the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. There are a few correlations between these accounts that are helpful to look at as we think about Jesus’ miraculous purpose this week.
When Jesus was baptized the heavens opened and the Spirit fell upon him and God the Father said, “This is my son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” In essence this was a public pronouncement of Jesus’ place and purpose. Jesus is the Son of God and He will be telling you things, you should listen. Jesus publicly receives the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the pronouncement of the Father necessary to fulfill his purpose. God indicates that a part of his purpose was to proclaim. When Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit he was tempted by the devil in very specific ways. He is asked to turn stones into bread, jump off and have the angels catch him, and bow to the devil and receive the power to rule the earth. All of these temptations deal with aspects of the human nature. It is our desire to have enough; enough to eat, enough to drink, enough shelter, money, and more. It is also our desire to have safety and know that nothing will hurt us. It is also our desire to have power, or control, over our own lives; and taken to the extreme—power over others. All of the temptations of Jesus are concerns of the human condition. Satan knew he could not get to Jesus through the divine, so he had to tempt the humanity of Jesus. Of course, Jesus withstood the temptation and responded each time with Scripture. Why is this important? Because it all relates to Jesus' miraculous purpose. Jesus reads the Isaiah passage to announce that he is the one who the Spirit has anointed, just as God proclaimed in the River Jordan. Jesus has also experienced and resisted temptation by the devil—the kind every human has or will face. This positions Jesus perfectly to fulfill his purpose. Jesus knew what it was like to be hungry and in need. This positions him to be able to preach Good News to the poor. Jesus was tempted for 40 days and nights in the wilderness by the devil. He allowed himself to be held captive for that time. This means he can proclaim release to the prisoners. Though Jesus was never physically blind, he experienced the blinding severity of the devil’s attacks and stayed focused on seeing only God’s will for His life. Jesus could recover sight to the blind—both physically and spiritually. He also understood the oppressive nature of evil during those 40 days and nights, which positioned him to liberate those who are oppressed in this world. Finally, after enduring this temptation, through the presence of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, Jesus could whole heartedly proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. As we discussed on Sunday, Jesus is the only one who was anointed for this miraculous purpose. He is the only one who destroyed the devil’s power and would liberate those whom the devil held captive. Jesus is the only one who could atone for our sins on Calvary. Jesus alone can relate to our temptation we face having endured and overcome temptation from the devil himself.
As you think about the miraculous purpose of Jesus pray over and answer these questions:
1. How am I poor? [Poor in spirit, financially, relationally, etc.]
2. To what, or whom, am I a prisoner?
3. Where are my blind spots? [in my faith, relationships, confidence, etc.]
4. Am I allowing anything or anyone to oppress me?
5. What would it look like for me to receive the Lord’s favor?
6. In any or all of the questions above do I see Jesus’ miraculous purpose being accomplished in my life?
Jesus, you withstood temptation from the devil himself so that I could be free. Help me be more aware of the miraculous in my everyday life. Wherever there is good news, I know that is you. Wherever I am released from the prison of my own guilt and shame, I know that is you. Wherever I can see you more clearly, I know that is you. Wherever I experience liberation from oppressive thoughts or actions, I know that is you. Wherever I experience your favor, I know that is you. Jesus, help me to witness your miraculous purpose this week in ways I may not have ever before. I will be sure to give you all honor, glory, and praise. In Jesus name. Amen.