Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit.
Reflect: They could not handle the reality that Jesus showed them (Luke 13:10–17). It would have been hard for us, too—right? How embarrassing to have taught error for so long. To have excluded people from healing and blessing others on Sabbath and then to see this man from Nazareth appear and turn the world upside down. It takes a lot of courage and humility to accept that change is needed. No one likes to be wrong.
Change is deeply troubling to some people and extremely attractive to others. Some people can quit smoking or eating cream cakes with a simple flick of their fingers. Others can’t walk by an aisle stocked with junk food without putting something in their grocery cart. The Spirit of God nudges us all the time toward change—as He did with the leaders in that synagogue—yet our reaction (like theirs) is often to immediately reject Jesus by defending whatever practice we want to maintain. It is all too easy to defend our actions. It is all too easy to justify our positions. It is all to easy to excuse our preferences.
Transformation requires submission of the heart to Jesus. When you embrace Jesus, your life is changed. This is really difficult. We would like to believe that we are becoming more self-sufficient with age and experience. This is the attraction of “final generation” theology, of fundamentalism, of legalism, and of right-wing extremism. When you know everything and can control everything, you no longer need to submit to Jesus and you can feel pretty strong and confident in yourself. The Protestant Reformation (whose 500 year anniversary is coming up this October) was partly founded on the idea of salvation by faith alone. Five hundred years ago we were called back to the idea that salvation is all about Jesus.
This is probably the most powerful reality in Christianity—even for those who are new to it or for those who have rejected it because their individual experience was horrible. Christianity is not a brand. It is not a denomination. It is not a creed. It is not a logo. It is not a statement or series of statements. It cannot be fully contained because it is the Way, the Truth and the Life. It is all about Jesus. When you accept that, you experience a constant desire to discover more about Him.
Recalibrate: What has Jesus called you to change in your life?
Respond: Pray for greater insight into who Jesus is.
Research: Who was Chuza and why is he listed in Luke 8?