Thursday, 10 December 2015

Daily Reading: Luke 9v1-9 'Who is Jesus?'

Luke writes his gospel to an individual questioning his beliefs. He writes so Theophilus “may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” Theophilus has trusted in Jesus, but he’s beginning to question, maybe it’s the difficulties he sees in the church, people not always getting on, maybe it’s the pressures of believing when his family don’t. Luke writes this account of Jesus life so that Theophilus continues to believe. As we read it we see it isn’t spin, he shows us characters like Peter failures and all. But one character stands out as worth trusting in - Jesus.

One of the big questions in Luke is ‘Who is Jesus?’ Look at verse 9 it’s Herod’s question, 8v26 it’s the disciples question after Jesus stills the storm, 7v49 it’s the Pharisees question after Jesus forgives sin, it’s the question John the Baptist sends his disciples to get an answer to. And (v18, 19) it’s the question Jesus wants his disciples to answer.

Luke also records some of the speculative answers. (7-8)Some said he was a great prophet, some John the Baptist resurrected, others Elijah. It is one of the key questions for Luke: Who do you say Jesus is? As we look at these three incidents that is the question to ask yourself.

Luke has shown us Jesus power, he doesn’t speak and people obey, or TV scheduling changes, he speaks and nature obeys as he stills the raging storm which has terrified seasoned sailors, he speaks and the sick are healed, demons cast out and the dead raised to life. Now that is real power.  (v1-6) We see the disciples sent out to tell people about Jesus, they’ve heard Jesus teach and heal and now he sends them out to do the same. (1)And as they go he gives them the tools they need for the job “he gave them power and authority.”  And Luke records “they went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.” Jesus authority and power are such that when he gives it his disciples they can do as he does.

This all sounds amazing to us, it sounds unrealistic to our ears. Miracles don’t happen, can we really believe Jesus fed 5,000 with 2 fish and 5 loaves, or stilled a storm? It just isn’t realistic. Surely in the 21st Century we can’t believe this, it goes against the laws of nature.  Some people conclude that miracles are just coincidence, that if you pray for rain often enough that at some point you will be right and it will rain. But Jesus isn’t praying for rain, this is instant healing, multiplying food and raising the dead. Some conclude it is just the gospel writers giving their claims about Jesus credibility. But that Jesus did miracles was not doubted by the people of his day, even Jesus enemies don’t dispute that he did miracles, just the source of authority by which he did them. All it takes for miracles to be possible is for God to exist.

Jesus has authority and power, that’s what the miracles show, and he even has the power and authority to empower his disciples.

Now that Jesus is risen and ascended he reigns and rules.  He promises us as his people that he has been given all authority and power and that he is with us.  Do we believe that?  Today as we go to our frontline - to work, to school, to lectures, to the school gate, to wherever the almighty King of kings and Lord of Lords goes with us.  How would recognising that change the way we live on those frontlines?

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