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Who Am I?

Who Am I?

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we’re seeing how Jesus interacted with His disciples. He asks them some important questions. In this post, I’m talking about Luke 9:18-27. You may want to read through this before continuing.

Jesus had taken His disciples off to a private place to pray. The Lord did that pretty often, and He wanted His disciples to learn this practice. It would become an important part of their ministry someday.

As He was praying, the Holy Spirit prompted Jesus to ask the men who the crowds thought He was. It turned out to be the same as what Herod had thought.

It’s interesting that most of what people thought revolved around dead prophets who had come back to life. This speaks to the miraculous power that was evident in the Lord’s ministry.

After that discussion, Jesus brought the conversation around to the most important question.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

Luke 9:12

More than what the crowds thought about Him, Jesus wanted to hear what the disciples thought. Peter, as usual, was the spokesman for the group. He immediately answers that Jesus is the Christ – the long awaited Messiah of God.

This statement showed that they were finally starting to understand what was happening. They were witnessing the fulfillment of the entire teaching of Scripture.

Once Peter makes this confession, the Lord is able to take them a little deeper into His confidence. He begins to share about what would take place in the future.

Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

Luke 9:21-22

The first thing He does is to warn them not to tell anyone this truth. That’s because accepting Jesus as Messiah has to be a personal choice made by faith.

This is in stark contrast to the many individuals who have falsely claimed that title down through the years. Most of them publicly declared this claim in an effort to seduce masses of people to follow them – and give financial support.

Also, at this point, Jesus begins to clearly state the fact that He is to die at the hands of the Jewish leadership, and then rise from the dead three days later. I’m sure the disciples had no idea that He was speaking literally. They probably thought the Lord was speaking in parables again.

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:23-27

But clearly, the most important thing they needed to learn, was now that they knew the truth, they were responsible to live it out. There was no more sitting on the fence. Trusting Christ as Lord is an all or nothing proposition.

The Lord made it clear that this is not a one time thing. It’s a daily decision to follow Christ over and above your own wants and desires. We must identify with Him no matter where that road leads.

That’s the key to seeing the kingdom of God manifest in your life.

Question: Who do you see Jesus Christ as in your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2022 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Meeting Needs

Meeting Needs

What are the priorities of ministry? What can we learn from the way Jesus handled the day to day logistical challenges?

In my last post, we saw the disciples going out and ministering in the power of God. When they returned, the Lord wanted to take them away for a rest break.

When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

Luke 9:10-11

Jesus intended to get away for a time of refreshing away from the crowds. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The people followed Him to this remote location.

Instead of telling them to go away and let Him rest, Jesus ministered to their needs. This speaks volumes about the love of Christ.

Then, as it starts getting late, the disciples talk to Jesus.

Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”

He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

Luke 9:12-13a

The first thing that happens is that the disciples see and recognize the need. That’s the easy part. Ask anyone what’s wrong with the church and they’ll tell you what it needs.

But, they didn’t see it as their problem. The people needed to fix it. If they were hungry, then the crowd needed to go out and find something to eat.

That’s the attitude of many people today. “If they would do what they were supposed to do, the church would be better.”

Notice how Jesus turns that whole attitude around.That’s the response of a good leader. Turn the responsibility over to the ones who are sensitive to the need.

“Pastor, this church needs a Men’s Ministry.”

“I totally agree. When do you plan on starting it?”

I don’t think the disciples were prepared for that type of answer from the Lord. It caught them off guard.

They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish — unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” (About five thousand men were there.)

Luke 9:13b-14a

Here’s where most ministries lose sight of the true vision. The disciples immediately make it a resource problem. Their first reaction was to throw money at it to make it go away.

But first – here’s an aside for those who think ministers of the Gospel should live in poverty. The disciples DID NOT say, “We don’t have the money to feed them.” They asked if Jesus wanted them to spend that much cash on the crowd.

In our economy, think about how much it would cost to buy 5000 fast food value meals. Jesus had that much money on Him at the time. But I digress.

According to Christ, it wasn’t a money problem, but a Word problem. How did the Father want this need met? Too often we ask for money before we seek the Holy Spirit to provide a miraculous solution.

Verses 14 through 17 of Luke, chapter 9, tell us of the way Jesus heard from heaven, and met the needs of over 5000 hungry people. This is how we should be ministering to those around us. We must spend time in the Spirit, and then walk out what we’ve heard from the Father.

Too many times I hear, “If we don’t get the donations, then we can’t do what God has called us to do.” Personally, I serve a God who’s bigger than the donations. He can make a way with or without the money.

We need to learn to be listening for His voice. That way we keep in step with not only what the Lord is leading us to do, but how exactly He wants it accomplished.

Questions: Has God ever worked His plans through you without money? How did He bring it about?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Commitment

Commitment

In my last post, I started talking about when Jesus sent His disciples out to preach. This required a great amount of trust on their part.

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Luke 9:1-2

When I think about the way this worked, it amazes me. The verse simply says that He gave them power and authority. I’m sure there was no flash of light or fireworks of any kind.

Jesus spoke a Word to them, and they trusted that it was so. Without any visible confirmation, they believed that they could walk in the same power of the Lord. But, it didn’t end there. Jesus gave more instructions that required faith and obedience.

He told them: “Take nothing for the journey — no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.”

Luke 9:3

The Lord’s command seems very counter-intuitive. They’re being told to go out on a preaching mission, yet they’re exhorted to take nothing with them.

Then, Jesus lists the things they were not to bring with them. As someone who likes to travel, this sounds to me like a list of essential items you would make a point of taking with you. Yet Christ wanted them to trust that they would not be needed on this journey.

They had to simply believe that everything they needed would be supplied along the way. That’s a big ask – to trust God to work through the people they would meet along their journey.

Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.”

Luke 9:4-5

Of course, staying in people’s homes was the normal thing to do in those days. There were no hotels or motels. When you were traveling away from home, you would ask around in a town and find out who was willing to let you stay with them for the night.

That’s how traveling worked in the ancient world. However, the hosts would expect a payment of some kind to let you stay with them for the night. Jesus expected the disciples to trust that they would find people who would allow them to stay in their homes and feed them for free.

Like I said, I like to travel. But I’ve never found a free bed and breakfast anywhere. Yet the disciples followed the Lord’s instructions and saw the hand of God at work in them.

So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.

Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.

Luke 9:6-9

Because of their obedience, the power of God was manifest in a wonderful way through the disciples. It was so great, that word of these things reached the ears of the king.

Herod, who had beheaded John the Baptist, was hearing all these reports. He heard about the miracles and healings being done. It wasn’t accomplished through long dead prophets who came back to life. It was normal people who submitted themselves to Christ.

In our generation, there’s not many believers who are called to the level of commitment these disciples had to follow. But each of us has to follow the commands of Christ in our own way. When we do this in obedience, we’ll see the same outcome. People will want what we have and be attracted to the Gospel of Jesus.

Question: What is God calling you to do at this point?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2022 in Faith, Ministry, Power of God, The Gospel

 

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Control

Control

As we continue to study the Gospel of Luke, we’re now starting chapter 9 today. Some of the same issues are talked about here.

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Luke 9:1-2

In my last post I talked about how Christ ministered on a different level than the Pharisees. The power of God flowed out of Him. As in the case of the woman with the issue of blood, it was even without the Lord’s knowledge at times.

Now that’s a definite problem for us in modern day Christianity. We want control. We want to be able to turn it on and off. We want people to know who the power came from.

It seems to me that God wants us to be a hose, and we want to be a faucet. This brings my mind back to a post I wrote a few years ago. It was about II Timothy 3:5.

This was the verse in which Paul warned us that in the last days there would be those who had a form of godliness but denied the power. If you remember, the Greek word for deny was a-rheonot flowing.

So many people want to control instead of flow. We cannot have that kind of attitude and be greatly used by God. We must see ourselves as a channel of the Lord’s power, and not a container.

That brings us to the verse we’re looking at in Luke today. Jesus called His disciples to Himself. Then, as they were all together, He gave them the power and authority they needed to do the same things that the Lord Himself was doing.

This is the next logical step in this line of thinking. Because the power of God flows, it can be given and received. Jesus was able to give the disciples power because it flowed through Him. This is good news for us also, because we have the same Holy Spirit living in us that Jesus had within Him.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

What a great verse! Power is given by the Holy Spirit and we can receive it. This seems a little too simple for our liking. We try to make it so complicated. So we have come up with all kinds of laws, disciplines, steps, and rituals that we say are necessary in order to walk in this power.

We have placed tithing, confession, and a whole host of other requirements in people’s path. But the truth of the matter is that I must abide in Christ. Then the power will flow through the Holy Spirit to me if I’m in a position to receive it. It’s actually all about positioning ourselves correctly. That’s what a majority of my blog is about.

I’m trying to get the church to reposition itself for revival. That’s where we need to be. In a position to receive the power of the Holy Spirit the same way that Christ did. Then, the world will see the difference and be drawn to the Lord. After all, it’s all about Him, not us.

That’s why I like the way the Lord positioned His disciples. He didn’t just give them power and authority, and then release them. He gave them a mandate. They were to preach the kingdom of God.

It wasn’t all about the power. The message was the most important part. The healings and miracles were simply the signs pointing to the truth of the message.

That’s a lesson we need to learn. We can’t just seek the power of God simply to satisfy our need to feel important. There’s a higher purpose that needs to be fulfilled.

As believers, the power of God is available to us all. Spending time in the spirit changes us to become more like Christ. That’s how we position ourselves to receive it. Then the world will be drawn to the message of hope through Jesus Christ.

Question: How would our church look different if we ministered like Jesus?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Healing Faith

Healing Faith

For the last couple of posts, we’ve been talking about the Synagogue ruler whose daughter was dying and the woman who needed healing from her bleeding. Jesus agreed to go with the ruler to heal his daughter but was interrupted when the woman touched Him and was healed.

This incident is recorded in Luke 8:40-56. It might be helpful to read through that section of Scripture before proceeding with this post.

This passage is a great example of what it takes to have faith for healing. In times past, people were told that if you just had enough faith, you’d be healed. That made it real simple. As a minister, I could blame you if you’re not healed when I pray for you.

“Come back when you really have faith.”

That kind of thinking does great injustice to those who are seeking to be set free from their sickness. The problem is that healing faith is always Word based. It’s not about me summoning up enough belief to be healed.

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

Romans 10:17

In order for the sick to be healed, someone has to hear a Word from God. Then, as they move in faith – received from that Word – the healing takes place. Even in the Old Testament this was the case.

He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

Psalms 107:20

A Word from God will inspire faith for healing. Once it’s acted upon, the healing takes place. That’s one of the reasons I like this section of Scripture. It shows the power of this truth.

The woman in the above passage heard from the Holy Spirit that if she could just touch the edge of Jesus’ clothes, she would be healed. Jesus confirmed this by saying, “Daughter, your faith has healed you.”

The synagogue ruler is the one who heard from God in that part of the story. He knew in his spirit that if he could get Jesus to come to his house, then his daughter would be healed.

Sometimes it’s the faith of the one praying. Remember the leper who came to Jesus and said, “If you are willing you can make me clean.” It was the Lord’s faith that prompted Him to say, “…be healed.” (Luke 5:12-14)

In another part of the Bible, we read about some men who heard from the Spirit that if they could just get their paralyzed friend in front of Jesus, he’d be healed. They ended up cutting a hole through a roof to fulfill this Word. Scripture records that when the Lord saw their faith, He healed the sick person. (Luke 5:17-25)

In all of these cases, and many more, somebody had to hear from the Father and walk in the faith they received. It could be the sick person, the minister, a friend, or a family member. That’s because healing faith is received through a Word from God.

That’s why it’s so important that we spend time in the Spirit. We need to develop our sensitivity to the voice of the Lord. I believe that only then will we see the power that was manifest in the life of Christ and in the church of the book of Acts.

Hearing from God. That’s where the Lord is bringing His church to in our generation. Let’s walk with His plan and cultivate our intimacy with the Holy Spirit.

Question: How many other Scriptures can you find that show this principle of receiving healing faith through a Word from God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2022 in Faith, Healing, Power of God, Word of God

 

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Touching Christ

Touching Christ

Why is it so important that I become intimate with Christ? Many believers spend their whole lives and never seek His presence. Everything I need is found in Christ. So, if I can get close to Him, I’ll be equipped to get into the flow of the Lord’s anointing.

As we continue looking at Luke’s Gospel, we see a woman who figured this out before any of Jesus’ disciples did. She had a sickness in her body that none of the doctors of her day could heal.

One day she heard that Jesus was coming to her town. When she heard this, the Holy Spirit quickened faith on the inside of her. She soon had a plan to see Him because she knew that if she could just touch the Lord, she would be healed.

She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Luke 8:44-45

That’s an interesting question, especially considering that the woman only touched the edge of the Lord’s clothing. There’s no way He could have even felt it in this crowd of people.

Mark’s Gospel gives us the answer to this question. It’s important for us to understand what was happening there.

At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

Mark 5:30

As soon as the woman touched Him, Jesus realized that power had flowed out from Him. That’s a great revelation. As it is in nature, so also in the spirit. Power has a flow associated with it. It can travel from one person to another.

This is an astounding truth to grasp onto. True power flows from Christ to those who touch Him. This means that it’s available to me. If I can just touch Him – make contact with Him – then I can receive His power in my life. That would change everything.

Think about it. What would this mean to you?

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Peter 1:3

Everything means everything!!! This verse explains that God’s power touches all that pertains to this life – finances, healing, etc. But just as important it also includes my spiritual life – godliness.

The fact of the matter is that true power changes everything that it touches. The question this creates is; do we want everything to change? Do we want our world to turn upside-down?

This is what trips us up most of the time. We only want certain changes, not all of them. We want our finances to change for the better. We want our body to be healed. But…then again, do I really want to watch less TV and have a deeper prayer life? This power affects it all. That’s why we hesitate to go for it.

This woman was at the point in her life when she was willing to give all for her healing. However, I believe that more than just her health changed as a result of the power that flowed to her.

In order to walk in the manifestation of God’s power, I have to be open for everything to change. It’s an all or nothing proposition. I have to come to God with the expectation that my whole life will change when He touches me.

Question: How much change are you willing to go through for God’s power to be manifest in your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2022 in Faith, Healing, Power of God, Spiritual Walk

 

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First Things First

First Things First

“Stick to what you’re working at. Concentrate on what you’re doing. Don’t get side-tracked.”

That sounds like good advice. And it is…most of the time. However, we have to come to the realization that good advice doesn’t always line up with the will of God for you. And, God’s will doesn’t always sound like good advice.

That’s what happened from time to time in the ministry of Jesus. I’m talking about an incident that took place when He got off a boat near the Sea of Galilee one day.

We’re going through the Gospel of Luke. In my last post, Jesus ministered to a demon possessed man by the Sea of Galilee. Now the Lord has sailed back across the sea.

You can find it in Luke 8:40-56. You may want to read that passage before continuing with this post.

Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him. Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.

Luke 8:40-42

At this point in His ministry, the Lord was gathering crowds wherever He went. Today was no exception. But these were not simply people who were following Him. They were expecting something from Him. They wanted Jesus to heal them or set them free from demonic oppression.

I don’t know how I would have been able to handle it. Crowds of people suddenly running up to me, screaming for my immediate attention. Yet Christ was able to keep His composure through all of it.

All at once, the sea of people parted. Someone who was well-known and respected by the community was coming forward. The elder in charge of their local synagogue was in desperate need of a healing for his daughter.

Jesus agrees to go with him and they start heading in that direction. Then, as they’re proceeding, an interruption takes place. People are pressing in all around Him, yet the Lord stops and looks around.

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Luke 8:43-45

“Wait a minute, Jesus. Let’s do one thing at a time. There’s someplace else we need to be.”

That might have been my thought when this happened. But then, I would have been out of the will of God. There was a bigger purpose than I could see.

The reason that Jesus could go through situations like this, unflustered, was because of His intimacy with the Father. Time spent in God’s presence allowed Him to have a great sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

That might be one of the reasons why we get ourselves into trouble when unexpected things pop up. We react with the best of our understanding. Many times it’s our limited knowledge that fouls things up.

The Lord could hear and obey the voice of the Spirit, even in a stressful situation. He could know which requests to accept, and which to ignore. This was true even when from the outside it looked like the wrong plan of action.

We know, from the end of this passage, that Jesus was proven right by His decisions. He remained in God’s will through the whole encounter. We need to cultivate this same intimacy with the Holy Spirit. I believe it will help us to see God’s plan unfold on a daily basis.

I will probably be talking about this passage over the next few posts. There are some good lessons that we can glean from it.

Question: How do you cultivate personal intimacy with God?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2022 in Ministry, Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Work Your Own Field

Work Your Own Field

In my last post, I talked about the demon-possessed man that Jesus set free. The story is found in the Gospel of Luke 8:26-39. The demons left the man and went into some pigs, which drowned themselves. When the people of the area saw what had happened, they were afraid.

Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

Luke 8:36-37

When the power of God starts to bring change; people begin to resist it. That’s been the case throughout all of history.

But there was one person who was glad about the change.

The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him

Luke 8:38-39

This man had been released from his captivity. He wanted to follow Jesus wherever He went. God had a different plan for him. The Lord told him to stay in his home area.

Too often the Lord’s people think that the only way they can do a big work for God is to be a pastor or missionary. Maybe they look down on their abilities because they never attended a Bible college.

That’s never been the prerequisite for doing great things for the Lord. All it takes is a knowledge of what Christ has accomplished in you. If you understand God’s love for you, then you’re qualified to tell others.

It’s amazing how God takes us where we are, and increases our influence by His power. This man was simply told to go to his family and share what Jesus did for him. He was to explain to them the love of God.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

1 Peter 3:15

People don’t need a prepared sermon about who Jesus is. Instead, they only need to hear how you received the hope of Jesus Christ in your life. It’s a personal thing. What has the Lord done in your life?

I’m sure that’s where this man started. But the grace of God couldn’t be contained in his little house. He felt the drive to bring the Good News even further.

The word used in Scripture to describe him telling the town is the word for a town crier. He proclaimed Jesus in the public square at the top of his lungs! He wanted everyone to know how the Lord had changed his life.

In all of this, God had a plan that was being accomplished. The people of this area started out being afraid and skeptical of Jesus. They didn’t want him around.

But as this man started sharing his story, the mood began to change. The people realized that the Messiah had come on the scene. Their attitudes turned around.

How do I know this? The Gospel of Mark records Jesus’ return to this area. That visit is found in Mark, chapter 7. Instead of asking Him to leave, they bring the sick to Christ for healing. This man prepared his region to receive Jesus.

So don’t ever think that your efforts for Christ are wasted. Even if you seem to be in a small area, God can do a great work through you. Just remain in His will, doing what He’s called you to do.

Question: What’s God’s current assignment upon your life?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2022 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Freedom Fighters

Freedom Fighters

In my last post, we saw how the disciples exhibited a lack of faith when a huge storm came up while they were crossing the lake. Now, it would seem to them, like they went from the frying pan into the fire.

When they reach the shore, they arrive at a burial ground. Almost immediately a demon possessed man who lived in the tombs came running towards them. Because of the length of the passage, I can’t show it all here. I suggest that you read Luke 8:26-39 before proceeding.

In this section of Scripture, we see a man tormented by the enemy. He had no house of his own but lived in the tombs. On top of that, he wore no clothing.

According to Luke, many times the authorities would try to arrest him. They even bound him with chains. But, because of the strength of the demons, the chains would break in his struggling. At that point, the demon would drive the man away from town.

Listen to what Luke says.

Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

Luke 8:29b

The word, driven, means to be pushed along like wind driving a sailboat forward. He could probably resist a little, but it eventually got the better of him.

It’s interesting to see where the enemy led him. He was driven into places of loneliness and death. He was all by himself, surrounded by the tombs. That’s not a great place to live.

When Jesus began to minister to him, he cried out…

When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man.

Luke 8:28-29a

The enemy was afraid of being tortured. They know that Jesus is going to be their final Judge. But, what the demon sees as torture, this man would see as freedom.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10

The goal of the enemy is to destroy lives. Unfortunately, there are many people who think that it’s better than what the Lord offers. They think that God is out to torture them and take away all of their fun. They don’t understand that what Christ is really offering is perfect freedom.

That’s where we come into the picture. We must let them see by our lives, the blessing of serving God. Too often it looks like we want what the world has. That’s not how it should be.

We need to walk as Jesus did. The Lord understood how to handle the work of the devil.

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

1 John 3:8b

Our goal should be the same as that of Christ. We should live to set the captives free. All the while we must watch ourselves so that we’re not captivated by the world.

The power of God did more than just tame the demon possessed man. He was set free and his life was totally renewed by the power of God. That’s the type of victory we should be seeking in our generation.

But it will require us to spend time in the Father’s presence just as Jesus did.

Question: What are some areas that you see the need for Christ to set people free?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Word, Faith, and Testing

The Word, Faith, and Testing

As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, we find that Luke has set his narrative up to be topical. He’s not concerned with a timeline as much as showing what Jesus taught, and how it applied to a personal walk with God.

So far in chapter 8, the Lord has been emphasizing the Word of God. He’s taught the people how to receive it, respond to it, and obey it. Luke now shows how it worked in the Lord’s life.

Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”

He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Luke 8:19-21

I believe that Luke included this incident to give us a summary of what Jesus has been teaching so far. There’s a family-like intimacy with the Father when we hear and obey God’s Word to us.

The Lord was told that His mother and brothers were desiring to meet with Him. That’s important to Jesus’ response. Do you have a desire to meet with the Lord? The solution is to hear God’s Word and do it.

The disciples were listening. How well did they hear and do it?

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out.

Luke 8:22

The disciples seemed to start out correctly. They heard the Word of the Lord and set sail in that direction. So far, so good.

As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

Luke 8:23

Now we see an illustration of exactly what Jesus said would happen when the seed falls on the rocks. I’m sure the disciples were joyfully starting out on their journey across the lake.

However, Jesus said that there would be a time of testing whenever you receive a Word from God. He even took a nap so that they would be free to show what they learned.

Then it arrived. The disciples were tested by a squall that suddenly came up. They were in a dangerous situation. Would they continue in faith or “quickly fall away”?

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Luke 8:24-25

The outcome is that they gave up without even a fight. They went to the Lord totally ignoring His Word to them and announced definitively, “It’s all over, we’re destroyed.”

The first thing Jesus did was to show them the power of His Word. Even the elements of the weather are under His control. He quieted the storm and then dealt with his disciples.

The big question He asked them was, “Where is your faith?” They had heard His voice. They should have trusted His Word. Yet they failed to see the power He had placed in their hands.

Their hearts were still rocky. They didn’t get it. Jesus asked about their faith, yet they asked each other, “Who is this?” They should have been asking, “Why couldn’t we do what He told us to do?”

Obviously, Jesus intended for them to quiet the storm. The problem was that the Word had not yet taken root in their lives.

This is why time with the Holy Spirit is so important. The more time we spend in His presence, the deeper our roots grow. Then, in the times of testing, we’ll find ourselves walking in the power of God.

Question: How deep is your spiritual root system?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2022 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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