We rest with God in solitude. Luke 4:31-44.
Solitude is without people, without devices, with self, and with God. Where do you find solitude?
Jesus leaves Nazareth and travels to Capernaum, where he continues the pattern of teaching in the local synagogue. Jesus’ power and authority are repeatedly noted. His popularity and his ministry must take a significant physical, emotional, and spiritual toll.
Jesus rises early and travels to a solitary place. This is the emotional and physical space to reflect on what God is doing in his ministry and to anticipate and prepare for what God will do in the coming days. Too soon, the village people find him and want more of the teaching, sharing and healing that Jesus offers. Jesus is finding the rest that he needs in the midst of a busy and demanding schedule.
Questions to ponder:
-How would you define solitude? How is it different than loneliness?
- Imagine Jesus in a place of solitude. What thoughts went through his mind? What are the similarities to your thoughts?
-Talk about solitude as a place. Consider solitude as a state of mind. How did this work for Jesus? How does it work for you?
-How does solitude provide rest for Jesus? For you?
Success is being faithful to God's call.
In our Luke passage this week, Jesus begins his public ministry, after a time of prayer, solitude, and temptation. Jesus moves from the sheltered life of a carpenter to a public ministry, moving from town to town. Jesus is well received and appears to become the talk of the town; he is the new thing that everyone wants to be part of.
Yet in Jesus’ home town of Nazareth the success turns to failure. Jesus used the prophet Isaiah's words to challenge the town folk, the good religious Jews. They don't like what he says and force Jesus to a cliff where his life and ministry are questioned. But Jesus, faithful to God’s call on his life, walks through the crowd and continues with his ministry.
Questions to ponder:
- Talk about a failure in your life and what you did with it.
- Why did Chicago Cubs fans stay with a failing team for 108 years?
- Where are you called to be faithful in your life?
- In what areas could you risk more (even fail) to invite God’s presence and power?
What is your spiritual state of the union?
Paul is talking about the Armor of God. We need the full armor of God to combat the schemes of the Devil and the dark forces of evil. What are we doing to maintain and keep that armor polished and clean? Why is it important to have the full armor of God?
In a "state of the union" address, a president goes through the different areas of a country and gives summary of the current state of those areas. How do they look now and what will they look like in the future? What would it look like if we did the same to our spiritual lives? How does your prayer life look? What about your study of Scripture?