Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.
—Luke 4:14-15

One Sunday, back when Sonny Jurgensen was quarterback for the Washington Redskins, he was having a particularly bad game. After the game, reporters pounced on him for all the mistakes he made. A reporter who was somewhat sympathetic with Sonny asked, “Don’t you ever get tired of all of this criticism?” Sonny smiled and responded, “I’ve been in this game long enough to know that every week the quarterback is either in the penthouse or in the outhouse!”

That observation applies not only to the world of sports but also to the world of ministry. Every pastor hopefully learns sooner or later not to take too seriously either the glowing compliments or the scathing criticism of his congregation–because either can change in an instant. Jesus learned that truth during His earthly ministry. He experienced the fickleness of human opinion.

Think about the last week of Jesus’s ministry on earth. On Monday when He entered Jerusalem, the crowd was shouting, “Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9). By Friday, that very same crowd was yelling, “Crucify Him!” (Matthew 27:22).

Jesus also experienced that same shift in public opinion earlier in His ministry, as we are going to see this week. But Jesus refused to allow criticism or public opinion to determine what He was going to do. Jesus was not a people pleaser; He was a God pleaser. He lived His life for an audience of One. And as those who claim to be disciples of Christ, we are called to do the very same thing. We have been called to imitate the courage of Jesus and to articulate the message of Jesus, regardless of what other people think.

In our continuing study of the gospel of Luke this week, we will discover what happened on the day that Jesus came to church. In Luke 4, we are at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry. Jesus had just finished being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. God uses difficult experiences in our lives to test us, but Satan uses those very same experiences to tempt us. A difficult experience can be both a test and a temptation in your life. God uses it as a test in order to strengthen you; Satan uses it as a temptation in order to destroy you. Well, Jesus passed those tests and temptations with flying colors. Luke 4:13 says, “When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.” The devil would be back–in fact, he was about to come back, not in the form of a demon but in the form of a religious congregation.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Day Jesus Came to Church” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2004.

Sonny Jurgensen, quoted in Charles R. Swindoll, “Dropping Your Guard” (Dallas: Word, 1983), 35-36.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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