Monday, September 20, 2010: Prophecy
Daily reading: Luke 4:16-19, Isaiah 61:1-3
Luke communicates several important aspects of Jesus’ Kingdom work as the Messiah in this section. The good news he proclaims is for the poor, captive, blind and oppressed, those normally thought to have been abandoned by God. The good news is for the Gentiles, not just the Jews (the point of 4:25-27). The good news will be rejected by some, especially those with power and status to protect. How does Jesus go about fulfilling this prophecy for the poor? The blind? The captive? The oppressed? In your prayers today, pray for people who might fall into any of these categories.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010: Authority
Daily reading: Luke 4:31-37, Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus leaves his hometown of Nazareth and moves 20 miles north to Capernaum, a fishing village on the Sea of Galilee which becomes his missional home base. As is his custom, he begins teaching in the synagogue, because his mission is first to Israel. The people are astounded at his teaching, because he teaches as one who has authority, first-hand knowledge of God. Jesus isn’t just spouting theology he learned in school. In the synagogue, Jesus encounters a man possessed by an unclean spirit. Jesus is able to cast out the demon without destroying the man who is possessed, and does so with words, connecting him to the One who created all things by speaking them into being. When Jesus speaks, he speaks with authority. Throughout the scriptures, how does Jesus choose to demonstrate his authority? In your prayers for today, ask Jesus to speak a new word of hope into your life.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010: Resurrection
Daily reading: Luke 4:38-39, Matthew 22:23-33
The scene changes to Simon Peter’s home, where his mother-in-law lies sick with a fever. This is our introduction to Simon in Luke’s Gospel. Jesus casts out the fever just as he cast out the demon, by rebuking it. Once again, there is a focus on the power of Jesus’ words. Immediately Simon’s mother-in-law rises up, a phrase that carries subtle implications of resurrection, and she serves Jesus. Word about Jesus spreads, and he heals many more from sickness and demonic possession. It seems as if Jesus brings resurrection to everything and everyone he touches. What needs a resurrection in your life? Pray for Jesus’ resurrection life to touch you.
Thursday, September 23, 2010: Fulfillment
Daily reading: Luke 4:40-41, Acts 1:6-8
These incidents illustrate the truth of Luke 4:16-30. Jesus is indeed the embodiment of Isaiah’s words. He is the promised Messiah. Now that the King has come to inaugurate his Kingdom, the enemies of the Kingdom are beginning to fall: Satan, sickness and death. Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecy read out loud in the Nazareth synagogue earlier in this chapter. Unlike people in his hometown, who dismiss Jesus based on his lowly upbringing, the people of Capernaum focus on Jesus’ authority and power. Like God’s creative word, Jesus’ word does something. While the demon knows who Jesus is, the crowds are still uncertain. Among other things, this incident shows the power of the new King to defeat the enemies of darkness, and to set humanity free. Through the power of his words and his actions, Jesus demonstrates that he is the fulfillment of all that God has promised. In the pattern of Jesus, how can your words and actions really do something new today? In your prayers today, ask God for a new way to join your words to your actions.
Friday, September 24, 2010: Kingdom Reality
Daily reading: Luke 4:42-44, Luke 9:57-62
Verses 42-44 are a summary statement of this chapter. All that Jesus has done in this section is a living proclamation of the good news of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom has come; it is here and now. And we recognize its arrival because the enemies of the Kingdom are beginning to fall at the hand of the King. Can you identify things in your life that are enemies of the Kingdom of God? In your prayers today, ask God to give you new eyes to see those things that work against the Kingdom reality of God.
Saturday, September 25, 2010: Upside-Down!
Daily reading: Luke 6
In the chapters that follow, Jesus’ power will overcome leprosy, paralysis, the law, a withered hand, even death – all of them signs of the in-breaking of the new Kingdom. Everything is turned upside down. The poor, hungry, grieving and persecuted are blessed in the new Kingdom. The rich, full, prideful and popular will be brought low. Enemies are to be loved. Judging has no place in the Kingdom. People will be known by their actions, not their words or their status. Living into this new Kingdom reality by faith will bring blessing, joy and stability to life. Are there things in your life that need to be turned upside-down, or shaken up? In your prayers this week, invite God to come and turn your life upside-down.
Sunday, September 25, 2010: Good News!
Daily reading: Luke 4:42-44, Matthew 11:2-6
Luke’s Gospel begins with Jesus teaching in the synagogue, quoting Isaiah (Luke 4:16-30). Luke communicates several important aspects of Jesus’ Kingdom work as the Messiah in this section. First, the good news he proclaims is for the poor, captive, blind and oppressed, those normally thought to have been abandoned by God. Second, the good news is for the Gentiles, not just the Jews (the point of 4:25-27). Third, the good news will be rejected by some, especially those with power and status to protect. It is important to note that when Jesus proclaims this good news, it’s for everyone. It’s been said that if the gospel isn’t good news for everyone, then is isn’t really the gospel. In your life, who have you thought stood outside of this good news? In your prayers, ask God to open your heart to everyone, and become a good news proclaimer on behalf of Christ.