Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
As we walk in the footsteps of Jesus right where we live, work, and play, fully alive to God's heart for the nations, with confidence we can make ourselves available to friendships from people in other cultures. People from other countries and cultures are moving in next door to us, right where we live. When they do, we remember when God told Abraham, “I will bless you and . . . all the families on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen. 12:2–3, emphasis added).
Throughout the Old Testament, God kept pressing Israel to be a light to the world, sending Jonah to the Ninevites, Daniel to the Babylonians, and Esther to the Persians. He placed Jerusalem “at the center of the nations,” with lands around her, so the people called to stay at home could still affect the surrounding nations (Ezek. 5:5). God told the prophet Isaiah, “I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth” (Isa. 49:6).
As we interact with soccer moms from China, Uber drivers from Ghana, and elderly grandmothers from Punjab, let’s speak life over people by demonstrating the way life is supposed to be, as Jesus did. The center of many nations are actually coming to us, and we can be a light. Because of our close connection with Jesus, ours should naturally be the life that pours expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet in a humble act of genuine worship, to the whispers of disapproval about this choice (John 12:3–5).
It’s the life that turns over the tables of money changers in the Lord’s temple, speaking of justice in God’s house, in an act of righteous rage because “passion for God’s house will consume me!” (John 2:13–17). It’s the life that fills jars of oil for starving widows while hiding from authorities who wish you dead, and speaks life and faith into action (1 Kings 17:8–16). It’s the life that spends all night praying on a mountain and then chooses twelve disciples to follow him (Luke 6:12–16). Lavish worship, zeal for justice, extreme faith, intense communication with God—all four of these stories illustrate how Jesus modeled the life we are called to live.
As we walk in the footsteps of Jesus right where we live, work, and play, fully alive to God’s heart for the nations, with confidence we can make ourselves available to friendships from people in other cultures. Let’s spend a few minutes asking God to help us see the world as He sees it, for our hearts to mirror His heart, and for new friendships with people from other countries as we follow Jesus, right where we live:
Dear Lord, please shatter any misconceptions we have about our role in reaching the nations. We want to believe that from the very beginning You meant to bless us with the good news of Jesus so that we could be a light that would bless the whole world. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
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