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Author Archives: Revzacc

About Revzacc

I pastor a church in Watertown, Massachusetts. I also enjoy traveling, hiking, and enjoying new places and experiences.

What Are You Trusting God For?

What Are You Trusting God For?

We’re continuing our walk through the Gospel of Luke. At this point, I’m posting about how Christ walked in the power of God. In my last one, I started talking about His time in the wilderness as He faced the devil.

It’s now the end of the Lord’s forty day fast. I can only imagine how the Lord was feeling at the end of this time. But at this point it’s over; He could eat now, according to the rules of fasting.

It’s interesting to see how the devil attacks Jesus. This is how most of our temptations are based. It will give us insight into how the enemy works against us as well.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Luke 4:3

Think about Jesus’ teaching. Specifically how He taught on prayer. In what we commonly call “The Lord’s Prayer,” He prayed, Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

This prayer is a Son praying to the Father. If you look closely at this line, it’s not a request. Jesus is assuming that daily bread is the right of a son. He doesn’t say that God promised it to Him. He simply lays claim to what He wants, knowing God’s provision for His sons.

That’s what life in the family is like. My children would ask, “What are we having for supper?” They didn’t ask if I was going to feed them. The assumption was that the food was theirs. I don’t see anything wrong with that type of thinking.

I believe that Satan based his attack upon this prayer. However, the enemy worded it in the form of a promise. He said, “If you are The Son of God…” He challenged Jesus to prove it by claiming the promise for daily provision. The sad thing is that we would have taken the bait, and we do regularly. Then we say that the Holy Spirit told us to do it.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.'”

Luke 4:4

Jesus’ response is clear. The fast was over. It was perfectly in order for Him to eat. But that wasn’t the issue. Jesus wasn’t there in the wilderness for the purpose of eating. He was there to hear from the Father.

In His answer to the enemy, Jesus quotes a verse from Deuteronomy.

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:3

There is so much truth to be found here. The reason for fasting was to humble Himself before the Father. Jesus caused Himself to be hungry in order to feed His spirit.

It’s also important to see that in the context of this verse, Israel’s hunger was relieved by a miraculous provision of bread. That’s what the enemy was trying to get Jesus to copy. But the Lord didn’t take the bait.

The reason for His time in the wilderness was to hear a Word from the mouth of the Father. Jesus wasn’t there simply for recreational purposes.

Jesus was telling Satan, “I didn’t come here for bread; I came to hear a Word from the Father.” If the Lord wanted to eat, He could have brought food.

This is a classic strategy that Satan uses over and over again. Sadly, we continue to fall victim to it. We can be tempted to “over-claim” the promises.

In America we already have too much stuff and we’re constantly “believing God” for more. It seems that Christians are always “trusting God” for bigger houses, better cars, and more toys. Then, we get discouraged when our “faith” doesn’t pay off.

I believe that it’s time for God’s people to grow up and act like mature sons and daughters of God – like Jesus.

Question: What should we be trusting God for?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Following Christ – But How Far?

Following Christ – But How Far?

I’ve been taking us through a study of the Gospel of Luke. In my last post we saw how Jesus Christ was driven to fulfill His calling before the Father. Now we’ll see the start of His earthly ministry.

In Luke 3:23-38, we see that Jesus has just turned thirty and was beginning His ministry. Luke then goes on to record the earthly ancestry of Christ all the way back to Adam.

Then, we’re shown the very start of all He accomplished.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert…
Luke 4:1

The first thing that we see is that the Lord Jesus allowed Himself to be led by the Spirit. He was brought to the wilderness where He was about to encounter His greatest enemy. That means that this meeting wasn’t an accident. This event was part of the strategy for victory over sin.

The victory that started here, in the wilderness, was carried on throughout the Lord’s lifetime.

You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached – how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
Acts 10:37-38

This was the theme throughout the ministry of Christ. Whoever sought help to escape the enemy’s grasp was set free by the Lord. The reason He could accomplish this is because His anointing was based upon the power of the Holy Spirit. By the way, this is the same Holy Spirit who now resides in us.

So, the big question is; why was He able to heal? Was it because of the Old Testament promises that spoke of healing? No, it was because God, the Holy Spirit, was with Him.

What we need to come to grips with is the fact that God wants to heal. He doesn’t want anyone bound by the power of the enemy.

So we can see clearly that Jesus’ power was from the Spirit, not from the law. It’s vitally important that we understand this truth. This is the key.

To aid in our realization of this we’ll look at the best example that the Gospel record gives us. We will go to the section of Scripture where the devil and Jesus have their first battle – in the wilderness.

I’m going to take my time in going through this section of Luke’s Gospel. It’s very important to us as it’s the foundation for living on the level that Jesus walked.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

Luke 4:1-2

When Jesus went into the wilderness His intention was to meet with the Father. His desire was to fast and pray for the ministry He was about to begin. In order to do this, Jesus fasted for forty days.

This brings up an interesting question. How important to us is walking in God’s power? How far are we willing to go to obtain it? Are we willing to do a long term fast? Spend time in the wilderness, away from all distractions, seeking God? In most cases I see believers who live for themselves and are simply “trusting God for a breakthrough.”

If we want to see the results of Christ, we need to walk His walk.

Question: How far are you willing to go to walk in the power of God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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A Christmas Eve Post

A Christmas Eve Post

Since today is Christmas Eve, I want to take a post to give a brief meditation. I believe that we need to go into these holidays with the right mindset.

Over the past few weeks, people have been frantically preparing for the “holidays”. Buying, cooking, cleaning, traveling, and a whole host of other activities. It’s no wonder that during this time of year see the most cases of depression.

In this season, we need to focus on what’s the most important. We need to be reminded of the events that took place over 2000 years ago.

To start, I want to take you back to the early 1800’s in Austria. It’s Christmas Eve, in the village of Oberndorf. A young priest named Joseph Mohr had a big problem.

Christmas Eve services always include singing. But, because of some recent flooding in the area, the church organ was broken and unable to be used.

Joseph decided that he needed a song that could be sung without an organ. He had a poem that he’d written a year before. Now he shows it to a friend named Franz Gruber.

Franz is able to put the poem to music for guitars.

That night, it was introduced to the church, sung by a male duet accompanied by guitars. Everyone loved it and was touched by the music. But, the story doesn’t end there.

The church was finally able to get their organ fixed. An organ specialist, named Karl Mauracher repaired the instrument. In the process, Joseph played the new song for him.

Needless to say, Karl loved it. As he went around repairing organs, he would share it with his customers. At one point it was heard by the Strasser family. They were traveling glove-makers, and singers.

They started singing it at fairs and it caught on with all who heard it. It has become one of the most beloved carols in the church. We know it as Silent Night. That just goes to show you that God doesn’t need Facebook, I-tunes, or YouTube for His things to go viral.

It was the same with the birth of Christ. Joseph and Mary had to travel many miles from home to arrive at the town of Bethlehem.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:6-7

Our Lord was born in a place with no luxuries. The King of the universe was brought into the world with no pomp or splendor.

Yet, His message of salvation, forgiveness and hope, has spread around the world.

As you go through this Christmas season, keep the true meaning of the holiday before you. Christ should be the center of all that we do.

Have a very blessed Christmas!

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2021 in Encouragement, Music, The Gospel

 

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Driven

Driven

We’re continuing our study through the Gospel of Luke. In the last few posts, we’ve talked about the ministry of John the Baptist. It’s at this point that Jesus Christ came on the scene.

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Luke 3:21-22

In the past, I’ve posted about the anointing of God on our lives. We receive God’s anointing when we’re chosen by God for a specific task. We’re then anointed to complete it.

What we see from Scripture is that the Spirit follows the anointing. At Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit came upon Him in power. That was His anointing for ministry.

At the same time there was a voice from heaven (The Father) confirming this calling. My question is; how did He get to this point? The answer will help me in my walk with God.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Luke 2:52

Wisdom is the application of what you’ve learned. Stature speaks of physical growth. The word favor is the grace of God. These are very important points for us to understand.

Have you ever thought about it in these terms before? Jesus had to grow in grace. But the key word is grew. That Greek word literally means to drive forward as if by beating.

Jesus was driven to grow in grace and wisdom. Of course He did have an advantage over us. He was perfect and He had a photographic memory. The Lord only had to hear the Scripture once and He remembered it.

The key is that when He heard Scripture He was driven to enter into the grace of it. This should be the same for us.

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
1 Timothy 4:14-15

Paul tells Timothy, a young pastor, to be diligent and give himself totally the callings that were placed upon his life. Paul literally says, so that your driving forward may be a light to all.

We must drive ourselves to secure the anointing. To walk in our callings will take drive and determination. It will not just happen by accident. It’s a spiritual battle. But, through the power of God, we will be victorious.

In the above verse from Luke, there’s a second important phrase. Jesus was well pleasing to God. That’s an important principle.

Do you make an effort to please God? Do you know what that means? I’m not talking about God loving you – He loves everyone.

I’m not even talking about God accepting you. We’re made righteous and acceptable to God in Christ. Pleasing is on a different level. It means that God actually enjoys what you’re doing. The Bible talks about it.

Just like Christ, we must be driven to set our hearts on what is well pleasing to God. Only then will He release His power in us to secure our anointing. It should be important to us to find out what well pleases the Lord.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6

This is the starting line. Pleasing the Lord requires faith. That should come as no surprise. But let’s seek the understanding of what this means.

Many say, “I’m a faith person.” Is that enough? It’s not just about believing He exists. We must also have faith in the knowledge that He rewards those who seek Him.

“I will earnestly seek Him…tomorrow.”

If I’m going to please God, then I need to be diligent and press in immediately. It’s not something that I keep putting off for a more convenient time. In all likelihood, there will never be an easy time to press in to God’s will.

The time is now to diligently seek a faith that goes beyond just being acceptable to the Lord. Go for the “well pleasing” kind of faith.

Questions: How are you driven to be well-pleasing to God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2021 in Anointing, Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Christ Followers

Christ Followers

I’m continuing through the Gospel of Luke. In the last few posts, I’ve been comparing our ministry to that of John the Baptist. Right now we should be preparing for the second appearing of the Messiah.

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.

Luke 3:15

It’s interesting that as John carried out God’s plan for his life, people began to question if he was the promised Messiah. They saw the testimony of lives that were changed by his ministry.

Throughout this section of Scripture, I’ve been repeating that we’re the “John the Baptist Generation”. What the crowd saw in John is what the world should see in us.

Should they think that we’re the Messiah? Absolutely not! But, they should see Christ in us. That’s what it was like in the early church.

The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

Acts 11:26

That’s where the name Christian came from. The ministry of those early believers was right in line with how the Lord lived and ministered. The crowd came to the conclusion that these people were Christ followers.

That should be the question of the modern church community. Can people see how we live, respond, and minister; then conclude that we’re trying to be like Jesus? In my opinion, there’s a big disconnect in our generation. It’s time to close the gap between how we live and the life of Christ.

It’s when the people around us see a higher standard of living, that they’ll want what we have. Then, we won’t have to preach at them. They will seek out our message.

That’s why the crowds of people flocked to hear John the Baptist in the desert. They wanted to understand a new level of spirituality.

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.

Luke 3:16-18

John had quite a message. The problem he had, was that the Old Testament showed both sides of the Messiah. It showed His salvation, but it also talked about the Day of Judgment. John thought that both of these would occur at the same time when Messiah arrived.

We know now that when Christ appeared then, it was to save us from our sin. The judgment won’t take place until His second appearance.

But, John does clearly place the choice right before our eyes. We can choose to be immersed in the Holy Spirit. Or, we can be immersed in the fire of judgment. We can choose to be wheat or chaff.

Actually, Jesus taught that He would do this exact thing on the Day of Judgment. He told it in a parable found in Matthew 13:24-30.

With John, his message was good news and bad news. The good news is that Messiah is coming. The bad news is that judgment is also coming.

Our message is similar, but of greater importance. The bad news is that Messiah is coming to judge the world. But, the Good News is that Messiah has already come to save, restore, and protect you from the coming wrath.

Why do we find it so hard to bring this wonderful message to those around us? What are we afraid of?

John preached without fear. Luke 3:19-20, tells us that his message actually got him locked up in prison. Yet, that didn’t hinder him from proclaiming what he was given.

We need to walk in the same boldness as John the Baptist. We need to declare the goodness of Jesus Christ to our world.

Question: How are you called to proclaim the message of Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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It’s Time for a Change

It’s Time for a Change

In my last post, we saw how John the Baptist called his nation to prepare for the Messiah’s coming. We need to do the same in regards to the Second Coming of Christ.

Let’s continue looking at John’s message.

“‘Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.’”

Luke 3:5-6

This is one of those beautiful prophecies of Scripture. In many ways, John was ahead of his time. He spoke mysteries that not only applied in his day, but in ours as well.

In our vocabulary, valleys are sometimes called gaps or hollows. That’s very appropriate to where the modern church finds itself. Compared to the early church, we seem to have a few gaps in our experience.

I believe that right now God is in the process of filling in those gaps. Those who are listening to His voice are seeing the move of His Spirit. I can’t wait for the full-on outpouring of the Last Days.

In the same way, there are mountains – high places of pride – that keep us from following God’s will with all our heart. We rely too much on our experiences. We don’t expect the miraculous anymore. God needs to humble us so we can trust His Word no matter what’s going on around us.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

God wants a people who are willing to walk in His power, no matter the outcome. That means rejecting our exalted opinions, and embracing His Word.

Getting back to the verse in Luke, it’s interesting that the word, crooked, can also be used figuratively to mean disobedient. God has a path mapped out for our lives, but we choose to go our own way regardless of the consequences.

God is trying to get our attention. The Holy Spirit is tirelessly working to straighten out and level up our crooked and rough patches.

The goal is simple. The way much of the church is right now, it’s impossible for the world to get a clear picture of Christ and His salvation. They see our opinions, disobedience, bigotry, and worldliness. They conclude that if there’s an answer to life’s problems, it won’t be found in the church.

That’s an unfortunate and unacceptable situation. Right now, God is actively working on the course-correction for His people. You can choose to continue going your own way and be humbled. Or, you can submit to God’s plan, and see the truly miraculous take place around you.

In the next few verses, Luke 3:7-14, John ministers according to the Old Covenant. He talks about the works that they need to do to be acceptable to God. That’s not our ministry. We speak of the great salvation God has already accomplished in Christ.

But, in spite of the “works mentality” in his preaching, the Scripture records that crowds of people made the long journey out into the desert to listen to him. It’s sad that even with our message of hope, forgiveness and salvation in Christ, relatively few are being drawn to it.

We use the excuse that, “Society doesn’t respect the Lord anymore. That’s why they don’t receive the Gospel.” In actuality, there’s a bigger problem.

As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Romans 2:24

We need to change. We need to live in such a way that the world sees a difference in us. They need to see a higher level of living. Only then will they want what we have and be attracted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Question: What needs to change in order for us to more effectively portray the glory of God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2021 in Faith, Ministry, Return of Christ, Revival, The Gospel

 

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Preparing the Way

Preparing the Way

As we continue going through the Gospel of Luke, I’ll go on talking about us as being the “John the Baptist Generation”. We should be calling God’s people to wake up and prepare for the second coming of the Messiah – Jesus Christ.

He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 3:3

The first thing we have to realize is that our message is a little bit different than his was. We have to remember that John the Baptist preached before the cross of Christ.

Therefore, in order to be forgiven, there had to be true repentance. That word means a total reversal of direction. I had to stop doing wrong before I could be forgiven. My forgiveness was based upon my ability to obey God.

Praise the Lord! We live after the cross. It’s no longer “turn around and be forgiven”. But now, by grace, it’s confess your sin to God and be forgiven.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

God knows that I have no ability to change my life. I cry out to Him in my weakness. I confess how I’ve missed the mark of His perfection. Then, I allow the Holy Spirit to do the purifying work in me.

I think that we miss this sometimes. Too many believers are living in the Old Covenant. They think that they have to change themselves in order to please God. That will never work.

When I come to God, He is faithful to forgive – remove – my sin. Then, it’s only by His power that I can truly change my lifestyle to conform to His image.

But, there’s another part of John’s message that we need to lay hold of. Remember, John was calling Israel, God’s people, to prepare for Messiah’s coming. That same message is needed today in the church.

As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him…’”

Luke 3:4

I hate the fact that I have to be the one who says this. But, compared to the early church, we live in a spiritual wilderness. We’re no longer excited about who God is. (I’m speaking overall, not about the few who are awake)

What seems to really get our attention is what God can do for us. We ignore what God wants to do through us. We no longer think in terms of bringing people to the knowledge of salvation. We want to fit into society.

We concern ourselves with so many side issues that it crowds out our devotion to Christ. Our fear of the social problems around us keeps us from worshiping together.

So many churches are places where we come together to hear great inspirational singing. We listen to a motivational talk. But, we leave unchanged and continue on our way oblivious to God’s plan for us.

It’s truly time for us to seek God’s presence. We must want Him to show up at our services. That’s what making straight paths for Him is all about.

The problem is that many churches don’t want the Holy Spirit to show up at their services. It would mess things up. He would really throw off their schedules. And He’d make them late for dinner.

In this generation, we truly need a manifestation of the presence of God in our meetings.

But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

1 Corinthians 14:24-25

This is what we should be preparing ourselves for. This will bring in a harvest of souls. It’s what the world needs to see.

Question: What will it take for us to start truly seeking the presence of God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2021 in Ministry, Return of Christ, Revival, The Gospel

 

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It’s Time to Be Listening

It’s Time to Be Listening

I’ve been going through the Gospel of Luke in my posts. In today’s article, we’ll begin chapter 3.

If you remember, toward the end of the first chapter of Luke, Zechariah gave a prophecy about the ministry of his son, John the Baptist. When I posted about this, I said that we were the “John the Baptist generation.” We’ve been given the same type of ministry that he had.

This is where we are in history. I believe that this is the final generation before the return of Christ. We are the “John the Baptist generation.”

He was one man sent to a nation that was spiritually asleep. Now, we’re a small group sent to a sleeping church. The truth is, that either you’re the one calling, or the one needing to wake up. The choice is yours.

We must respond to God’s call for equipping. God is now preparing a people for the end-time ministry ahead of us.

But there was another part to John’s ministry.

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar — when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene — during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 3:1-3

He heard and he went. It’s important for us to understand that our generation needs to hear a Word from God. God is speaking the same message throughout the body of Christ today.

“Please, listen to Me!!!”

God is trying to get our attention. He wants to speak to a church that’s largely enamored with what the world has to offer. We don’t want to take the time to hear from the Holy Spirit.

That’s the big key to this whole thing. Hearing from God requires time. We must allow for quality time in the presence of the Holy Spirit. We need to be listening for His voice.

The enemy knows this. Never have there been more distractions. There’s so much going on in the world around us. We need to stay spiritually focused.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17

We seem to have lost sight of this truth. That verse literally says, “Faith comes out of hearing and hearing through the rhema of Christ.” Rhema is the Greek word that speaks of the Word we hear in our spirit from God.

That’s one of our biggest failings. Not listening, and therefore not hearing God’s voice speaking to us.

We want to just go out and minister with the power of the spirit. We want to go to work, watch TV, play basketball, and heal the sick. We want formulas – quick, easy ways to walk in the spirit.

The spiritual authority that we’re looking for starts in hearing from God. John went out into the desert and didn’t minister until he heard a Word from God. Then, people actually flocked to him in the desert. Today, we find it hard getting people to our meetings in the middle of a city.

What’s wrong? I believe that the answer is clear – we have no Word from God. If we want to be the end-time church, prepared for Christ’s return, then we need to be listening to the Holy Spirit.

That’s the only way to communicate the message of salvation the world needs to hear. That’s the only way to usher in the end-time harvest of souls before the return of Christ.

Question: What will it take for the church to hear a Word from God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Coming of Age

Coming of Age

We’re continuing our study of the Gospel of Luke. In today’s post I’ll be looking at Luke 2:41-52.

This event happens when Jesus is in His pre-teen years.

Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom.

Luke 2:41-42

It’s important for us to see that Jesus was raised in a family that steadfastly observed Jewish worship. We also have to realize that He was not an only child. After the birth of Christ, Mary and Joseph had other children.

According to Scripture, Jesus had at least four brothers and two sisters. That must have been quite a feat of coordination to go to Jerusalem faithfully, every year. I’ve seen some families who can’t manage to get themselves and two children to church every week. It’s obvious to me that we can accomplish what’s important to us. Is a godly family important?

I believe that the Holy Spirit put this event in the Bible for a reason. Now that Jesus was twelve, the Passover was an important milestone in His life.

It was a custom in Israel, that when a boy turned twelve, he was to be brought to the temple. While there, he went through some ceremonies where he was taught about fasting and other requirements of the law. This prepares him for full entry into adulthood at thirteen years of age.

The spiritual responsibility was upon the parents until a child was twelve years old. Now that Jesus was twelve, He was responsible for His own walk before God.

That really is an eye-opener. In our society, we usually think of someone being a child until the age of eighteen. Very few churches give these teenagers any important responsibilities. More than once I’ve heard them referred to as “the church of the future.”

I believe that at this age, these young men and women can understand and apply the spiritual principles of what they hear. They can start to walk in the spiritual disciplines they’ve seen demonstrated. It’s unfortunate that so many people write them off as too young to serve God effectively.

Look at the example of Jesus. The feast at Jerusalem lasted for seven days. Now that He was considered a responsible adult, Jesus was allowed to be on His own.

When the feast was over, Mary and Joseph rounded up their children and made the assumption that Jesus knew it was time to leave. At sunset, they went looking to see where He was among the group that they traveled with. But, nobody remembered seeing Him.

So, Joseph and family went back to Jerusalem where they searched for another three days.

After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Luke 2:46-47

Now that the Lord was considered an adult, He was allowed to spend time with the great teachers of Jerusalem. What we have to realize is, that in Hebrew tradition, the one asking the questions is the one who’s teaching. That’s why everyone was so amazed. Jesus was literally teaching the teachers.

Of course, parents being the worriers they are, Mary was a little upset that Jesus didn’t tell her what He was doing. They were more than a little inconvenienced by His absence. His response is important.

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

Luke 2:49-50

Now that the Lord was an adult, He had an understanding of who He was, and the mission He was called to accomplish. At this point, His parents didn’t understand the full scope of His calling, but they would someday.

Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Luke 2:51-52

Question: Why do we expect so little, spiritually, from our teenagers in this society?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2021 in Ministry, Sonship, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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God’s Plan – Starting Strong

God’s Plan – Starting Strong

As we continue through the Gospel of Luke, we just looked at the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. Now, Luke talks about his childhood years in Luke 2:21-40.

It’s obvious that both Mary and Joseph were devout Jews. They did everything according to the Law of Moses. This law is found in Leviticus 12.

According to this law, Jesus had to be circumcised on the eighth day. Then, Mary had to wait 33 days for her purification. At that point, she needed to go to the temple to offer the sacrifice for her purification.

This tells us a lot about the family of Jesus. All this moving around the country had taken a toll on their finances. They went to Jerusalem for their purification…

…and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Luke 2:24

Actually, according to the law, this is the sacrifice if you were too poor to afford a lamb. Mary and Joseph were struggling to get by. Yet, they maintained the spiritual connections the best that they could, in order to raise Jesus correctly.

After all, they could have made the excuse, “We can’t afford to go to Jerusalem yet.” But they went anyway, and God had a great blessing waiting for them there.

There happened to be an elderly man in Jerusalem named Simeon. God had impressed him that he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah. As soon as he saw the baby, he knew that the time had come.

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Luke 2:28-32

This prophet of God had some amazing words to say over this child. First, Simeon reveals that Jesus is the salvation of God.

Then, he speaks of the Lord’s ministry. Christ will be a light to the world. This light will be revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Israel.

As parents, I can only imagine what Mary and Joseph were thinking while Simeon was speaking out these words. But, he didn’t end there. He had a special prophecy that he spoke over Mary.

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Luke 2:34-35

He makes it known that the ministry of Jesus will not be a “bed of roses.” The Lord will definitely make a lot of powerful enemies. He will reveal things that those in authority will want to remain hidden. Mary needed to be ready for the outcome of God’s plan – Messiah going to the cross.

After Simeon finished his assignment, another person came to these parents. She was an elderly prayer warrior named Anna. She also recognized the child by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. She spoke more words of encouragement to all who were listening.

Joseph and Mary did everything that was needed to be done in order for God’s plan to be fulfilled in their child. And, God rewarded their efforts. They saw the confirmation of all that God spoke to them.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 2:39-40

After they had gone through with their spiritual duties, they left for home. But, they didn’t go to Bethlehem, where the Child was born. Instead, they went back to Nazareth, where they had grown up and were connected with friends and family.

In this environment, Christ grew, and it was obvious that God had a great calling upon Him.

Question: What are the things you need to do to fulfill God’s plan in your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2021 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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