Friday, July 15, 2011

The Story, Week 23 - Jesus Ministry Begins

This week Jesus is off and running. After thirty years of "waiting it out" Jesus gets to the work he came here to do. Several things strike me about this chapter.

Preparation by temptation

Jesus goes through a time of intense preparation with a 40 day fast. Jesus realizes that spiritual focus is of utmost value as he begins his ministry. It's 40 days alone with the Father, apart from physical needs, and time to deal with any doubts or fears he has had about this mission. This preparation includes a time of intense temptation from the devil. In fact, the Spirit has led him to the wilderness for this exact reason - to face temptation. Satan's goal is to derail this mission, but the temptations actually have the opposite effect. Jesus gets more focused than ever. I never thought about temptation like that before - it can either get us off track or help us dig in even deeper. For Jesus, temptation serves the latter purpose. He leaves the wilderness more focused than ever!

He takes time for the little guy

Although Jesus has opportunities to speak to large crowds (he goes to the synagogues and teaches at a full house), it is not unlike him to pause and talk to the little guy (and isn’t everyone little in comparison to Jesus). He converses with Nicodemus and chats with the Samaritan woman. This will be standard for Jesus as we read through the gospels. A lot of famous people don’t take time for the infamous, but Jesus does! He's interested in people, not crowds. He is here for the individual which reminds me he came for me and has a specific word for me as well. He doesn't walk through this life without awareness of individual needs. Jesus shows me that he is observant!

He gathers his posse

Jesus realizes that he's going to need some help in this mission. He knows that he's here for just a little while, so he'll need some men to carry the baton after he's gone. So he starts hand-picking a group of men that come to be known as the apostles. While reflecting on this I thought back to the movie Ocean's Eleven. In the 2001 movie George Clooney (Danny Ocean) plans an elaborate casino heist and recruits eleven associates to help him. Each one is different and a little eccentric, but each one has a specific role to fill. Each one has special talents, training, and abilities that will make this heist of the century possible. This principle will carry over into the New Testament church as Paul uses the human body as an illustration of the church - each member though different has its own function to serve. Jesus gets organized.

Jesus is off and running. He's focused, he's observant, and he's organized.

Game on!

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