Let us pray that the Spirit will be poured upon us from on high.
When people stop listening to God’s Word, their life becomes ‘a desolate wasteland’ (Zechariah 7:11-14). What are we to do when we see this happening? – ‘Do not be afraid… Be strong’. We must keep on believing God’s promise: ‘I will save you, and you will be a blessing’. We must keep on praying that our faithful witness will bring others to the Lord: ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you’ (Zechariah 8:13, 23). We must pray that ‘the Spirit will be poured upon us from on high and the desert will become a fertile field.’ ‘Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father’ (Isaiah 32:15; Matthew 5:15-16).
Through the power of the Spirit, we are born again.
‘Glorious things are said of you, O city of God… The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion”. As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in You”’ (Psalm 87:3, 6-7). The ‘city of God’ is our glorious destination – ‘we are looking for the city that is to come’, ‘the Holy City’ (Hebrews 13:14; Revelation 21:2). It is also the place of our heavenly birth – ‘This one was born in Zion’. The heavenly birth – This is where our journey to the ‘city of God’ begins: ‘No one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above’ (John 3:3). Between our heavenly birth and our glorious destination, there is life in the Spirit: The Psalmist says, ‘All my fountains are in You.’ Jesus says, ‘Rivers of living water shall flow from the heart of anyone who believes in Me’ (John7:38).
The Spirit leads us to call upon the Name of the Lord and be saved.
To ‘Jew and Gentile’, God says, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (Romans 10:12-13). The Jews had praised the Lord Jesus: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!’. Before long, they were shouting, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him!’ (John 12:12-13; 19:6). We rejoice that the Gospel has now come to the Gentiles. We remember also that God still ‘holds out His hands to Israel’ (Romans 10:19-21). Still, Christ says, ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem… How often would I have gathered your children together…’ (Luke 13:34). ‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem’, for the advance of the Gospel among the Jews (Psalm 122:6). Pray also for the ‘voice’of the Gospel, ‘going out into all the earth’ (Romans 10:18). Pray that ‘faith will come as the Word of Christ is heard’ (Romans 10:17).
Through the power of the Spirit, we are led in Christ’s way of victory.
Having overcome His enemy, Jesus begins His ministry. Satan will be back – Luke ends his account of Jesus’ temptations with these ominous words, ‘When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left until an opportune time’ (Matthew 4:12). Satan will try again, but – for now – he has failed to stop Jesus setting out on His ministry, a ministry which brings light into the darkness. The light is shining brightly – ‘the Kingdom of heaven is near’ (Matthew 4:17). Jesus’ ministry is viewed as a fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy (Matthew 4:15-16; Isaiah 9:1-2). The prophecy had been given: Death will be overcome, men and women will be delivered from ‘the shadow of death’. Now, in Christ, the prophecy has been fulfilled: by His death, Christ has destroyed ‘him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil’ and He has set ‘free’ those who live in ‘fear of death’ (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Christ’s victory over the world was won for us (1 John 3:8: 5:4-5). Jesus was not a loner. He was a team leader: ‘From victory to victory His army He will lead’ (Church Hymnary, 481). At the very outset of His ministry, He set about putting together His ministry team. Peter, Andrew, James and John were the first four disciples. He called them to follow Him. His call was both gracious and demanding. It is gracious because it is the Saviour who calls us: ‘Follow Me.’ It is demanding because He calls us to follow, to submit to His Lordship: ‘Follow Me’. These men were called to a new kind of ‘fishing’ (Matthew 4:19). Jesus’ ministry reached ‘great crowds’ through His ‘teaching… preaching… and healing’ (Matthew 4:23-25). This chapter sets the scene for Jesus’ ministry. We see the Word of the Lord triumphant over Satan, fulfilled in Christ, and effective in the lives of the disciples and the crowds.