Friday, October 25, 2013

The Five Pronged Plan (Luke 4:18)

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor...  (Luke 4:18 NASB)

The mission statement of Christ is so important that we are likely to spend several days here. Matthew Henry was a late 1600's theologian whose commentary on the entire Bible is still used today. He says about this first action out of the wilderness:"having defended himself against the devil’s assaults, he now begins to act offensively, and to make those attacks upon him, by his preaching and miracles, which he could not resist or repel." Jesus had defended himself successfully but the battle is not won with defense along. Defeating an enemy requires a strong and effective offense as well. 

We see here the offensive plan begin to unfold. What a plan is it! Jesus has come with an unlimited measure of the Holy Spirit (John 3:34) and has a five-pronged plan of attack. The first prong is to preach the gospel to the poor.  It is not likely Jesus meant only the poor in money. He is also poor who has mountains of money but is estranged from our Lord. Poverty of spirit involves not only meekness and humility, but also a repentant heart. 

Jesus came for sinners, of which I am chief. It's what the apostle Paul said, and it is true of me. It's probably true of you, too, isn't it? While we are still reveling in sin, we may be in pitiful shape spiritually, but that is not the same as being repentant. Jesus came to preach the gospel to the poor in spirit, but it requires recognition of the need for a Savior to actually accept Him. 

Today, we are acknowledging our own poverty of spirit and praying that God will bring such conviction upon our children and loved ones that the season of pleasure in sin and estrangement from Him would come to an end, replaced by poverty of spirit, and that true repentance leading to the transformation only Christ can bring will come.