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[thoughts] Jesus Defines His Ministry (August 1-7, 2005)

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  • Mark Roth
    Thoughts for the Week Mark Roth http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/youth/ ... This edition goes out today to 3320 subscribers. Thank you! ... JESUS DEFINES HIS
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2005
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      Thoughts for the Week
      Mark Roth
      http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/youth/


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      This edition goes out today to 3320 subscribers. Thank you!
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      JESUS DEFINES HIS MINISTRY
      (Luke 4:16-24,28-30)


      PROBING YOUR OWN HEART

      Has Jesus accomplished His ministry in you?

      For what purpose are you here?


      BUILDING ON SOME FOUNDATIONAL CONCEPTS

      God's Spirit empowers those whom He sends.
      "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me
      to... [and] he hath sent me to..." (Luke 4:18). Though Jesus said
      this about Himself, the principle applies as well to all of God's
      children. No assignment from the Father comes without the
      empowering presence of His Spirit. God wishes to see His mission
      accomplished through us; He has no desire for or pleasure in our
      failure. That is why He does all He can to ensure our success.

      The Gospel is for the poor.
      "He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor" (Luke
      4:18). This statement does not make economic lack a virtue. It does
      not limit the Gospel to those who are not financially
      self-sufficient or who do not have an adequate supply of material
      things. Jesus made this clear a little later: "Blessed are the poor
      in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3).
      Interestingly, the word used for *poor* is *ptochos* (Strong's:
      4434), which speaks of one so lacking in self-sufficiency that he
      only obtains his living by begging. The Gospel is solely for those
      who know they cannot earn it and thus depend completely on the help
      and mercy of Another. Because the scribes and Pharisees failed to
      grasp that reality, He later declared to them, "They that are whole
      have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not
      to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Mark 2:17).

      Jesus meets the needs of those who receive Him.
      Whatever the need of the one turning to Him, Jesus ably meets
      it. It doesn't matter whether we are brokenhearted, bound, blind,
      or wounded, or all of the above -- He will bring us rest, peace,
      healing, freedom, and restoration. That is the Gospel we receive;
      that is the Gospel we offer.


      QUESTIONS AND RESPONSES

      Why is it so easy to reject the teaching of "one of our own"?
      Though we may not necessarily despise him and his message, we
      certainly seem unable (unwilling?) afford him the ear, honor, and
      esteem that we with such ease grant someone from another
      congregation. If he's of *our* congregation, he will most likely
      enjoy higher esteem from people in *other* congregations. Consider
      three possible explanations for such attitudes and behavior.
      *Familiarity.* We know the local one. We have seen and heard
      him during his low times. We know and have had to put up with his
      weaknesses and failures. We remember his immaturity, maybe even his
      youth or childhood. He is, after all, one of us. How can we
      possibly accept him in this "strange" role of prophet? (We aren't
      always like that, but it is a human tendency which we must resist.)
      *Vulnerability.* The local one knows us -- our low times, our
      weaknesses, our inconsistencies, our failures, our history, our
      immaturity, and so forth. This makes us extra vulnerable to him and
      his prophetic voice. When he speaks, we can often be sure he knows
      exactly how it applies to us...and he knows that we know as well.
      We cannot pretend with him.
      *Mistrust.* This factor is particularly unfortunate because it
      is magnified by the two preceding ones. Because we know him and his
      past as well as we do, we find it difficult to trust his spiritual
      gift and perception. And because we know he knows us just as well,
      we struggle with trusting that he isn't just trying to lord it over
      us or put us in our place.
      Blessed is the congregation which can produce its own
      home-grown prophets and leaders! So "know them which labour among
      you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And...esteem
      them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace
      among yourselves" (1 Thessalonians 5:12,13) . . . and don't hold
      the home-grown ones in lesser regard.

      Do your ears itch?
      We like to hear new teaching. We like to hear interesting
      teaching. We like to hear pleasant teaching. So did the people in
      Jesus' home town. They even marveled that He should have such
      gracious teaching. But they, like we too often, changed their
      opinions very quickly when the teaching and words found their mark
      in the hidden, vulnerable areas of their hearts. They had itching
      ears, wanting to be tickled and pleased. Alas, they lacked open
      hearts that want righteousness above all else.

      So why did He bother going to Nazareth?
      No matter how closed their hearts were, even they needed to
      have Luke 4:18,19 fulfilled in their ears. Even if they rejected
      it, they needed to have the message delivered to them. Even if they
      despised the Messenger, He loved them beyond measure. So He went to
      them.


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      Mark Roth


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