Lenten Week 7: The One Thing That Never Changes

Written by: Tedd Smith

Tedd Smith is the Assistant Director of Development at the Set Free Movement. Before joining SFM he was the Lead Pastor at Grace Ridge Church in Honesdale, Pennsylvania for 17 years. Following divine invitation from the Lord, he joined SFM’s mission to end human trafficking around the world. 

Luke 4:1-22

18  “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19     to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Things change over time…seasons, cars, feelings…..even milk (have you tried oat milk yet?!) Shall I go on?

With all the change we endure in life, there’s one thing that never changes…Jesus’ Words!

Luke 4 records the very first steps of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Steps that would lead to a cross and culminate with His resurrection! His initial steps were into the wilderness to put Satan in his place (v. 1-13). 

 

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus reminded Satan of 3 things:

  • It’s not bread that brings true nourishment
  • We’re to worship and serve God alone
  • And, don’t ever test God!

 

From there, Jesus returned to Galilee, where great acclaim and popularity met him everywhere ( v. 14-15).

When He arrived at the town of his youth, Nazareth, things began great but ended not so great. Let’s look at the beginning when things were great (v. 16-22).

 

As Jesus read the prophetic words of Isaiah, the hometown crowd was riveted:

  • “The Spirit is on me”
  • “I am anointed for the Good News”
  • “I was sent to proclaim: captives will be released, the blind will see and the oppressed will be set free”
  • “This is the time of the Lord’s favor

 

All who were there were impressed with this handsome, articulate young man. They spoke highly of Him. But then quietly whispers of concern began…was he claiming Isaiah’s words for Himself? They no doubt wondered, “Wait, isn’t this Joseph’s snotty nose kid from down the way?”….and that’s where things went South!….and that’s where I want to stop.

Our focus today is: What Jesus said that day, over 2,000 years ago, remains true today! How many other things can we claim have remained true over that long of a period?!

In fact, Isaiah wrote those words some 800 years before that day, prophetically pointing to Jesus.

 

As everything around us changes with time, be reminded today that Jesus’ words never change!

Jesus’ words here are of deep motivation for the Set Free Movement.

  • Captives released
  • The oppressed set free  
  • It’s good news that ultimately creates new futures

Yet that can only happen because of what else he says: The Spirit is active and this is the time of the Lord’s favor. 

I love Eugene Petersen’s paraphrase of verse 19: “sent me to announce, ‘This is God’s year to act!’ Know that you can count on His words. His truth is STILL CHANGING lives today!”

Take a moment to be still with the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit to center you on something Jesus said during his first earthly ministry steps and what that means for you today.

 

Prayer:

Jesus, you are the same yesterday, today and forever. What you said then, still rings true today. Shape me so that your power can flow through me to the vulnerable and oppressed in my path today. Amen.

 

Reflection Questions:

  1. What word or phrase of Jesus stood out to you from this passage?
  2. Why do you think the Holy Spirit impressed that word or phrase on you? What adjustment do you need to make?
  3. What could happen in the lives of captives and oppressed persons around you if you truly lived like- “This is God’s year to act?”

How can we respond this season of Lent? 

  • Give and pray for the Ukraine relief efforts: 

Our team in Hungary is on the front lines working directly with refugees and at-risk peoples. Pray for and consider supporting relief efforts for the people of Ukraine by giving today. 100% of donations will go directly to helping those in need.

  • Give instead of Giving Up: 

What if instead of giving something up for lent you gave something. What if you gave just $2 a day through the season of lent to help expand the work in Kenya to help keep girls in school through the Wunders program? You can invest here today. 

mm
Author:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *