Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Battle Plan of Jesus: Fighting with Love

I started November with a plan to write about something for which I was thankful every day. The turmoil of the election derailed that plan. It has felt as if  we are in a battle of anger and words. 

Today, I'm turning my attention away from the Great Divide and toward the battle plan of God. Admittedly, it's not a typical battle plan, but it's no less effective for it's unusual nature. We'd do well to adopt the strategy for our own.

Jesus was in Capernaum, just starting out his public ministry. He had been invited to read from the Scriptures. The book of Isaiah was handed to Him, and He chose to read from Isaiah 61. The passage was His mission statement, He told the listeners. It was the reason He came.

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

Matthew Henry, a late 1600's theologian, wrote: "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 defended himself successfully against the devil's temptations, but a battle is not won with defense alone. Defeating an enemy requires a strong and effective offense as well. 

In this passage, we see Jesus' offensive plan against the kingdom of darkness begin to unfold. His five-pronged approach was one of the most unlikely offenses imaginable.

The first prong was to preach the gospel to the poor.  It's not likely Jesus meant only the poor in money. He is also poor who has mountains of money but is estranged from our Lord. Jesus came for those who are poor spiritually, as well as those who are financially poor.

Jesus came to release those held captive to sin, held in bondage from poor choices and the power of evil. He offered freedom for all those who would accept Him as Savior. 

In order to accept that freedom, a recognition of the need for a Savior must come first, so Jesus included an attack against spiritual blindness in His battle plan. 

Jesus came for sinners, of which I am chief. It's what the apostle Paul said, and it's true of me. If we're honest, it's true of all of us. 

Today, let's turn our eyes away from the turmoil, away from the Great Divide, and toward our Savior. Ask Him for the sight to see our own hearts as He sees them, then allow Him to make whatever changes are necessary. 

If we're going to fight, let fight as Jesus did, who chose love as His weapon and freedom from sin as His objective. He out-loved His enemy, and we should, too.
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: If We Know Better, We Should Do Better
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photo above is sunrise over the Sea of Galilee
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