by Christopher Harbin

This content is part of a series.

Salvation as Wholeness (50 of 52)
Series: Discipleship
Christopher B. Harbin
Luke 4:16-21; 8:18-23

Traditions about Jesus are not the same as Jesus. What we say about Jesus does not always conform to what Jesus said, what Jesus did, and what Jesus considered important. It's a difficult task to sort through our traditions to see what the Bible actually says and then come back to evaluating our traditions and pet notions about Jesus, the gospel, and what it means to be a Christian.

Not everything said from a pulpit coincides with the message of the Bible. Not everything claimed about Jesus is backed up by what the Bible says. Not everything we sing about Jesus matches up with the best witness to Jesus we have: the Gospels written by Jesus' followers and those closely related to them. Our standards practice, however, is to measure what someone says or what we read about Jesus to what we have already heard and accepted. That is the normal way of being human. It is not, however, the best practice for those who are sincere about following Jesus as Lord.

When we turn to Luke chapter four, we find Jesus addressing the purpose of his ministry in his own words and by quoting a passage of Isaiah. These are the words he chose to define for others what he was about. They were the words he chose as expressing his focus and what he planned to accomplish. If these are indeed words he used to explain the central tenets of his mission and identity, we should expect them to be the first concepts we associate with Jesus' teaching and ministry. Unfortunately, that is most often not the case at all. Instead of allowing Jesus to present the central essence of why he came, we have taken other texts that offer elements of our pet themes and issues.

It was not simply Luke chapter four, however, where we find Jesus offering a definition in regard to his central purposes in life and ministry. When we turn to Luke chapter eight, we find John the Baptist in prison and sending ...

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