One of the main joys I have in reading ‘Every Day with Jesus’, is that it brings me in contact with verses from the Bible, in a new way.
It should always be remembered that reading these wonderful studies written by Selwyn should not become a substitute for reading Scripture. The main way we learn about our Lord is by reading His Word, in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
I mention this because the words of Luke 4:31-44 (set for reading and meditation), really spoke to me. The following verses I thought were especially meaningful.
Luke 4:36-37,40-44 (NLT): “Amazed, the people exclaimed, “What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!” The news about Jesus spread through every village in the entire region. …
As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed every one. Many were possessed by demons; and the demons came out at his command, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But because they knew he was the Messiah, he rebuked them and refused to let them speak.
Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. The crowds searched everywhere for him, and when they finally found him, they begged him not to leave them. But he replied, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent.” So he continued to travel around, preaching in synagogues throughout Judea.”
Out of these verses, I learnt two important facts; firstly, Jesus spoke with authority which was recognised by the people. The second important point, is this: Jesus could have stayed with these people and enjoyed their praises. However, He saw that His mission was not to become a local celebrity – but to preach the good news to many people in different places – even, if the other towns He travelled to – ignored His message. It’s the same for us – we are not to settle down with the comforts provided by the people who are healed by God’s Spirit when they pressure us to stay – rather, we must move on – and tell others about the good news.
Bigotry, is a difficult problem to address. As defined in my dictionary (Macquarie) – ‘bigotry’ – is the intolerant attachment to a particular creed, opinion or practice. It is bondage to a particular view point, because of pride. Bigotry is saying that the way I see the world is right, and all other views are wrong. The Pharisees had a well-studied view of the Old Testament – they had formalised complex theological question over many years of study. Consequently, because of pride in their intellect and position – they believed they were right in their interpretation of Scripture and that this knowledge – enabled them to tell who was an authority on the ways of God, and who was not!
As Selwyn writes in today’s study: “As educated men and leaders of the people they (Pharisees) were accustomed to receive from the uneducated masses (Jesus included) a certain deference and respect. Now they appeared to be witnessing that respect being undermined. The people were following Jesus from one place to another, and were impressed with His clear exposition of the Scriptures.”
They could have had a different attitude – one, which recognised that they had the same goal as Jesus – to bring people into a realtionship with God. In Luke 9:49-50 (NLT), we read: ‘John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.” But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.” ‘
Even today, bigotry is one of the biggest problems that is working against the spread of the good news about Jesus – and sadly, this can be seen with the different, ‘my view is right’ statements, as expressed by a number of Christian denominations or groups.