From: Rebecca Lefroy
If this passage from Luke 4 were part of a superhero movie, it would definitely be one of my all-time favourite bits: the great montage. A strong bass and catchy melody would accompany Jesus’ mighty acts described here, possibly performed in slow-mo: first the inspirational teaching to a crowd of fans, then the driving out of demons, the healing of a friend’s mother-in-law, even more healings followed by more demon-defeatings. And then the music fades away as Jesus removes himself to the quiet. The message is pretty clear: Jesus has power and authority unlike any other. In fact, the demons are even recognizing who he is, declaring him to be “the Holy One of God” and the “Son of God”.
And like a superhero movie, Jesus has a clear and urgent mission: “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” There’s no messing about; Jesus has a clear mission and he’s urgently and wholeheartedly committed to it. But, unlike a superhero who relies on his/her own strength or quick thinking to get on with their mission, it’s clear from Luke’s writing that Jesus is acting in total dependence on another: his heavenly Father. Luke writes that Jesus “went into a desolate place” and, based on other moments in Luke (5:16 and 9:18 to name just two), we can infer that he went there to pray. And this is really quite striking. Jesus, the ultimate hero, who has just displayed through mighty acts and teaching his great authority, and who has a clear and urgent mission, takes time to honour his total dependence on his father.
One of the greatest privileges about being adopted into the family of God, and having Jesus as our older brother, is that we get to play a part in God’s mission. So, at the end of Matthew, we are given the great commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Like Jesus, we need to be urgent about this mission, a challenge in and of itself. And if Jesus knew his dependence on his Father for this task, how much more do we need to? We live in a world that tells us we can succeed if we just try harder. How wonderfully countercultural and freeing, then, to know that, as Christians, we can follow the example of the world’s greatest hero as we rely totally and completely on our loving, heavenly Father. Let’s be a community that reminds each other of this truth.
I moved with my husband, Ben, from Cambridge, UK to Cambridge, MA in April. Some of our favourite things about New England so far are: the fact that going to a sports game involves so much more than just watching sports; the Fall leaves; how people eat ice cream even when it’s freezing outside; and the Minuteman bike trail!