August 13, 2012
“I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities.”
Luke presents the Lord Jesus as the dependent and perfect Man. His prayer life is given emphasis in Luke. His emotions and compassion is depicted both in parables and in His dealings with men. As a Man, He came to give God all that humankind should have given God but did not. As such, out of love for God, He placed Himself under the responsibility of self-imposed imperatives. These are seen as we trace the word “must” throughout the Gospel.
We first encounter it in the well-known story of the boy in the Temple: “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). The same word is employed by Luke in chapter 9:22; 13:33; 17:25; 19:5; 22:7, 37; 24:7, 26, 44, 46.
Most of the contexts of the word “must” have to do with the necessity of His suffering and death. But what we have in Luke 4:43 is different. It is not His death in view, but His service for God to men. This ‘must’ reveals His priority: “I must preach.” He had come to announce God and the Kingdom of God. He had been sent by the Father to reveal to humankind the necessity of being prepared for the Kingdom of God. Neither popularity with the crowd (ch 4:42), nor the frown of His enemies (ch 5:21-26) could deter Him from the great priority of His life.
He had a clear sense of purpose in coming: “I must preach … for therefore am I sent.” The will of God Who had sent Him was what was prominent in His thinking. Nothing less than His will was permitted to shape His thinking or determine His movements. Men may acclaim Him and desire Him to remain among them (v 42), but man’s will did not enter into the equation. He had come to do the will of God.
We see the patience and grace of the Lord Jesus as well. His fame is increasing (ch 3:14; 4:23, 31, 37), His power is the talk of the area (ch 4:37), and He has climbed in the rankings on the popularity charts (ch 4:42), yet He does not suddenly rush in to Jerusalem to claim the spotlight. He is content to remain in Galilee, humble, lowly Galilee, and to preach in their synagogues. He will wait God’s time.
We would applaud any believer who was able to rise to this standard of submission to God’s will, in obedience to God’s plan. But when we think of Him, what makes it all the more a cause for worship is that these were self-imposed imperatives, and not the result of a debt or obligation. Willingly He came to place Himself under the responsibility to “be in His Father’s things,” to “preach the kingdom of God in other cities,” and “that He must suffer many things.”
1. We would think that verse 42 would suggest an open door for the gospel and we would rush in and preach. He departed into other villages. Why do you think He left Capernaum?
2. Mark’s Gospel depicts a number of desert or wilderness scenes; but Luke’s Gospel also shows us Christ in the desert. Look at what sustained Him in desert conditions.