Jesus had set aside His own powers to live as a man. Every teaching He gave, every miracle He worked, every good deed He performed, was as a human man walking in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 14:
John 14:12 "Truly, truly, I say to you: He who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do..."
How can we be like Jesus? How can we teach like He did? How can we work miracles like He did? How can we do good deeds like He did? We must be walking in the power of the Spirit. How did Jesus do that? Three things:
The angel said to Mary:
Luke 1:35 ..."The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God."
Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit before birth. For us, it happens after. Have you been born of the Spirit? Jesus said:
John 3:3,5 "Unless (a man) is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. ...Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
We've all been born once... But make sure that you've been born that second time. That the old, carnal man has died, and you are a new creature in Christ... the old things passed away, and new things have come.
Luke 3:22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, "Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased."
Luke 4:1 ...Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit
This is different than being born of the Spirit. Remember the apostles had been born of the Spirit in John 20 when Jesus...
John 20:22 ...Breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
But the Spirit had not yet descended UPON them - they had not yet been filled. Jesus promised them in Acts 1:
Acts 1:8 "...You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses..."
And the Holy Spirit did fall upon them in Acts chapter 2. And when that happened, they did receive power to be His witnesses. Has the Spirit fallen upon you? I'm not asking if you're saved, I'm asking if you've ever had the supernatural experience of the Holy Spirit falling upon you, being filled with the Spirit. In some cases, people speak in tongues, others prophesy, others are filled with great joy. But in every case, power is given to you to be witnesses for Jesus Christ.
That's the evidence. You see, people can be psychologically coerced to have a willy-nilly experience. They can be tricked into speaking in tongues. Those things can be faked and manipulated. But the true evidence that the Holy Spirit has fallen upon you and filled you is: have you been given power to be a witness for Jesus Christ?
Luke 4:1 ...And was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness
There are two forces at work inside of you - and they are battling each other. The flesh and the Spirit. Being led by the Spirit means to be denying the flesh. Galatians 5 says:
Gal. 5:16-18 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
Rom. 8:13-14 ...If you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Are you being led by the Spirit? That doesn't mean feeling the heebie-jeebies and tingly sensations when you're trying to make a decision. It means that you're denying your flesh. Resisting sin.
So, to walk in the power of the Spirit is to be born of the Spirit. It is to be filled with the Spirit. And it is to be led by the Spirit. 1) Are you born again? 2) Are you a powerful witness for Jesus Christ? 3) Are you denying your flesh and resisting sin? If you answered "No" to any of those questions, then you cannot be walking in the power of the Spirit.
It says in verse 16 that He had been brought up in Nazareth. Every once in awhile, you'll run into some weirdo that says Jesus went to the Far East and learned mysticism and gained miraculous healing powers there. That's a bunch of hooey. He was a hometown boy.
Klamath Falls is a small town in Oregon, about half the population of Cheyenne. I lived there for only about 5 or 6 years. But there's a guy about my age who was born and raised in that town, named Dan O'Brien. You may remember Dan from the 1996 Olympics, when he received the Gold medal for the Decathlon, giving him the coveted distinction of being "the greatest athlete in the world". Yes, Klamath Falls fell all over their local boy who made good.
And I think a bit of that must have been happening in Nazareth. Jesus is returning to Nazareth after a year of ministering in Capernaum. And news was spreading about Jesus of Nazareth. About how John the Baptist had said He was the Messiah. About how he was becoming a such popular teacher. And the rumors about Him working miracles. Everybody was saying good things about Jesus of Nazareth.
Remember, too, this was the synagogue that Jesus grew up in. He had spent nearly every Saturday of His life in that building. Now He returns after a year of ministry in Capernaum. And He stands up to read the Torah.
At this point, I must once again put in a plug for our local synagogue. If you've never been to synagogue where the giant Torah scrolls are carried out and kissed, unrolled, and read in Hebrew, you're really missing out on a blessing. I encourage all of you to go at least once on some Friday night or Saturday morning.
Jesus begins reading Isaiah 61:1-2. Then He stops and says:
Luke 4:21 "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
The interesting thing is that He doesn't finish the sentence. He stops at a comma. And it's not an incidental comma, because the verse continues on to say...
Isa. 61:2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God...
Because everything He had been sent to proclaim on His first visit to earth stopped short of the day of vengeance. That has been reserved for His next trip.
What was Jesus anointed to do? "To bring good news to the afflicted ...to bind up the brokenhearted... to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners..." That is the message and the ministry of Jesus Christ. To those afflicted with sin - He has brought the gospel, the good news. To those who are brokenhearted by sin - He has a way to heal those hearts. To those who are prisoners of their sin - He has liberty and freedom for them.
But regarding the day of vengeance, He's still waiting on that one. Why? Because:
2Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
At first, what He had said seemed good. But then unbelief came in. Familiarity breeds contempt. "This is our hometown boy. Isn't this just Joseph's son? The kid from Sunday School? The teen from the youth group? Why should we listen to Him?" We ourselves are guilty of that. Parents, one day your child may have a spiritual insight and relationship with God that is far and above any that you've ever had. They might have a teaching for your heart, or even a rebuke for your life.. Will you receive it from them as your brother or sister in Christ? Or will you disregard it, saying, "I remember when you used to dirty your diapers daily. I potty trained you. Don't try to tell me about God!" That's the sort of contempt that Jesus encountered in Nazareth.
Why did they get so angry? What exactly did Jesus say that made them so upset? Before we can understand why, we need to hear two quick stories:
In the days of Elijah, Israel had a king: Ahab. He was a really bad guy. You may remember him: he was the guy who married Jezebel, and built altars and idols for false gods. The Bible says that he...
1Kgs. 16:33 ...did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him.
So the Lord says, "I'm going to judge Israel. No rain for three and a half years. Elijah, I want you to go out of the promised land - go east of the Jordan - to the land of the Gentiles. I want you to go to see this widow in Zarephath. So Elijah goes to the widow and says "Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink." And as she was going to get it, he says, "And a piece of bread, too." But she said, "I don't have any bread, just a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar. That's why I was gathering a few sticks - to make that little bit of bread for me and my son. It's going to be our last meal, since we're starving."
1Kgs. 17:13-16 Then Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first, and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel, 'The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.'" So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.
So God privided miraculously for this widow during the drought. Now, story number 2:
Aram was a Gentile country that worshiped false Gods, and was Israel's enemy much of the time. Naaman was the captain of Aram's army. He was a great and powerful man, but he had contracted leprosy - an incurable and fatal disease.
2Kings 5:9-10 So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots, and stood at the doorway of the house of (God's prophet) Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be clean."
After a bit of complaining about the weird instructions, Naaman did go down...
2Kings 5:14 ...and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
Jesus told those in the synagogue, "Hey, there were lots of widows in Israel during that famine, but God sent His prophet outside of Israel to a Gentile widow."
Luke 4:27 "And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."
During times when all of Israel was walking in wickedness, the Gentile Naaman was cured by a prophet of God. The Gentile widow was provided for by a prophet of God. Since Israel was rejecting the Lord, He went outside their country to bless those whom He desired to.
The folks in the synagogue at Nazareth didn't like the insinuation of what Jesus was saying. Basically, "you either receive Me as from the Lord, or He will judge you and go elsewhere to bless other people - even going so far as to go to the Gentiles." At this, they were so enraged at His teaching, that they turned into an angry mob, bringing Him to the edge of a cliff, ready to cast Him down.
Luke 4:30 But passing through their midst, He went His way.
Are you willing to step out in faith and tell people the truth about the Word of God? Even if it makes them angry? Many of us over the next few weeks will have opportunity to share with unsaved friends, coworkers, and relatives. But will we take the opportunity? The guy who constantly witnessed to me made me mad, too. And I'll always love him for it.