A “quiet time” is simply being intentional about having a conversation with God. This usually means listening for God’s voice by reading the Bible or devotions, and speaking to God through prayer. Jesus did this numerous times in the Gospels, sometimes slipping away all night or in the early morning, to spend time with his Father.
Here are some well-respected reading plans that can help you plan this time, they all come with mobile optimised options so you can even take them with you as you travel to work.
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What is the most amazing thing God has done in your life? Take time to express your thankfulness.
The congregation has a ‘mood swing’ – going from admiration and amazement (v 22) to anger and aggression (vs 28,29). There is praise, but it is misplaced praise. Although all are ‘amazed’ by Jesus’ gracious words, they have misconceptions about the kind of Messiah he is, they misunderstand the scope of his mission, and miss his message of grace.
Jesus, unwilling to allow silence to signify assent to these misconceptions, sets about correcting their thinking. The two stories he cites could not have been unfamiliar to a congregation well-versed in the Old Testament scriptures. But the ‘moral’ of their message was clearly unpopular! While appreciative of Jesus’ gracious words to them, the people resisted God’s grace towards those regarded as ‘outsiders’. Yet, as far back as the Abrahamic covenant, God had declared that ‘all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’ (Genesis 12:3). Israel were chosen to be dispensers of God’s grace. But although they clung to their covenant privileges, they were reluctant to fulfil its responsibilities.
Messenger of grace
This will not be the last time an admiring crowd turns into an unruly mob. It happens in the early church (Acts 14:11–19). The message – and messenger – of grace is not always well-received.
In what situations are you struggling to extend grace? Seek God’s grace to be a generous and gracious dispenser of his amazing grace.
In claiming Isaiah’s prophecy, Jesus anticipated antagonism, especially in Nazareth where he was known only as the carpenter’s boy. The initial reaction was amazement at his eloquence. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ (v 22). This important verse indicates Jesus’ unremarkable childhood. The spurious gospels rejected by the early church contain fantasy stories of a miracle-working wonder boy who could not have been forgotten in Nazareth.1 The real boy Jesus seems to have made no such impact. This suggests that Jesus’ childhood was normal, growing up as an ordinary young man in an ordinary village. As he spoke on this occasion, however, the mood in the synagogue changed to hostility.
The people of Nazareth read their Scriptures as a promise of God’s exclusive covenant with them, including deliverance from oppression. Jesus came announcing deliverance from oppression but his was a different kind of deliverance. The full Hebrew text of Isaiah speaks both of ‘freedom for the captives’ and ‘release from darkness for the prisoners’ (Isa 61:1). This freedom was from the captivity of sin and evil; this release was from spiritual darkness. This liberation was for all poor and oppressed, irrespective of nationality, race or gender. Jesus made this ‘radical inclusiveness’2 strikingly clear with Scriptural examples of two great prophets through whom the grace of God extended beyond Israel to two Gentiles – one a woman, the other a man.
When the Nazareth congregation heard this, their commitment to their own community boundaries took precedence over their joy that a prophet had come among them. Their minds were so closed to the notion of others sharing in the bounty of God’s deliverance that, finally, they themselves were incapable of receiving it.1 Eg Gospel of Thomas, Greek Text B, III
2 RA Culpepper, ‘The Gospel of Luke’, The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, Abingdon, 1995, p108John Harris
● came to prominence during the reign of Ahab (874–853)
● prophesied that God would send a drought as a wake-up call to Ahab (1 Kings 17:1–7)
● during the drought was miraculously provided for by ravens and later a widow in Zarephath (1 Kings 17:1–16)
● opposed Ahab’s idolatry and injustice and achieved a notable victory over the false prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:1–46)
● was used by God to restore the widow’s son to life 1 Kings 17:17–24)
● fled for his life after the victory on Carmel and, possibly suffering from depression, had a profound experience of God at Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:1–21)
● confronted Ahab over his unjust acquisition of a vineyard from a poor citizen (1 Kings 21:1–29)
● was taken to heaven in a fiery chariot (2 Kings 2:1–14), thus giving rise to a song beloved by England rugby supporters, though few would know its origins!
● was Elijah’s successor
● was called by God and anointed by Elijah (1 Kings 19:15–21), and asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (2 Kings 2:13–18)
● working with Ahab during the reigns of Ahab and Ahaziah (853–852), he came into his own in the reign of Jehoram (852–841), Jehu (841–814), Jehoahaz (814–798) and Jehoash (798–782)
● led groups of prophets
● was greatly used by God to show his power in a number of situations, both personal and national (2 Kings chapters 2;4–7), including the healing of the Aramean general Naaman from leprosy (2 Kings 5:1–27)
Elijah and Elisha are important for Jesus at this point because:
● their calling as prophets mirrors his
● they too experience rejection
● they ministered to those outside Israel
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