Readings: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-10, I Corinthians 12:12-20, 26-27, Luke 4:16-30

Wrestling with the Word

Today’s Gospel reading from Luke engaged my mind in a wrestling match. Right after His temptation, Jesus “returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit…He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised Him.” Then He went to his own town of Nazareth, where they initially spoke well of Him, then became irate and attempted to kill Him. The footnote in The Lutheran Study Bible says, “Our lives typically include a similar mixture of successes and rejections. That is why we do well to focus more on the end of the Gospel story, for there we see resurrection, God’s greatest victory over sin and the devil, and the revelation of His grace and mercy for us.” Focus on the end of the story? The popular thing today is live in the moment, focus on now, pay attention to the present. And that’s Biblical – don’t be anxious about tomorrow, don’t hang on to forgiven sins of the past. Is it focus on our eternal hope or focus on today? It has to be some balance of both, right? Millions of people smarter than I have tried to speak to this odd mixture of looking ahead but immersing in the present. King Solomon said, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” The Lord God says in Revelation 1, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” The Word says we can’t fathom that, yet we try, looking to Jesus and how He lived. He loved, touched, taught, healed, restored, challenged, forgave, saved. Jesus always had eternity in mind, but He lived in each moment, be it victorious or heart-breaking. He must have had joy and purpose in the moment and a clear eye to the cross, with holy focus on eternity. Let’s be bold and ask Jesus for a little of His perspective. Joy and purpose in the moment, a clear eye on the cross, a holy clinging to the promise of eternity. That can change our day. That can change eternity. For His glory, Tracy