Thought for the week – 12th July 2020
Over the last couple of weeks we have noticed the number of vehicles passing our door has increased as the town and the country is slowly waking up with the easing of some of the lockdown restrictions.
How, I wonder, are we going to take up the challenges and changes of living within the constraints and opportunities which life will present to us in the future – as life resumes a faster pace, perhaps with pauses caused by more local lockdowns when required?
During the last few months many have been struggling to find purpose and hope. Many of these will be coming out of lockdown with the same struggles as they have had in lockdown. Some with more concerns as they fear to enter back into the wider world.
Are we ready to be encouraged in our worship and be challenged to grow in our own discipleship to the Lord Jesus and to respond to the search for purpose and hope of those around us?
Let us make and take up the opportunities which will come to enable others to meet Jesus and become disciples – starting in Southbourne and where we live.
In Luke ch4 we read about Jesus who has been on a tour of the synagogues in the Galilee returning to His home town synagogue at Nazareth, reading the scriptures in the service followed by the sermon. You might like to read it now – Luke ch 4:4-30.
Reading the scriptures and teaching what they say should be as important now as it was then.
The passage Jesus read spoke of the coming of the Messiah to bring God’s salvation. It comes from the prophecy of Isaiah and focussed on who Jesus is and what the offer of salvation which he brought.
Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favour has come.” (NIV)
From this prophecy we learn that Jesus:
• is God’s anointed one
• is anointed to preach good news to the people who are hurting including:
o the poor not just those, or even those who claimed to be righteous
o those who have needs
o those who recognised their need of God and are open to Him
o those who are humble – humble enough to admit their need of God
o those who are suffering and recognised God can and will help
o those who are prisoners – enslaved by the either the wrong in their lives or by physical or mental difficulties
There are still similar needs in the world today – the needs of Luke 4 are the needs of those today who struggling to find purpose and hope in the lockdown and coming out of lockdown.
This is the Christian gospel. We have this message, we know this message, we prove this message to be true as Jesus works in us to change us, is with us and has been with us during the past months
The ministry of Jesus in Galilee still reaches out today as He extends the proclamation of this same message through Christian believers like you and me.
We are the God people, the people of Jesus, and so the appointed proclaimers of God’s message
As John Stevens the FIEC Director wrote recently:
‘So as we gradually emerge from lockdown, let’s recommit ourselves to our primary mission to make disciples for the Lord Jesus, praying for God’s mercy in gospel growth and revival, and preaching the gospel which alone is God’s power for salvation. Our nation will only change, and value the church once again, if we make Jesus precious to them.’
Let us pray that God’s voice will be heard, listened to and accepted at this crucial time in the history of the world.
John Hughes © 2020