Living in the Kingdom

In my ladies’ life group we are journeying reflectively through the Book of Luke together. We are only in chapter four and it has proven to be a vast , expansive, and rich narrative of God’s story. (The story of Simeon in chapter three still impacts me as a powerful description of a with-God life.) Chapter four, itself, contains enough fodder for reflection for weeks on end.  While the temptations of Jesus is contained in these chapter, my focus landed on verses 18-19.  (For insight on the temptations (Luke 4:1-13)  from a leadership perspective, see Henri Nouwen’s short book, In the Name of Jesus.)

This is where Jesus stands up in the synagogue (having just returned from the 40 day fast and temptation in the wilderness) and deliberately locates and reads from Isaiah 61:1,2:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and

Recovery of sight for the blind,

To release the oppressed,

To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (4:18, 19)

After he sat down he concluded, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (4:21) Here in these two verses Jesus describes his mission…why he came.

As followers of Jesus this is our mandate as well. This is our mission in the kingdom.  Notice the verbs…anointed, preach, proclaim, release…I believe these missional acts are both literal and figurative. The Spirit of Christ is alive and active in us to help us bring good news to the poor…on the streets of L.A. and to the spiritually destitute; to proclaim freedom for all who are in bondage of body in India and in bondage of soul; to offer healing for blind eyes and blind hearts; to invite all who are beaten down to a place of abundant living.  

This is the mission of God.  The incredible thing is this: he invites us to participate with him on his kingdom mission and he’s given us his Spirit to do it through us.  We can’t do this in our own strength or through clever programs.  We are not smart enough, talented enough or obedient enough and how that looks will be different for each one of us. As we pay attention, however, to the movement of Christ’s Spirit at work in us, and live surrendered to his will and ways, our steps become ordered and our lives become vessels of living water to a thirty world.

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