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Luke 4

Father, thank You for Jesus and the life I have in Him!

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Jesus, this time of tempting HAD to come in Your life, didn’t it?  By this means, You identified with me as a human.  You’ve been tempted in every way, like I am (Hebrews 4:15).

The same tactics used by Satan against You are the ones he tries with me.  He claims that the way forward to what’s best is along the path of shortcuts.  He tries to gain my allegiance through promises of meeting my physical needs and desires, of granting possessions and power, and of boosting my pride to high elevations.  But a quick-fix isn’t usually in line with the way YOU do things, Lord.  You move at just the right time in just the right way to bring about Your wondrous results according to Your will.

The strategy You used defeated Satan in this battle with temptation can be effective for me as well.  You remained ALERT, paying attention to his ploys.  You skillfully used SCRIPTURE to counter his false notions about gaining Your worship.  You relied on the SPIRIT through the trial.  Thanks for Your example, Jesus!  Keep on strengthening me in my knowledge of Your Word, my obedience to it, and my proclamation of it.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (v 18-19 NIV from Isaiah 61:2-3, 7 NIV)

At the time Your prophet, Isaiah, penned this text, he pictured the deliverance of Israel from their exile in Babylon.  This deliverance was heralded as a “Year of Jubilee,” when every debt is canceled, every slave is set free, and all property is returned to the original owners (see Leviticus 25).  When the Israelites were released from Babylonian captivity, they didn’t find the fulfillment they had anticipated, because they were expecting something more.  Yet, they still had the Messiah to look forward to … IF they continued faithfully onward.

Most likely, Isaiah’s words were looking further down the human timeline, pointing to the Messiah You were going to send.  Jesus proclaimed that He was the One You were speaking of through Isaiah.  Your intent for freedom encompassed more than deliverance from physical exile and slavery.  You sent Jesus to free me in a way beyond my imagination.

Further along in the passage in Isaiah 61, where Jesus had been reading, it says,

“He has sent Me …to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion –to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.  … Instead of their shame My people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; … and everlasting joy will be theirs.” (Is. 61:2-3, 7 NIV).

What gifts You bring, Jesus, when You come to me!  Along with the gift of Your presence, You also bring comfort, provision, beauty, gladness, praise, righteousness, and Your grace and joy! Wow!  You bring all of who You are and clothe me with Yourself!  How long, O Lord, until it’s You that others see much more than me?  Amen.

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