Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Luke 4: Spirit's Anointing for Kingdom Work

Luke 4:14-19 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. 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. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, "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, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Luke 4:31-37 And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, "Ha!  What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are— the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, "What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!" And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

Luke 4:40-44 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ. And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose."  And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.  

The Holy Spirit was given for the primary purpose empowering the Church to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God to rescue the captives in the kingdom of darkness. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is key to releasing this power of the Gospel to set the devil's captives free, to open blind eyes, and to deliver those who have been oppressed by sinful addictions and to proclaim God's favour is upon all people: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests" (Luke 2:14).

Jesus himself explained the purpose of the Spirit's anointing thus: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach good news (Gospel) to the poor" (Luke 4:18). And when the townfolks in Capernaum tried to detain him, he told them plainly: "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose." ("Luke 4:43-44). In fact, we were told that after Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he returned to Galilee "in the power of the Spirit" (Luke 4:14).

From that point onward, Jesus' ministry was focused on delivering the demonized and healing the diseased. In a synagogue in Capernaum, he encountered a man with a demon who recognized him as "the Holy One of God." Jesus then rebuked the demon and commanded it to come out of that man. Next we read that he was at Peter's mother-in-law's home who was suffering from a  high fever. He rebuked the fever and it left her. Finally, when evening came, more diseased and demonized people came to him. He healed the sick and drove out the evil spirits.

The Holy Spirit is given to believers to open blind eyes and set captives free. If we want to be continually filled with the Spirit to overflowing, we have to be engaged in the ministry against the kingdom of darkness, for it was for this purpose the Spirit was given to the Church. I suspect many churches are losing the anointing and power of the Spirit because they have focused only on soul-care for people already members of the Kingdom of God instead of engaging in soul-winning to seek and save people out of the kingdom of darkness.

The Holy Spirit is not given just for our own self-edification but for evangelism.

Father, help us fulfil the purpose for which You have given us Your Spirit, viz., to seek and save the lost. Amen.

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