The One Year New Testament
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14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph's son?” 23 And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.
In these verses the gospel is described as good news for those afflicted and in need (the “poor”); it is new freedom and liberty for those in bondage and the oppressed; it is a restoration of sight to the blind (Luke 4:18–19); it is, in short, the time and place of God’s favor upon those incapable of gaining it by their status or abilities.
At the final resurrection, Jesus will bring complete restoration to our bodies and souls, ending all suffering once and for all. In the meantime, however, our restoration is already underway. Those who have been humbled by their sin, have recognized their helplessness, and have turned to receive the grace of Jesus are already experiencing liberty (v. 18), clarity (v. 18), and favor (v. 19). Because of the work of Christ, a new creation is already blooming within us (2 Cor. 5:17)!
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
In the Old Testament the temple was the physical representation of God’s presence. The sacrifices, the rituals, the festivals—these all took place at the temple because God dwelt there. God lived among his people and met with them through the temple to demonstrate his deep care for them. In this passage Paul makes the staggering claim that the church is now the Holy Spirit’s home and the temple of God (vv. 20–22; cf. 2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Pet. 2:5).
Temple imagery stretches from Genesis through Revelation—from Eden (the first place of God’s presence) to Jesus himself (John 2:19–21), and finally to the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:16). What a tremendous privilege that we who have the Spirit of Christ are considered the temple of God. When we live in light of this privilege it will lead to joy, gratitude, confidence, and holy living as God’s holy people.
2 Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,
when I cry to you for help,
when I lift up my hands
toward your most holy sanctuary.
Thoughts For Prayer
The gospel tells us that God loves to help those who cannot help themselves (Luke 4:18–19). Pray that the gospel would provide strength and encouragement for those in your life who are struggling with patterns of sin in their lives.
Missions Prayer Requests More
April 9, 2021
Supported Workers: Emily (& Blake) Ackerson
Country: United States of America
This month all the Bridges team leaders will gather for a virtual conference. Pray they would be deeply refreshed and encouraged by the Lord during this time as they lead on their respective campuses and faithfully connect with students during these challenging times. Blake has continued to connect with a former Chinese PhD student who became a believer right before returning home. He has found that it is very hard to follow Jesus in his home country. Pray that God would connect him with other believers there and give him the strength and courage to follow him. Pray that God will allow Blake’s team to build partnering relationships with churches who desire to reach international students with the gospel. Praise God for answering prayer for Emily’s recovery. She is experiencing significant improvement through specialized physical therapy.
The Gambia (Africa). Population: 2,227,413, Believers: 0.8%. Young people have flocked to Banjul (the capital) and are increasingly subject to Western culture at the expense of their traditional values. Pray that God would raise up a new generation of Christian young people who will lead their peers into a lifestyle of godliness.
From Operation World DVD-ROM 2010, www.operationworld.org
The One Year New Testament Copyright Tyndale House Publishers, used by Permission. NIV Bible copyright International Bible Society.