Summary: Meeting the Enemy Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke) Brad Bailey – January 30, 2019

Meeting the Enemy

Series: Encountering Jesus (through the Gospel of Luke)

Brad Bailey – January 30, 2019

Text: Luke 3:20-23; 4:1-14


At the start of a new year…many of the trends that are growing get special attention. And one of those is the growing tragedy of identity theft. Unlike the history of various forms of physical theft…in which someone may physically take one’s material property…identity theft is essentially taking your identity…by which one can then take everything. [1]

As we have referred to in the past, there is a far more ultimate identity theft that we may not even realize. We can refer to it as spiritual identity theft. Stakes are higher…and the terms far worse.

The Scriptures describe how we have surrendered our true identity to another… and live generally unaware.

We sold our birthright (so to speak).

Unless someone comes with greater authority… who can win that birthright back…we are lost.

And so Jesus comes to confront and reclaim us…and that includes a confrontation with the current owner of our souls.

As we continue our series… Encountering Jesus through the Gospel of Luke…we encounter Jesus… in that confrontation. [2]

Luke 3:20-23

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. 

This is the moment that the ministry of Jesus is inaugurated.

He calls on the prophet John to baptize him…in what is a unique baptism symbolizing being set apart for his mission. [3]

He is set apart with the Father’s blessing: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” and the Spirit's anointing for ministry.

The eternal ruler has entered humanity… and that identity is declared.

Only he is the eternal divine son…but humanity bears the image of God in the created world….and that is why he is coming to make that blessing possible for all to live in again.

Beloved son of proud father is what we all want ...deep affirmation of our being ... I don’t care how secular one beliefs are.

He was coming to reclaim God’s rule… but the first step may surprise us. Luke continues…

Luke 4:1-2

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 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.

If we stop and consider what is described in just these two sentences… there is so much perspective for understanding our lives and all we face.

He has just been blessed and anointed… it’s the point at which one would be honored…in which a king would then be led into a palace. But immediately he is led into the wilderness.

And we might assume that it is the enemy who comes after him… but no,,, we are told what was happening… “he was led by the Spirit into the Wilderness.” God who is ultimately triune in nature: Father, Son, and Spirit…is coming to confront the powers that rule this world…and that plan involves leading Jesus immediately into the wilderness….for a time in which he would be alone… fasting…and ultimately … be confronted by the one who rules this world.

From the most blessed moment to the wilderness. How naturally we might assume something had gone wrong.

It speaks to misguided assumption.

You can be in the center of God's will, you can be doing exactly what God would have you to do and right there you can encounter your greatest trials, your deepest sorrows, your most challenging times. Jesus is doing exactly what the Father would have Him do. He's led by the Holy Spirit, and it's precisely there that He encounters this great temptation.

So don’t be surprised if high times are followed by hard times.

Why would the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness?

Because there is a conflict that must be confronted… and a determination that must be forged.

That is what is happening. Jesus has just been given the full acknowledgement. This is his identity. But before he can move out in that… he is taken into the wilderness. [4]

Here he is… alone… hungry.

It is in such a space …and such a state…that the deepest determination is developed.

I have had some very defining moments in some public gatherings…BUT the deepest determination… but I would venture to say that it at some level I must work out things within.

It is in the wilderness that we must embrace who we are. [5]

And it is in that wilderness where we are most vulnerable…and where we will have to “face our demons”.

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