The Temptation of Success

The Temptation of Success

Daily Reading: (Luke 4:42-44): “Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them;but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.”

Before Jesus’ Galilean ministry started (Luke 4:14) Satan first tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). Now Jesus would be tempted in different ways through rejection in his hometown (Luke 4:28-29) and then success in the crowd’s desire for Him to stay (Luke 4:42). It was Jesus’ communication with God the Father (Luke 4:42) as He retreated to a desert place that moved Him forward to the next place that God decreed.

Jesus is successful in not falling to the devil’s temptation unlike Adam in the Garden of Eden. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ, shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22). Jesus Christ is our success.

Our Lord Jesus showed us what to do when we are under attack by the devil. Against each attack, His response was to say, “It is written” (Matthew 4:1–11). Jesus used the Word of God.

The beauty of the simplicity of Luke 4:42 shows us that those who seek Jesus will find Him. Proverbs 8:17: those who seek me find me.” I love how the conditions the people were in (Luke 4:40) is what led the people to seek Jesus. Just as those who are sick will seek out a doctor, we are to seek the Great Physician for our healing. We all know people who seem to be down and out as they are experiencing the effect of sin which is sickness. May those who do not know God’s love or are in need of receiving more revelation of God’s love, may their situation led them to seek Jesus, and the promise is they will find Him. And this finding Christ is a work of God (John 12:32).

The crowds sought Jesus they came to Him and had a request “that he should not depart from them.” The reason I know this is not what God would have of Jesus is that the Greek word used is katechō which means to restrain, hinder (the course or progress of).

“And he said unto them, I must”- (dei)- necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.

How do I know when a good thing is not necessarily the right thing? When we seek God’s counsel we will know how to respond. 

#Saved to Serve

Daily Reading: (Luke 4:38-39 & Luke 5:4-7):

“Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.” “One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.”

Salvation is possible when we recognize someone is suffering and in need of salvation and we ask Jesus to help (Luke 4:38).

What is interesting is this story is in all three synoptic Gospels and they all say just about the same thing but there are some unique details to gain from each.

Matthew’s focus is on the touch of Jesus and the fever was gone (Matthew 8:14–15).

In Mark, Jesus took her hand and lifted her up and her fever was gone (Mark 1:29–31).

For Luke, Jesus bent over her and rebuked the fever- and it left her (Luke 4:38–41).

So, three accounts are all slightly different.

Who was right who was wrong? They were all right if you view this as a bunch of snapshots on a camera and place them together to make a movie. Jesus bent over her, rebuked the fever, touched her hand and lifted her up and the fever was gone (Matthew 8:14–15, Mark 1:29–31, Luke 4:38–41).

The other thing of note is what did Peter’s mother-in law do the moment she was healed. “She got up at once and began to wait on them.”

What do ministered to people do? They minister.  Do you know what the word minister means? Diakoneō: ministered/ serve. The title of today’s devotional is saved to serve. That’s what we see here- Peter’s mother-in-law was saved through healing –and then the first thing she does is serve or minister.  Don’t get me wrong- this isn’t a saved to slave. We are saved where we serve in the kingdom as beloved children of God. Servants who minister love, and joy, and peace.

Jesus was not merely teaching the Word of God as He sat in the boat (vv. 1, 3); He was showing something, by His actions and words, about how He means for his followers to win men to faith. By Jesus’ power and authority multitudes of people will be caught for eternal kingdom blessings by the followers of Jesus who teach the Word of God (Luke 5:1-3). People are caught like the fish when we take notice of their condition and we bring Jesus in to help and offer His salvation (the story of Peter’s mother-in-law).

The comparison is between trusting Christ to help you gather fish and trusting Christ to help you gather people. The gathering of people is for rest (Matthew 11:28-30) and joy (John 15:11) and eternal life (John 3:36).

Peter is not brimming with faith. “Master, we worked all night. We know fishing. You don’t. This place is fished out. Besides, we are exhausted. We were up all night.” Oh, how many are the excuses we find for not man-fishing. But isn’t it encouraging that the Lord provides the miracle despite the lack of strength on the part of the fishermen (Luke 5:5).