Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pull Out to Get On Pace

Oh, The Places!

There is a lot to look at when analyzing text. Particularly sacred scriptures. There's doctrine, lessons, cross-references, actions... the list goes on and on. Different passages of scripture lend themselves to various kinds of analysis. Luke 4 is particularly kind to setting—where is Jesus? It is very interesting to see how Jesus conducts himself in various settings and what that can teach us about our own reactions when we find ourselves in these same places.

The Private Place

Finally, we see Jesus withdrew to a place by himself. All alone. With no one around. He just stepped on a major platform in the Pious Place and saw his fame explode. He demonstrated his emphasis on relationships in a very Personal Place. And now, he seems to regress by going to a place where he can have no direct influence on any individual.
When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them.
—Luke 4:42 NASB 
After all that Jesus went through to build up his ministry, Jesus takes a time-out to be alone. It seems counter-intuitive. When one's work begins, it is typically recommended that they continue. Write consistent blog posts. Record consistent podcasts. Get on the radio at the same time each week. Keep preaching. Keep visiting. Keep your name on the headlines so they don't forget you.

Clearly, this is not Jesus' M.O.

A Potent Pause

We should not be surprised in the least to see Jesus take out time to be by himself. He did this many times during his time on earth. He did it earlier in Luke 4 while tempted in the wilderness. He does it on the Mount of Transfiguration (with a select few disciples). He goes by himself o pray and sends his disciples across the sea (then joins them by walking on water). He even goes off by himself in the garden of Gethsemane. The scriptures clearly indicate that this is not a one-off event, but a life habit which Jesus carefully cultivated.

What does Jesus do when he is by himself? He does many things. As I just mentioned, he goes by himself to face temptation, to pray, to reinforce his purpose and to pour out his soul. It is a time of renewal and cleansing. The intimacy of these episodes are palpable. And we know that Jesus would never miss an opportunity to go to the private place.

If the Personal Place deals with those people we know best on this earth, the Private Place deals with a one-to-one relationship with the God who knows us best. In the Personal Place, our relationships with family and friends are intimate and a priority. In the Private Place, we are completely naked before our God, and those things we can manage to keep secret from our closest earthly relationships will certainly be unveiled.

It is an unnerving thought, to say the least. But it is a critical practice for anyone who fancies himself a follower of Christ.

While the Private Place is the last place mentioned in the chapter, we can see that everything emanates from here:
  • Our Private Relationship with God places us in the right frame of mind with a clean conscience.
  • Since we are in the right frame of mind with a clean conscience, we are open and honest with our Private Relationships.
  • Our openness and honesty in our personal relationships gives us credibility as a witness in the Public Place, which includes ministry in the Pious Place.
  • Though I have not written a post on Jesus' Wilderness Experience, we can easily see how a strong foundation will help us when we enter the Perilous Place of temptation and persecution.
May we be like Christ and deliberately enter the Private Place with the intent to strengthen our relationship with God. This will have a positive effect on the rest of our life.

Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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