Friday, 11 December 2015

Daily Reading: Luke 9v10-17 'A foretaste of the kingdom'

Jesus back in Luke 4 claimed that he was God’s king come to bring good news, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. Come to tell people that it was again possible to be God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule. It is an amazing claim to make. And Jesus has evidence to back it up; he speaks and creation obeys as if hearing the voice of God, evil spirits recognise him and obey, he restores the lame, blind, deaf, he(v10-17) provides food in the desert just as God did and he conquers death. All evidence that backs up his claim to be the king of God’s kingdom.

What is God’s kingdom? It’s the good news that the disciples are sent out to tell others, and it’s what Jesus teaches the crowd about. It is the news that this broken world is not all there is, that God is not indifferent and there is a future.

In our society we have become immune to bad news. But every so often a story hits home and makes you feel how broken our world is. And leaves us with the question: How can you fix such a broken world?

I had a favourite mug, a limited edition from a 1 off in my life time, Ipswich v Inter Milan in the Uefa Cup. And one day two lads at school broke it, they offered to glue it all together again. But even if every piece was found and painstakingly glued back into place, there would still have been the cracks, it wouldn’t have been fit for purpose, it could never hold a cup of hot coffee. It needed to be remade.

The world we live in is broken, the Bible tells us that God made it perfect and mankind lived as God’s people in his place under his rule and there was not a single flaw, not a crack. Until we broke it by refusing to live under God’s rule, and by our decisions to live life by our own rules we shattered the world – that is what the Bible calls sin. Every moment of pain and suffering since is a result of those decisions.

The good news is that Jesus comes to bring God’s kingdom, he comes to enable us to be God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule once again. To experience a taste of it now, whilst living with the promise that one day he will recreate God’s kingdom, a new creation. He does it by dying in our place so that we can be forgiven, so that we are credited with his perfect record as he is punished for ours, so that we can be God’s people and one day in God's place - the new creation.  His miracles give us a little glimpse of what it will be like; pain, suffering, illness, opposition, death, mourning, hunger all removed all as a result of being in a right relationship with God.

The big question is who do you say Jesus is? Luke is clear he is God’s king come to inaugurate God’s kingdom, come to call people to trust in him, to put their faith in him.  How will you respond this morning? Luke shows us different responses: You can ignore the evidence and just walk away not wanting to think about the implications(8:37), you can treat it as an amusing intellectual diversion as Herod seems to, or you can trust in him as the disciples do, in fact that is the lesson of the feeding of the 5,000.

The disciples are stumped(13) they can’t feed 5000, but(14-16) Jesus can. He meets needs and the disciples need to trust him. Will you trust Jesus? The one who can meet your needs, whether it is food or forgiveness and a restored relationship with God.

Maybe you follow Jesus. This miracle poses the question; are you trusting him as you serve others? The disciples can’t meet this need but Jesus can and he gives them what they need to do so. They can’t depend on themselves but they can depend on him. They have to learn that the disciples instinctive reaction should be to turn to Jesus for help not to rely on themselves.  Who do you say Jesus is? How will you react to him? Will you trust him, will you live depending on him?

That is what Luke wants Theophilus and us to understand. Jesus is the King of God’s Kingdom, he is the one to trust in for life, and to live life trusting in.

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