He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
—Luke 4:21

There are three timeless truths about discipleship that emerge from Luke 4:14-30.

First, this passage reminds us that we need to imitate Jesus’s spiritual disciplines. Any athlete knows that his success in an athletic contest depends on his preparation. If you are going to be part of an athletic contest but decide to wait until the game starts to try to summon the energy to perform well, you are going to fail. It’s what you have done before the contest that determines whether you will succeed or fail. And it is the same way in our spiritual lives. If we wait until we are under pressure to forgive someone or to say no to temptation, then when that moment of testing comes we are going to fail. The time to be successful is before the test comes. The hours Jesus spent in prayer, in memorizing and meditating on Scripture, and in worship on a regular basis gave Him the spiritual strength He needed in times of testing. If we are going to experience the kind of victory that Jesus experienced, then we need to imitate His spiritual disciplines.

Second, as Christ’s disciples we are to emulate Jesus’s courage. A person’s measure of courage is what it takes to stop that person. What does it take to stop you? What would it take to make you stop dead in your tracks in your relationship with God? For many of us, it is criticism. If anybody begins to criticize what we are doing, that is enough to stop us and turn us around to go another way. If you try to live for Jesus Christ, then mark it down: you are going to be criticized. But to be a disciple of Christ means you don’t live your life to please other people; you live it to please God. You keep on moving just like Jesus did despite what other people think.

Third, this passage reminds us that we are to articulate Jesus’s message. If we are His disciples, then we have been called to carry forth the same message that Jesus announced. Jesus began His ministry by saying, “This is the favorable year of the Lord.” Now, 2,000 years later, we are still living in that favorable year of the Lord. We have been called to continue that message. But that period will not always be in effect, because as Isaiah said, the favorable year of the Lord is going to be followed by the day of vengeance of our God. There is a day coming when Messiah will return to reclaim the earth for Himself, to reward the righteous, and to judge the wicked. There is going to be a time when God says, “Now the day of judgment has come.” When is that day of vengeance coming? I have no idea. But one thing I do know is this: that day of vengeance is 2,000 years closer than it was when Jesus was on earth.

We are living in a day of unprecedented evil. But we are also living in a day of unprecedented opportunity. You will likely experience criticism and opposition as you share the gospel. But that doesn’t matter, because you are simply doing what God has asked you to do: to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, before the inevitable day of vengeance of our God.

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

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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