Jan 6, 2011 - Thursday Meditation (God's Power Alone Can...) What did Jesus come to do for us? He came to set us free from the worst tyranny possible – slavery to sin and the fear of death, and the eternal destruction of both body and soul. God's power alone can save us from emptiness and poverty of spirit, from confusion and error, and from hopelessness and the fear of annihilation. The gospel of salvation is "good news" for us today. Do you know the joy and freedom of the gospel? Thursday after Epiphany 1 John 4:19-5:4 Ps 72:1-2, 14+15bc, 17 Luke 4:14-22a And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee , and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. 16 And he came to Nazareth , where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day. And he stood up to read; 17 and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." 20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." 22 And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth; and they said, "Is not this Joseph's son?" Meditation by Don Schwager How can we know and experience God's favor and goodness towards us? In Jesus we see the grace of God in action. His gracious words brought hope, joy, and favor to those who were ready to receive him. Where did Jesus began his public ministry? In his own land of Galilee where he was reared from his youth in Nazareth . His proclamation of the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah brought wonder to his kin and townsfolk. Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to those oppressed by sin and evil (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus awakened their hope in the promises of God. They, in turn, received his words favorably and wondered what would become of "Joseph's son". Their hearts were hungry for the word of life and they looked to Jesus with anticipation and wonder. Do you look to Jesus with confidence and hope in the fulfillment of all God's promises? What did Jesus come to do for us? He came to set us free from the worst tyranny possible – slavery to sin and the fear of death, and the eternal destruction of both body and soul. God's power alone can save us from emptiness and poverty of spirit, from confusion and error, and from hopelessness and the fear of annihilation. The gospel of salvation is "good news" for us today. Do you know the joy and freedom of the gospel? "Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams. Through the gift of your Holy Spirit you bring us grace, life, truth, and freedom. Fill me with the joy of the gospel and inflame my heart with love and zeal for your kingdom and your will for my life Supplementary Reading One of His Sheep? My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. - John 10:27-28 A story is told about two men who set out to climb Mount Everest . They hired three Sherpas as guides and began their ascent at the steepest part of the mountain. The men roped themselves together in this order: guide, climber, guide, climber, guide. The five had gone only a little ways up the side when the last man lost his footing. He was held up temporarily by the other four because each had a toehold in the notches they had cut in the ice. But then the next man slipped and he pulled down the two above him. The only one to stand firm was the first guide, who had driven a spike deep into the ice. Because he held his ground, all the men beneath him regained their footing and the five eventually reached the summit! As I think about our Lord, the good shepherd, I can’t help but see an astonishing parallel between this story and his faithfulness. Jesus is just like that one guide who stood strong and wouldn’t let any of the climbers slip. No matter what happens, he will never let go! Because of this, you can have full confidence that he will protect and preserve you for eternal life. If you are truly one of his sheep, you will never be let go. So when hard times hit, remember whose you are and the firm grip he has on you! JESUS WILL NEVER LET HIS FAITHFUL PEOPLE BE TAKEN FROM HIM. SO IN HARD TIMES, TRUST IN HIS FIRM GRIP ON YOU!