Present to Proclaim

18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. (Luke 4:18-19)
 
31 Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. 32 They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. (Luke 4:31-32)
Luke doesn’t leave us guessing what it would mean for the Holy Spirit to overflow out of us to bless the people all around us. After giving us Jesus’ ministry manifesto in Luke 4:18-19, he then begins to explain what that looks like in practice from Luke 4:31 onwards. Luke keeps things really, really practical.

In verse 31, he teaches us that it starts with the Holy Spirit making us a courageous presence in the world. This is relevant to us today, since there is a lot of fear going around. We’ve got used to being on our own, locked down and socially-distanced from other people. Jesus gets among the crowds. Now I know that we all have different personalities and different speeds at which we will be happy to move out of lockdown, but I do believe that God would say to each of us in our own way: Don’t be more afraid of what you might catch from people than you have faith for what people might catch from you!

In verse 32, Luke teaches us that, as the Holy Spirit bubbles up as a spring of living water within us, it always leads to courageous proclamation. In both of these verses, Luke emphasises that Jesus taught the people. He wasn’t just present with people; he was present in order to present the Word of God to people. We don’t necessarily begin with that. We often talk as a church about adopting a strategy of Prayer-Care-Share. We begin by praying for our friends, neighbours and work colleagues. We then start to proclaim the good news to them through our lives and our love towards them – a thoughtful text, a little gift, a knock on the door, valuing them as a person. But then we have got to move the conversation on from small talk to good news talk. Some of us have been building bridges for years and never attempting to drive anything over them. We need to share the Word of God with people.

We are living at a moment in time where people are disorientated and looking for answers. They are looking back on the past twelve months with hurt and confusion. They are looking ahead with nervousness and apprehension. The good news of the year of God’s favour is the very thing that your friends, neighbours and work colleagues are longing to hear, but unless you tell them, they won’t guess it. It’s called the good news for a reason.
  1. Who are you going to be ‘present with’ over the next few weeks? If you haven’t already written yourself a ‘Lost List’, make one now with the names you have just listed.
  2. How do you feel about proclaiming God’s good news to them? If you feel nervous or ill-equipped, then that’s perfectly normal! Take some time to tell the Lord how you feel and to ask for help through his Holy Spirit.
  3. Take a moment to read through the following list of statements. Spend time worshipping God that this is true of you through your faith in Jesus. Then spend time asking him to make this true of those on your ‘Lost List’.

In Christ I am secure.
I am free from condemnation (see Romans 8:1-2)
I am assured that all things work together for good (see Romans 8:28)
I am free from all condemning charges against me (see Romans 8:31-34)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (see Romans 8:35-39)
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God (see 2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected (see Philippians 1:6)
I am a citizen of heaven (see Philippians 3:20)
I am hidden with Christ in God (see Colossians 3:3)
I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control (see 2 Timothy 1:7)
I can find grace and mercy to help in time of need (see Hebrews 4:16)
I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me (see 1 John 5:18)
Father God, I thank you that, after over a year of some form of lockdown, we are about to be let out to interact with other people again. Please help me to be a courageous presence in the places where you have put me. Please help me to pray for people, to care for people, and ultimately to share your good news with people. I pray for each of the people on my ‘Lost List’. Please us me to bring them to faith in Jesus. I ask it in his powerful name. Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were written by Phil Moore, who leads our team of whole-church elders.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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