I continue to mull over the recent events surrounding the news of the impending end of the world. I have been pondering all the bad news that is coming out of portions of the Church.
Jesus was not a negative person. Just because He foresaw disaster does not mean He was controlled by it. Jesus’ doctrine was always positive. The Gospel is called the Good News. I do not understand the mindset that gives permission to the devil to continue wrecking our planet and the people who dwell on it, and then blame God for what is happening.
Jesus said, “Go into all the world”. I believe He said “Go” so we would neutralize and destroy the negative influences of the world before the world and its negative influences invaded the Church.
We know that our warfare is not against other people [flesh and blood]. Our warfare is against unseen entities of evil that influence people to act inappropriately.
One inappropriate act that seems to go unchallenged in some Christian circles is that of blaming Dad for most, if not all of the ills in the world. I have addressed this in several blogs. This mindset is rampant throughout the Body of Christ. There are many voices that are misleading the people of God. There are other voices that are trying to inject the Jesus Doctrine into the mix.
Jesus said so many things that have been overlooked when it comes to issues like this. At His inaugural address in Nazareth’s synagogue He quoted a portion of the prophet Isaiah’s prophecy found in chapter 61, verses 1 – 2. Here is what Isaiah said ~
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn.”
Here is Jesus’s quote found in Luke 4:18 -22 ~
“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD. And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?'”
Let’s compare the two quotes ~
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me” “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me”
“Because the Lord has anointed Me” “Because He anointed Me”
“To bring good news to the afflicted” “To preach the Gospel to the poor”
“He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted” “He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives”
“To proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners” “And recovery of sight to the blind”
“To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord’ “To set free those who are oppressed”
“And the day of vengeance of our God” “To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord”
“To comfort all who mourn” “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing”
There are obvious similarities and differences in these two quotes. The one difference I want to illustrate in this blog is Jesus ended with the statement, “To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord”. He then stated emphatically, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Isaiah’s prophecy added, “and the day of vengeance of our God” and “to comfort all who mourn.” We know that Jesus came to comfort all who mourn because He said in the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
What Jesus did not include in His address was, “the day of vengeance of our God.” Jesus stopped with “the favorable year of the Lord” and then said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled.”
Look, I believe there is going to be a “day of vengeance of our God”. I just do not find it in the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus spoke of a “year of favor” and many in the Church are stuck on a “day of vengeance”. If we are going to focus on a “day” then that “day” should be the “today” that Jesus talked about.
The writer of Hebrews spoke of an important “today” four times in chapter three and four.
3:7,8 ~ “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS,”
3:13 ~ “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
3:15 ~ “while it is said, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.”
4:7 ~ “He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.”
A hard heart causes people to miss the heart of God which in turn causes them to miss the miraculous interventions of God and the lessons those interventions are meant to teach us about the nature of God.
A hard heart can also cause people to think that those not living right with God deserve to be punished. From God’s perspective those not living right with Him deserve His mercy, not His punishment.
I thank God that He kept pursuing me with His love and mercy until I finally surrendered to Him. What if He had decided that He was “done with me” the day before I knelt by a bed in a Motel 6 in Yuma, AZ in April 1980 and accepted His offer of total forgiveness? I hate to even think of what that would have resulted in my life and family.
Luke said those that heard Jesus “spoke well of Him and were wondering at the gracious words that were coming from His lips.”
This amazes me. Why would they speak well of Him? Why would they wonder at His gracious words?” Maybe they were not used to someone in authority speaking graciously to them. Could it be that they were used to being beat up by their religious leaders? Could it be they could sense the genuineness of His heart that was expressed in the words He spoke? Maybe they actually saw His heart as He spoke. Maybe they could see for the first time that there was hope in the midst of their plight.
In a time when so many people are suffering at the hands of unmerciful forces of destruction we should not be adding insult to injury by telling them that the only One who can truly comfort and heal them is the One who did this to them.
For HIS Glory!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury