“Life’s most persistent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

When Jesus is living through us, our lives look a lot like His.  Please don’t get me wrong; it doesn’t take too close an observation to tell the differences between us and Him.  But I do know that when we act like Christ, the family resemblance cannot be denied.

Read Acts 17:2.  You’ll see Paul visiting a village and entering the synagogues there – “as was his custom.”  Read Luke 4:14-16.  You’ll recognize a phrase.  “Jesus returned…in the power of the Spirit…and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as was His custom.”

Did you notice?  Jesus’ custom became Paul’s custom.  How did that happen?  Did you notice the other phrase in Luke 4?  “…in the power of the Spirit…”  From the point of Jesus’ baptism on into His ministry, the Spirit had been with Him at all times:

  • The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus. (3:22)
  • Full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. (4:1)
  • Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. (4:14)
  • And Jesus read, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me…” (4:18)

The same Holy Spirit who powered and led Jesus during His earthly ministry is the same Holy Spirit who lives in you and me now.  So then, as a result, when Jesus is living through us, our lives look a lot like His.  But what does that look like in our lives?  Notice in Luke 4 that when Jesus returned to His hometown synagogue, He read from the scroll of Isaiah.  Jesus listed five things He intends to accomplish, through the Holy Spirit:

  1. Proclaim good news to the poor
  2. Proclaim freedom for the prisoners
  3. Recover sight for the blind
  4. Set the oppressed free
  5. Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

Five different things, yet they all have this in common: help the helpless.  Jesus came as the Son of God to help helpless people.  And because He lives in us, that is our calling, too.  So, the question for each of us is, “How do we best get to the point of our lives reflecting Christ?”  The answer: making His custom of being in church our custom.  Each of us needs each other, according to God’s Word.  “Not forsaking the gathering” is another way of saying, “entering the synagogue as was His custom.”  If Jesus needed to be in church, how do our reasons for not being in church stand up to scrutiny?