Recently I was listening to an interview of the author of the book “True Reason”. He mentioned that one of the “new atheists” had written about how to “disciple” someone into atheism. One point stuck in my mind – there is no mention in that book about love. The author didn’t want to turn people to atheism out of loving concern for them. However they obviously have a passion for turning people to their way of thinking. I’ll leave you to speculate on that one.
In the passage from Luke, passions are starting to rise. It seems that some were starting to get uncomfortable with all the miracles of Jesus – healing the sick, raising the dead, driving out demons again and again. So they make a startling accusation – that Jesus’ power is demonic!
Ironically, still others demand a miraculous sign in spite of the litany of miracles already seen.
Jesus challenges his hearers with the truth of his actions. He is not acting for Satan, but he is the “finger of God” bringing on God’s kingdom.
The kingdom won’t be brought in without a battle against the “strong man” Satan. But in Jesus, Satan has met his match and he will be bound!
As Paul says in Romans 5:8:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God’s passion for his people will not be stopped until they are released from Satan’s power.
In Thessalonians we see Paul and his fellows passion for the people of Thessalonica. As Paul reassures them he makes it clear his motives did not come from evil:
- not from impure motives
- not from trickery
- not to please people
- not to flatter
- not from greed
But rather they worked to please the only one that matters – God. In this work he paints a picture of a mother – babe in arms. Can you imagine how passionately she cares for that child? So Paul, Silvanus and Timothy were with the Thessalonians.
Their work came from a passion for God and sharing his passion for his people. This is the passion that is the mark of the true church and true believers that have grown up under persecution in Thessalonica.
Stealing forward a few verses to verse 12, we see that Paul also says they were like a father to the Thessalonian. Exhorting them to live lives worthy of their God.
What a wonderfully balanced passion these first missionaries had for God’s people. What better model for us to not only gently nurture each other in God’s grace but also to exhort one another to run the race with passion and bring as many others along with us as we are able!
And unlike others, we can follow Paul’s lead in doing this out of the pure motive of love.