Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Luke 3:1-14, 21-22; 4:5-8, 9-13; Romans 6:1-6; Isaiah 14:13-14
On a daily basis the news shouts to us of another approaching presidential election. Headlines and pundits tout the names, political ambitions, and follies of prospective candidates. Who might run and how will they announce their candidacy? What lurks in their past that can be used to prove them an unworthy contender?
According to The Politics and Governance Portal, four stages comprise the steps in “The Mechanics of Presidential Candidates. Stage 1: The Pregame Warm Up. Stage 2: Informal Feelers, leaks and Exploratory Committees. Stage 3: Announcement of Candidacy. Stage 4: Primaries and Caucuses.”1
Citizens may be excited, wearied, or indifferent as the election process nears, but these stages are splattered throughout the news from the day a new president is elected until the next election when the process begins all over again.
In our Sabbath School lesson this week we study the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. One might find it interesting to examine how it was introduced. Let’s take a moment and look at the stages, or events involved.
At the age of 12, Jesus, along with His parents, attended the Passover in Jerusalem. Thinking that He was with the throng of people traveling together, His parents started on the journey home. During that time, Jesus met with priests and rabbis in the temple. Amazing them at His depth of understanding and the questions He asked, He spent three days discussing with them. When His parents located Him, He told them that He must begin being about God’s business. However, from that time, until Jesus reached 30 years of age, we hear nothing. The news reports went silent, so to say.
John the Baptist prepared the way for the next step of Jesus’ ministry as he preached about the coming Messiah, baptizing those who accepted the message of forgiveness and turning away from sin. Jesus officially declared His purpose when He ask John to baptize Him. God’s seal of approval, in the form of a voice and a dove, settled on Jesus. Jesus was indeed the Son of God.
The next step found Jesus fasting and talking with God in the wilderness. Their conversation lasted for 40 days. Finally, Satan once again tried to bring this mission to a halt by tempting Jesus. Unsuccessful, Satan went away until his next opportunity.
Those who have chosen to pursue Jesus’ example of being baptized and following God’s leading, can experience the power of a new life. Then they can know the joy of beginning their own public ministry, according to the gifts God has given them.
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