March 10, 2019
LENTEN DEVOTION – WEEK 1
MARCH 10-16, 2019
BY JILL DUFFIELD, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK EDITOR
Sunday | LUKE 4:42-44
Early in Jesus’ public ministry, he states his
purpose: I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God. I envy Jesus’ clarity of purpose, his ability to say no to the people eager for him to stay, even as they offer him praise and affirmation, in order to say yes to God’s call that entails uncertainty, risk and sacrifice. Jesus’ unwavering confidence that God sent him to proclaim good news – not just in familiar Galilee, but in the unknowns of Judea – propels him forward. Thwarting someone with a deep sense of divine purpose proves all but impossible. Even Jesus’ death on a cross could not silence the good news of the kingdom of God he came to proclaim and fulfill. During Lent, we are invited into a season of discernment about our call and purpose. Remembering that Jesus tells his followers that they too must share the good news and be his witnesses to the ends of the earth, whatever we do entails preaching the gospel. Even if we never step behind a pulpit or stand to speak in front of a crowd, no matter how we spend our days, whatever our circle of influence, as followers of Jesus our unambiguous purpose is to embody
God’s good news of great joy for all people.
This season of self-examination calls forth the question: Are we? Are we, like Jesus, offering the wholeness of God through our words and acts? Are we showing mercy and extending grace? Are we calling out evil and working for justice? Are we saying no to what may feel good or familiar so that we can say yes to taking risks for the sake of
the gospel? Before Jesus ventures out to preach in the synagogues of Judea, he departs to a desolated place. Jesus retreats in order to advance his ministry. These 40 days offer us the opportunity to do likewise. As we seek to discern how and where God is calling us to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, we are invited to find a place without distraction, where we can notice
our thoughts, name our fears and listen for a holy word of guidance that is no doubt very near.