“Then Jesus, armed with the Holy Spirit’s power, returned to Galilee and his fame spread throughout the region. He taught in the synagogues and they glorified him.” (Luke 4:14-15)
Jesus spent 40 days fasting and praying in the wilderness. At the end of the fast, Satan tried to lure him into sin, but Jesus stood strong. Luke 4:14 tells us Jesus left the wilderness armed with the Holy Spirit’s power.
Jesus headed to his hometown, Nazareth. The people in Nazareth were familiar with Jesus and his family. They knew Jesus when he was a baby, when he got in trouble with his parents, and when he argued with his brother. They had watched as he grew up.
On the Sabbath, Jesus went to the synagogue. Jesus stood up to read, the normal procedure for reading at the synagogue. The rabbi handed him the scroll of Isaiah to read to the congregation—also, normal. Jesus knew exactly the Scripture he wanted to read: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, and he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted, and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” The people must have sensed something different about this reading, because all eyes were fixed on Jesus.
It was normal for a teacher to stand up to read and sit back down to teach. As the people watched, Jesus followed the normal protocol. He rolled up the scroll. He handed it back to the rabbi. He sat down. The people were on the edges of their seats, wondering what Jesus would say about what he just read to them.
Imagine how stunned they were when Jesus said, “These Scriptures came true today right in front of you.” And, just like that, normal flew out the window. Things would never be normal again.
Can’t you just imagine their thoughts? “Oh, snap! Did Jesus just claim he was the Messiah? Mary’s boy?”
No one expected those words to come out of Jesus’s mouth. What they didn’t realize was that Mary and Joseph’s “boy” had just spent 40 days and nights fasting and praying in the wilderness. Because of this, he wrestled with Satan and won, he was armed with the power of the Holy Spirit, and he was ready to tell everyone who he was and what he was called to do. Game on!
The Messiah, the chosen one sent by God, the anointed redeemer of mankind publicly revealed his calling and purpose—when? Yes…right after he fasted!
Friend, we’re not the Messiah but we are purposefully called and powerfully anointed. God deliberately put us in this particular place at this precise time for a specific purpose. Fasting and prayer puts us in tune with God’s purpose for our lives. It empowers and strengthens us to walk boldly into that which God has called us to do.
Dear Father, I humble myself before you. I want to draw closer to you. Give me power and strength as I fast and pray. Help me be more concerned about your plan for my life than about my own plans or desires. Direct my steps. Help me to boldly live out the purpose and calling you have for my life. In Jesus’s name, amen.