Life's most persistent question is, "What are you doing for others?" – Martin Luther King Jr.
When Jesus is living through us, our lives look a lot like His.
I was reading in the book of Acts when I noticed Paul visited a village and entered the synagogue – “as was his custom” (Acts 17:2).
I recognized this phrase from the Gospel of Luke: Jesus returned … in the power of the Spirit ... and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom (Luke 4:14, 16).
How did this happen? How did Jesus’ custom become Paul’s custom?
In the power of the Spirit …
From the point of Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit has been with Him at all times:
- The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus. (3:22)
- Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. (4:1)
- Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. (4:14)
- And he read, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me … ” (4:18)
This same Spirit that empowered and led Jesus during His years of earthly ministry also indwells us as His followers. As a result, when Jesus is living through us, our lives look a lot like His. We are His instruments.
But an instrument for what, exactly?
That day when Jesus returned to His hometown synagogue, He read from the scroll of Isaiah. And the words He read spelled out His secondary calling. Jesus listed five things He intends to accomplish through the Spirit (Luke 4:18-19):
- Proclaim good news to the poor
- Proclaim freedom for the prisoners
- Recover sight for the blind
- Set the oppressed free
- Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
He lists five different things, but they all have one common tune: Help the helpless. Jesus’ secondary purpose as the Son of God is to help helpless people. And because He lives in us, that’s our secondary calling too.
Spirit of the Living God, strengthen me in the areas of my life where I’ve been helpless, so I can stand and join in the ministry of Your Kingdom. What excites You, excites me; and I can’t wait to see what’s next. I might not always know who is helpless or how to help them; but I have Your Spirit, and I’m surrendering to a life that looks like Yours. Amen.
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