Summary: A series of questions and narrative answers using both contemporary biography and the story of how Jesus dealt with difficulties and trials.

Text: Luke 4

Title: Deal With It? How?

Topic: Christian Living

Theme: Living with Difficulties & Trials

Purpose: to be the Holy Spirit’s second witness encouraging God’s people in my care to deal with difficulties and trials as Jesus did.

Response: Individuals will commit themselves to using the same spiritual resources Jesus used as He confronted temptation, rejection, oppression and the expectations of others.

Pattern: A series of questions and narrative answers using both contemporary biography and the story of how Jesus dealt with difficulties and trials.

Visual Aid: A White Board or overhead projector to list the resources Jesus used to deal with His difficulties.



1) Jana Goetz did. She was an experienced nurse who had just switched jobs. The change had been a long time coming. Jana was excited to join up with two doctors whom she had worked previously. She was back with "family"; she had come home. Her first evening at the clinic a young mother came with her 18-month-old son. He needed his final shot for a routine immunization; his mother came for a physical. Both patients were new to the clinic.

Jana gave the boy his shot, and his mother took him back to the waiting room, where his sister and grandmother sat. The mother then went back to the room for her physical. When Jana went to record the vaccination on the boy’s chart, she noticed that the seal on the vial inside her lab coat was unbroken. Quickly Jana realized that she had given the boy the wrong vaccine. She had given him a shot from a different vial -- a routine vaccination for children, but the boy had already completed that series of shots months earlier.

Jana said she gasped when she realized her mistake and then went into shock, physically numbed by the fierceness of what raged within. Here is the sequence of her thoughts, according to her own story:

"No one will ever know. No harm done."

"I can’t tell the doctor."

"This is my first day on the job."

"The doctor will think I’m incompetent."

"It can’t hurt him, can it?"

"It doesn’t hurt to be immunized twice for the same thing."

"But he needs the right vaccine."

"What will the mother say?"

"But I will always know, and so will God."

Meanwhile, the doctor was examining the boy’s mother. Jana weakly paced outside the room.

When the doctor walked out of the room, Jana told him her mistake, almost vomiting her confession. "Whoa. Let me think about this for a moment," he said. After a few moments, he walked back in the room, told the mother what happened, and asked her to schedule another time for her child’s immunization. Jana’s anxiety released, she was now free.

Citation: Dave Goetz, author and editor, © 2001 / Christianity Today, Inc.

2) Jesus was tempted too (Luke 4:1-12).

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."

Jesus answered, "It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone.’ "

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours."

Jesus answered, "It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ "

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. For it is written:

" ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ "

Jesus answered, "It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ "

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.


1) Author James Lee Burke did.

In the mid-’70s this creator of the Dave Robicheaux detective series wrote a book he called The Lost Get-Back Boogie. To his dismay his novel was rejected 111 times by New York publishers alone. (It is still considered the most thoroughly rejected manuscript in American publishing history). But Burke didn’t give up and eventually one reluctant publishing house decided to take a chance on his story. In 1985 James Lee Burke was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for The Lost Get-Back Boogie. Imagine the reaction of all those editors that originally said the manuscript was unfit.

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