When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way. (Luke 4:28-30 NLT)
Relate: I am terrified of heights. It is mildly ridiculous. I am even nervous going up a ladder. This is why I found myself facing a real challenge as I stood at the edge of platform 15 feet above a pit of water during a Tough Mudder. A Tough Mudder is an endurance event series in which participants attempt 10–12-mile-long (16–19 km) military-style obstacle courses. It tests mental as well as physical strength. The event is designed to push participants to their limits, and I began to fear that I had reached mine. I could run the 12 miles and climb over, under, and through various insane obstacles, but the 15 foot jump had my number. I was on the edge of defeat. It took everything in me to overcome this obstacle. Rather than jumping into the small pond below, I basically crouched into the fetal position and forced myself to fall into the water. It wasn’t pretty, but I came out feeling as though I could conquer the world.
Luke 4 tells how Jesus faced his own endurance event of sorts. His mental, physical, and spiritual strength was tested as he was led by the spirit into the desert for forty days of fasting and temptation. He overcame each obstacle the devil put in front of him by speaking the truth of God’s word in power. However, after the devil exits the scene, it is the proclamation of God’s word that pushes him to the edge of a cliff. Jesus speaks truth to the people, and they are none too pleased with his words. They were angry because Jesus’s references to the old testament prophets revealed that God was going to bless all people groups. This stretched their understanding of who God was, and it angered them to hear that God would give his favor to such undeserving people. Although Jesus was forced to the edge, he did not curl into the fetal position. Instead, he passed right through the crowd and on his way to conquer sin and death for the world.
React: Life is an endurance event that tests our mental, physical, and spiritual strength. Thankfully, because of what Jesus did on the cross, we are not in this alone. We have a teammate who has overcome every obstacle and is willing to show us the way, give us a boost, or carry us through if need be. The best part is that his assistance is not reserved for those with special birth rights or qualifications. When the obstacles seem too great, we can remember he is fighting for us, and he wears the victor’s crown.
God, thank you for accepting me as I am. I praise you for the assurance that your strength is sufficient when I have reached the end of my abilities. Help me to both rely on you and to guide others to find their strength in you. Amen.