Luke 4:16-19 may be my favorite passage in the entire Bible. It is certainly a key text in Luke, and, I would argue, a key text for understanding Scripture.
In it, Jesus explains His mission. He explains what He intends to do in His ministry. If you and I are followers of Jesus, we need to soak our lives in these verses so we can follow these same principles.
Many churches, Christians, and religious leaders “spiritualize” these verses so that they only deal with realities of the Spirit and the afterlife. I believe this is wrong. Jesus was not concerned only with the spiritual side of people, and neither should we. While He did help meet the deep spiritual needs of people, He was also concerned with their physical, psychological, and emotional needs. Luke 4:16-19 deals with all of these.
If we are His followers, we will focus on such things as well.
But it doesn’t mean you have to do exactly the same things Jesus did in exactly the same way. He performed supernatural miracles, whereas, we may perform the same miracles, but through science or technology. We can work to accomplish the same things Jesus accomplished – healing the sick, setting captives free, giving sight to the blind, giving liberty to the captives – but using different methods.
Most Christians are quite uncreative when it comes to “living as Jesus lived.” We see him feed 5000 people and so if we want to “follow Jesus” we think that we have to get five loaves and two fishes, and pray over them until a miracle happens. But that’s not true at all. We can still feed 5000 people, or 50,000, or 500,000 people, simply by living less selfish lives, and being more generous with our money.
For example, let’s say you spend $5 per day on Starbucks coffee and $2 for a scone. Right there you have your five loaves and two fish.
That $7 a day doesn’t seem like much. But over a work week, it comes to $35. Through an organization like Compassion International, you can feed and teach a child in a third world country for $35 per month. So with the money you save, you could give three meals a day (and a biblical education) to four children every month. Over the course of just one year, that is 4320 meals. Jesus fed 5000 people, and we call it a miracle. Each one of us can do almost the same miracle every year for the rest of our lives, simply by giving up our five loaves and two fish (coffee and a danish).
This is just one example. With a little bit of creative thinking and self-sacrifice, we could come up with similar miracles in health, finances, and education. We can accomplish the same things as Jesus did, or even greater things (John 14:12)!
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