The Holy Gospel: February 3, 2013 (Year C)

Read:  Luke 4:21-30

Meditation:  “The Challenge of Fulfillment”

We are masters of deferral and delay.  But Jesus is the “here and now” igniter of fulfillment.  He stood before people in his home town who had known him since he was a baby, read from the scroll of Isaiah, and said, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

The reaction of the congregation is not unlike our own—we say in words or in our minds, “What do you mean fulfilled?  If something is fulfilled, it means we have to take it seriously and do so right now.”

Ask any pastor, and he or she will tell you that they were doing okay until they said, in effect, “today, this scripture is fulfilled”—we are supposed to actually do this!  I once visited with a discouraged pastor who put it this way:  “My folks told me they wanted a spiritual leader, until I tried to lead them somewhere.”

The challenge of fulfillment…we never escape it because the Word of God is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).  The fact is, the scripture is fulfilled; it’s not waiting for us to vote to make it so.

And maybe that’s why true biblical living is always “painful” in some way.  We are always catching up with the Reality God desires for us and our environments.  And the catching-up process (as the writer of Hebrews puts it) always cuts and pierces, bursting the bubbles of our status quos and calling us to recognize the Messiah in our midst and follow him.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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2 Responses to The Holy Gospel: February 3, 2013 (Year C)

  1. Tom Pope says:

    Steve, once again you capture the essence of what I intend to preach tomorrow. People are going to think I’m copying you. This happens when brothers and sisters are “on the same page” with the Spirit.

  2. Gary says:

    Great words … I hope your first month of retirement has been fulfilling … although based on your comments looks like you are busier in retirement than before. GC

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