Today’s Scripture – July 11, 2017

Luke 4:14-15 (NIV) Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

Jesus had received the Holy Spirit at His baptism (Luke 3:22), but now that He had passed His time of testing and started on His public ministry, the power of the Spirit was fully turned loose in His life. He headed back north to the region of Galilee and began to teach in the synagogues, and to heal and cast out demons (Mark 1:21-34 in light of Luke 4:23).

Notice, though, that the power of the Holy Spirit was just as evident in His teachings as it was in His miracles. May people look to the Holy Spirit today for “signs and wonders,” and He definitely does enable those. But the Holy Spirit also bestowed on Jesus wisdom and spiritual depth of understanding, as well as a divine ability to communicate God’s truth to people in ways that powerfully impacted their souls. And the people were fascinated by the things that He was showing them.

Jesus would eventually head back to Nazareth, His hometown, and to the people among whom He had grown up. But the clock had already started ticking down the days to the cross, and there were so many people who needed the good news that He preached in synagogues all over, wherever He was, demonstrating the reality of God’s kingdom in towns and villages all over Galilee and beyond. And the people were eating it up!

Those who hung out with Jesus and followed Him soon realized that He was more focused and more driven than anyone they had ever met. He was focused on one thing: the kingdom of God. If you sat with Him, You would hear about God’s kingdom. If you walked with Him on the way, the topic of discussion would always be God’s kingdom. And even as he did mighty miracles, He continually pointed to those miracles as signs that God’s kingdom was even then bursting in on the world.

Father, I get so easily distracted. I am afraid that I am  not much like Jesus in His focus on the one vital thing: Your kingdom and what Jesus has done to not only make it a reality in the world today, to make a way into Your kingdom for every man, woman, and child in the world. How much different my life would be if I would simply stay focused on that one thing with every fiber of my being. How much different the whole world would be! Amen.

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