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What If? The Blog

The Headliner Takes the Stage

Hunter Johnston

Today’s Reading:  Luke 3-4 

I’m full of amped enthusiasm (coupled with exhaustion) just reading the action in today’s passages that come from the third and fourth chapters of Luke.  John’s precursor performance to Jesus’ entrance reminds me a bit of Pearl Jam opening for the Rolling Stones back in 1998; an incredible show, only to be outdone by a complete legend! 

In chapter three (also known as our “opening act”), John receives a message from God himself, sending him out into the region to proclaim God’s forgiveness.  What’s the tune John is singing?  “God is a forgiving and loving God, but you people had better do something to show you’ve turned yourself around!” His message was so inspiring that people were wondering if perhaps John could be the Messiah.   John was quick to point out that the “headliner” was still to come.  A legend so remarkable that He could baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire! 

Don’t make the mistake and leave this concert during intermission, between chapters three and four, right as the “headliner” takes center-stage.  Full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus heads straight into the wilderness, where the devil puts him through the grind for forty straight days.  All the while, Jesus doesn’t eat.  The devil tries various ways to defeat Jesus, all unsuccessful.  This rock-star of ours is pretty tough!

When Jesus returns to Galilee from the wilderness, he is primed and ready to play a few #1 hits that we all know to be Jesus’.  Jesus teaches in his hometown synagogues in Nazareth and the crowds love him there.  Until he picks a fight, by saying that no prophet is accepted “in his own country”.   That makes the crowd furious; we all know everyone roots for the hometown hero.  Jesus escapes their rage, by performing a miraculous exit, right before their eyes. 

Jesus heads to Capernaum to continue his teaching.   There he comes across a demon-possessed man and the scene really starts to heat up.  He begins healing the sick and exorcising demons.  It’s really incredible and the crowd goes wild.  Afterwards, he’s so exhausted that Jesus seeks seclusion, but they manage to find him.  The crowd wants an encore performance; they want more!  Jesus turns them down, as it’s his job to spread the Good News in other places.    Jesus has got some pretty big gigs coming up on this tour, so stay tuned….  

Today’s thoughts and questions:

What personal changes can you make in your own life, in return for God’s incredible gift of forgiveness?

Consider how a spiritual practice such as fasting can help shape your spiritual walk.

Can you recall a time where Christ has called you to leave a place of spiritual glory, to spread His word somewhere else?

Okay, put your Bible down and go do it!

by Hunter Johnston

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