Jesus is the king who has come to establish his kingdom, but it comes not through political or military conquest – it comes by setting people free from things that held them captive. Sometimes that means demons are cast out. Other times it means idols of the heart are cast out.
Jesus tells a fisherman to do the impossible, touches a leper, and forgives the sin of a cripple who didn’t ask. The kingdom is here!
Jesus announces that his mission is to bring good news to the poor (the outcast, the disenfranchised, the disadvantaged, those on the outside looking in.... and it still is.
Jesus is about 30 years old, and ready to begin his ministry. The question is: Does he really know what he is here to do? Has he understood what his mission will be? The phrase "time will tell" isn't going to be helpful. Like a good teacher tests her pupils to learn what they know, Jesus gets a test to see what he knows about the mission.
Empowered by the Spirit, Jesus is full of the Spirit, and inspired by the Spirit. His primary role on earth is to serve the plan of the Father, and it is this special relationship and its implications that lie at the root of Jesus’ identity.
God’s breaking into the world leaves us exposed, giving us the option to either respond in humility forsaking our allegiances for a new commitment or hardening our heart in standing our ground and face judgment.
How would you fill in the blank in this sentence: "If I had ___________, my life would really sing"? We might be tempted to say the Sunday school answer: Jesus! But if the gospel is true, and you have been born again, you already have him! And yet it's pretty rare to hear someone say their life is really singing. So what is it that could make the difference?
The gospel is good news to real sinners. It's not the powerful, the perfect, the put-together who are shoo-ins to the kingdom of heaven. How do we know? Look at the birth of Jesus!
Sometimes we see the beauty of grace immediately. Other times, the beauty remains hidden for a long time. But in either case, grace is still grace – undeserved FAVOR from the Lord.
What is the purpose of church? Is it that we have spotless theology? Is it that love our neighbors no matter what we believe? Or is it both?