Friday, May 31, 2024

Napoleon, Socrates or Jesus? Who would you vote for?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “If Socrates would enter the room, we should rise and do him honour, but if Jesus Christ came into the room, we should fall down on our knees and worship Him.”  Dr Luke, the writer of the third gospel account in the New Testament, would have agreed wholeheartedly with the French General.  

If ever a man wrote a book filled with good news for everybody, Dr Luke is that man. His key message is, "For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save those who are lost".  He presents Jesus Christ as the compassionate Son of Man, who came to live among sinners, love them, help them, and die for them.  In Luke’s Gospel, we meet individuals as well as crowds, women and children as well as men, poor people as well as rich people, and sinners along with saints. It is a book with a message for everybody?  

In Capernaum, Jesus began His ministry of teaching and healing. Luke introduced both, selecting examples from the many things Jesus did in order to highlight the effect that they had on those who witnessed them. Jesus was a popular speaker at the synagogue. People enjoyed listening to Him, and He could put spiritual truths in a way that was easy for His listeners to understand. That in itself was not unique because people had probably heard other good speakers in the past. What amazed them was not so much the things He said, as the authority with which He said them.  

The people were stunned as it was usual for a rabbi to cite all sorts of authorities to support his interpretation. Jesus spoke directly. There was no need for Him to trawl the sacred writings. He already had the very power the devil had mistakenly promised to Him in the desert. He could speak on His own authority because of His relationship with His Father. His teaching, which we have in the Gospels, should stun us too.

Luke offers us an example of this authority by telling us how easily Jesus was able to cast out an evil spirit. He simply spoke a word. The demon had to obey because it knew who Jesus was, that He was ‘the Holy One of God’. It is because of who He is that Jesus’ words carry such authority. His miracles had a similar effect on those who witnessed them. 

Today there are those who still claim that Jesus was only a good teacher. Dr Luke does not leave that option open to us. Jesus’ words have authority because they are able to transform lives, not because they sound nice.  Whether we face demon possession, sickness, besetting sins, broken relationships, or the seemingly insurmountable problems of the current pandemic, the words of Jesus carry the authority to bring the change we need. That is because of who He is, not because of anything we might do.  What are the miracles that you or those around you need today? Ask Jesus to speak His authoritative words into those situations and you will be amazed how He can change your life too!

There is no night, for in His light, you'll never walk alone
You'll always feel at home, wherever you may roam
There is no power can conquer you while God is on your side
Take him at his promise, don't run away and hide

It is no secret, what God can do
What He's done for others, He'll do for you
With arms wide open, He'll pardon you
It is no secret, what God can do

Messages with Meaning (03/06/21) Written by Peter Francis for Your542Day 

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