Luke 4

Every time I read the Scriptures; I find new insights that help guide my life even though the written words have not changed since my last reading. There is clearly something else at play and my experiences of that create a sense of Wonder in me making me eager to surrender evermore so as to draw ever closer to this source of deep knowing of me.

Behind God’s Word there is something that knows me deeply and knows what I need to hear in the current moment with a wisdom greater than I.  We call it God’s Voice, the Holy Spirit. I like to think of it simply as a beautiful guiding voice leading me to the best life.

Recently, I was reading Luke 4 where Jesus enters the synagogue and opens the scroll of Isaiah and reads it to those present. Jesus states his purpose and why he has come.  Luke places this right up front of his gospel so that we might understand from the beginning why he has come. He says that he has come for 3 reasons: ‘release of the captives’, ‘recovery of sight to the blind’ and ‘let oppressed go free’.  So, what can we make of this for OUR lives?

Is it a statement to people in jail, visually impaired and held hostage?

Jesus is always about instructing us to find the more, the deeper meaning in life that is only visible in our hearts, an alive spiritual life of and in God.  This life Jesus describes frequently is always about so much more than a ticket into Heaven, it’s about the way we live intimately with God today.  Jesus speaks often about life lived alive spiritually and goes so far as to describe this life in many parables where he describes this life like a pearl of precious value, where a life in the Spirit is like the carefree, joyful life of a child.  A dwelling place for our soul here and now where God’s Presence is with us and in us and ALIVE!

Over and over Jesus is telling you and me how to live a life alive with God’s Presence (Spirit) and not a life ultimately meaningless, which Jesus describes as a life devoid of God’s Presence, OR DEAD.  Living alive or living dead.  We choose – Jesus is simply offering a better life, a better fuller life, one lived alive in the Holy Spirit!

When I read Luke 4 again the point for me is not to discount the Scriptures since I’m not in jail, nor unable to get a driver’s license, nor on weekend pass from MCSO, but rather it is prompting me to seek where I need Jesus to set me free from? What is holding me back from the fullness God wants for me?  Where in my life am I blind to things that are holding me back from the fullness God wants for me? Where can I find freedom from what is holding me back from the fullness God wants for me?  Then ask, pray, and wait with fullness of faith that God is a god of His Word.

I am doing just that.  When I sin and fall short again, I’m asking God to allow me to see that before I do so next time.  I’m asking Jesus to release me, prisoner from any strongholds on my life that I’m hanging onto that keep me from the fullness God wants for me.  Lastly, wherever my life is not free, I am asking for the fullness God wants for me.

It’s a beautiful image of our God.  A God constantly looking out and protecting us and full of Love and Mercy. Interestingly, the word ‘mercy’ comes from the Hebrew root rachum, but it is also correctly understood as rechem which has the meaning denoting the same kind of divine protection and care that a baby has in its mother’s womb!

Think about that idea and how God deals with us loving and caring for us like a mother does for her baby.  In that context God’s goodness seems to wash over us every time we turn to Him!

So what’s the point, Dennis? You are probably saying by this point!

As I reflect on the past year and the truth that I’ve had some major medical issues I feel two things. First, up until this time in my life I never embraced the ‘so what’ of my life’s limited length.  Oh, of course we all know our life is limited, but I never really lived FULLY with the end in mind.  The second is the realization that one day we will come to that place where everything we know, have done, enjoyed, loved, cried for and over, will be no more.  One day we will breathe our last and the ones we love the most will be no longer in our lives, for we shall have left them.  Period.

So I am more convinced than ever that even the darkness of that time of passing will be light today, if we live into it starting now.  If we love deeply, hug bountifully, praise often, take care of all we can.  Jesus was VERY clear in the Scriptures as ‘Light’ you seek, see, and follow. When John the Baptist sent someone to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah, Jesus said exactly what we all need to find Spirit in our lives – if you want to see me, if you want your soul to be filled by me here and now – simply go where I told you I will be and do what I am.  There you will find me and our closeness will be undeniable in you.

I ask myself in light of all of this.

What else matters?  What else matters for the fullness of the now?  What else matters for the finality of our departure?  Where else is there to go than to go after Him.

There is no place else to go but to Jesus!