Luke 4:14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and a report concerning him went out through all the surrounding country.
"A report concerning him went out" this is a good place to begin for it is something with which we are acquainted, and we might even be tempted to paraphrase it as "tonightís top news story was" Ė but we wonít because it is easy to talk about someone else, and that is not really the question, for the question is not about someone else, but about us. If a report about us went out, what would they be saying about us?
Does it matter? That too is a good question, but the answer depends, on who it is that we are. For if we are individuals, only responsible to ourselves, then it really doesnít matter what others think or say. For individuals, it is claimed can do what they want. It is not true, even if it is the American myth, it is still a myth, a story which does not tell the whole truth, for everyone worships a god, even the atheist, its just that some gods are hidden. And the only question then that remains is which of the gods does one follow? Health? Success? Power? Wealth? Good Times? You can, follow which ever one you want, but what you do and how you live ought to reflect favorably on the god to whom you belong. If not, there is a good chance that your god will disown you.
And if the gods of this world treat people so, why is it that Christians believe that they can claim Jesus as Lord, while they are at the same time disobedient, rebellious sinners? What we do reflects on God, and we are answerable to him. After all we do not go out into the world as individuals bearing only our name, but we go out into the world as Christians, bearing the name of our Savior, and we have been warned against taking the Lordís name in vain. After all, when the Savior calls gathers enlightens and sanctifies us, doesnít he also then, send us out to do his will?
Its not that Jesus didnít die to save us from the consequences of our sin, for there is eternal life, redemption, and forgiveness of sins which are ours, not of works, but by grace through faith. The question is not a shortage of forgiveness, it is rather one which speaks of a shortage of repentance. Repentance is not only a sorrow for sins, but also the sincere desire to change our ways and turn from our sin, and return to following our Savior. Being sorry, but having to plans to follow Jesus is no repentance. Being sorry, but having to plans to turn from sins is no repentance, and where there is no repentance, forgiveness is not possible. Forgiveness is not possible, not because God lacks the power, rather we do not have room to accept it into our lives, something else is standing in the way of faith, and forgiveness. So, if a report went out concerning us, what would it say? Would it reflect that we are the children of God by grace through faith?
But the text has yet more to say, for in the text a report went out about Jesus, and people began to expect certain things. In particular the people in Jesus hometown expected certain things. The real issue is, are you hearing what God has to say, or hearing only what you want to hear? And that goes back to our first question, which god are you really following?
Why? Because this is the message:Luke 4:18-19