Calm in the storm.
I absolutely love how this verse begins. “On one of those days,…”
Ever have one of those days? Of course you have. We all have. You may very well be having one of them today. Jesus seemed to have a few of them himself.
Pharisees and teachers from all over were sitting, listening to Jesus. They had come from several towns, including Jerusalem. This fact informs us that there were several opinions in the room that day. Some of which were opposed to Jesus and His message.
As we will discover this account is the first of five incidents of controversy Luke tells us of. Jesus is facing a bit of a rough ride.
I have no way of confirming this, but human nature tells me that as Jesus is speaking, other teachers were outlining their responses and criticisms of all he was saying. To say he was outnumbered would be a gross understatement.
However, in the midst of surrounding opposition, Jesus remains focused on the mission and able to maintain his composure. We see this in the second half of verse 17.
“And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.”
His mission remained the cornerstone of each and every conversation and period of testing. Though surrounded by people who resisted him, he boldly moved forward with the task at hand.
You’ll also note that he continued to stay sensitive to what was going on. Jesus understood the power to heal was with him. He didn’t allow the crowd to diminish his ability to fulfill his mission.
Allow me to sum it up. Jesus was moved by compassion for the man he was about to heal, rather than the crowd around him. He was focused on the needs of the one over the opinions of the many.
How can we learn to stay in tune with what God is doing when the crowd says otherwise?
How do you react to opposition in your life?
The power of words.
Before Luke records the first of Jesus’ miracles he draws our attention to the authority of Jesus. As Jesus speaks the man with the unclean spirit is confronted with this authority. Jesus commands the demon to depart and the man is set free.
Do your words as a leader bring freedom to others? Do we fancy ourselves more with catchy phrases, one-liners, or echoes from others or do we aim to speak words of freedom?
Our words have immeasurable power. One word spoken can alter the future of someone. We are cautioned to speak less and listen more (James 1.19). It’s in our listening that the words we eventually speak do so with more authority.
This is the first miracle Luke records and it has to do with Jesus’ authority. From here we see Luke record in verse 37 that reports about Christ travelled into the surrounding region. In other words our words go before us.
Our reputation precedes our arrival.
Most of the time our reputation is explained through others by the words we speak. People will quote you as a leader. We do well to guard the words we speak about others.
Be known more for the words of compassion you speak than the words of criticism. Criticism never built a relationship or ushered in a vision.
Allow me to challenge you to spend the next week focusing on speaking less and listening more.
Be known more as a person who encourages other than someone who degrades.
If we can’t lead our homes we can’t lead the masses. Following a period of temptation and with a message to deliver to the people, Jesus returns home to Nazareth. Your leadership and vision begin at home.
Lead at home.
As dysfunctional as religion was in his days he continues to make his way to the synagogue on the Sabbath. Rather than speak against it, he sets out to make a difference (verse 16). Again we are led to understand that Jesus’ vision is to work to make things right rather than sit on the sideline to criticize and condemn.
Lead with conviction, courtesy, confidence and compassion.
Verse 17 tells us the scroll was handed to Jesus. As leaders we would well to remember that it is God who hands us vision and authority. Jesus didn’t come in demanding anything. He came in as was his custom. In other words he had come in several times before and not asked to read or speak. Jesus understood the need for discipline and humility.
There is leadership in silence and discipline.
It is in this moment that he shares his mission. Once again we see that his entire aim is to use his life to bring hope to others. This is the purpose of a leader’s life. He was out to love, serve and bring life to others.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
In what ways are you leading your home?
How are you embarking on a journey of discipline?
How is this opening doors for you to lead?
Leaders know how to take an obscure vision and make it practical and attainable.
Immediately following John’s words to bring fruit in keeping with repentance, the crowd asks, “What then shall we do?” I love John’s response.
Share with others. Don’t take more than is yours. Don’t threaten anyone.
Three simple things. Practical and attainable.
Note that John addresses the entire crowd in his delivery. He tells the everyday person to share a tunic. He charges the tax collectors to only take what is rightfully theirs. He commands the soldiers with do not extort money from others. In other words he breaks down the vision for each person. He makes it real for them.
As leaders, we can have incredible vision but the real question is whether the vision will reach all people. Can everyone be included in the vision? Are the first steps attainable? As a leader, do you know how to include, involve and initiate change?
Finally, allow me to draw your attention to the motive behind vision. Compassion.
If our vision is not about helping others, it’s a vision about us. Selfish.
How are you including others in your vision?
How can you make your purpose wrap its arms around compassion?
Special Thanks for this Guest Post by my good friend, Tim Moen.
I was walking out to the car at our hotel parking lot. As I stepped off the curb this guy came diving in very recklessly and fast. As I stepped off the curb he slammed on his breaks, quickly backed up and started forward again He then almost hit a car coming around the corner. Finally into a parking space. I stopped and was just watching him.
He hurriedly got out of the car, all disheveled, and grabbing his brief case. I was feeling irritated because of my perception of reckless driving. We made eye contact and I calmly asked him if he was okay. (Honestly, I thought he was late for work or something). As he RAN to the hotel door he responded back, “My dad just passed away!”
I am notorious for judging what I think to be the irresponsible actions of others. It’s like I have this justice mechanism built into me. However, at that moment my whole perspective of this young, crazy, irresponsible driver changed. I was filled with sympathy, compassion, and understanding. I prayed for him and his family and placed a short note on his car.
It got me thinking about how many times my judgment and justice mode has kicked in over the years. If we only knew what was really going on in the lives of others!
Sure there are crazy idiots out there! We all know that to be true. However, today God reminded me that not everyone fits into that category. Most are people just like you and me, who are trying desperately to handle the issues of life the best they can.
Let’s not be so quick to judge. Rather let’s be “Quick to listen and slow to speak.” It will help us to have a greater understanding and love for people! It also helps us to live a life at peace, in a world that is far from it.