A Season of Transition, a Season of Prayer — Please join us each day at 11:30 a.m. in offering a personal but collective prayer for our congregation. Today’s focus for prayer is: For our children as they struggle with academics, peer pressure, self-image, difficult friendships, and high expectations.
Scripture: Luke 4:38-44
Key verses: Luke 4:42-43 At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.”
Reflection: When my children were young, I remember how hard it was to get any moments of privacy. Even the bathroom wasn’t a sacred space! I wonder if that’s what it was like for Jesus. It seems like every time he leaves the crowd behind to go to a deserted place for rest and renewal, the crowd follows him there. I bet that was annoying for Jesus.
This crowd “wanted to prevent him from leaving them.” That’s pretty extreme! Jesus had been healing the sick. I believe he knew that if he stayed there, he would become a full-time professional faith healer. He wouldn’t be able to travel and proclaim the good news in other cities. Giving in to the excitement of the crowd would have prevented Jesus from fulfilling his mission of grace.
Sometimes we might be like Jesus in this story. We are surrounded by people who like what we are doing and encourage us to continue, when our mission takes us in a different direction. Our egos hear the affirmation of the crowd and we might be tempted to listen to the crowd instead of following Jesus to the unknown destinations of faithfulness.
Sometimes we might be like the crowd in this story. We want Jesus to stay with us and confirm our opinions and agree with our choices and go along with our enthusiasms. Jesus needs to move on to include those who are different from us because his mission is bigger than we can ever imagine.
Prayer: O God, when I am tempted to make Jesus “mine” in ways that prevent Jesus from being yours or theirs, remind me that your kingdom is so much bigger than my little world. When I am tempted to listen to the crowd instead of following Jesus faithfully, remind me that the way of Jesus is the path of abundant life. Through Christ I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].