Theme of the Week: Suffering
Bible Verse: “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” Luke 4:19 CSB
Scripture Reading: Luke 4:16-21
The gospel of salvation has often been preached as a remedy for the eternal penalty for our sins. That’s a spiritual emphasis that is certainly true, but it leaves out a lot.
It means God delivered humanity from a problem many people didn’t even know they had, but it says nothing about our daily lives—our relationship issues, our health problems, our work opportunities, our income and debt, and everything else we wrestle with. It does not address the wounds we suffered in the past or the fears we have for the immediate future. All it does—and certainly this is a lot—is relieve our concerns about eternity.
But seeing salvation as a spiritual legal decree only comforts us regarding our ultimate destiny. It is an incomplete gospel that seems much too theoretical amid the crises of life. Jesus emphasized the gospel of the kingdom, which includes spiritual salvation but also so much more.
He spent much of his ministry dealing with people’s physical bodies, emotional needs, and urgent spiritual concerns. He promised eternal life, to be sure, but he did not confine his promises to the there-and-then. He was a here-and-now Savior as well, demonstrating the goodness of God in everyday circumstances. He declared that “the time of the Lord’s favor [had] come” (Luke 4:19).
There are times when we need God to help us manage the difficulties of life—in marriage and parenting, at work, in academics and training, in the difficult demands others place on us, in our finances and bills, in our physical challenges, in everything.
And we need him not some day, but now.
There are also times when the weight of the world’s pain haunts our hearts and feels as if it’s going to break us. According to the fullness of the gospel we’ve been given throughout Scripture, we can know that Jesus carried all of it—our weaknesses and our sorrows—to the cross. He did not come to deal with only one consequence of the Fall; he came to deal with all of them.
We may not experience all of his remedies immediately, and we will still have to deal with problems and pain. But nothing is off-limits to his mercy and grace. When we ask him to intervene in anything—regardless of what it is—in some way he will. He comforts and carries, delivers and heals, guides and encourages.
The Cross is as comprehensive as his love, and he invites us to bring our entire lives into them both.
Content taken from The Promise of Lent Devotional: A 40-day Journey toward the Miracle of Easter by Chris Tiegreen. Copyright ©2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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