Fulfilling God's Beloved Plan

This is the time when we focus on the appearance and public expression of Christ in this world. We have understood and joyfully celebrated the birth of Jesus on Christmas. Now, we center on how Jesus' presence is made known to the world, not only to the believers in God who watch for Jesus and prepare for his second appearing.

This awareness was first characterized by the story of the Magi, or spiritually based learned men, who were guided by a star that was positioned by God in the East which led them to the place where Jesus could be discovered, and once found, they reported Jesus' presence everywhere that they traveled as the Messiah.

When Jesus became a man he prepared for his public ministry and went to his cousin, John the Baptizer, to be baptized in the Jordan River, and afterward Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, went out into the wild and unpopulated area surrounding the Jordan River to be tested by Satan, his adversary, as he fasted from food and water for 40 days and nights while remaining in deep prayer. After fulfilling that time of testing, Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth to declare his public ministry and announce himself as the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

Jesus wanted to show his great love for humanity as he prepared for his ministry by being baptized and submitted to testing by Satan, then by risking his life as a living sacrifice to fulfill his role as Messiah and Savior of all humanity. The Biblical account of Jesus' efforts to fulfill his part of God's plan for humanity is the basis of the Good News of God's love that we live by.

We are thankful for Jesus loving us that much and we realize the great gift of divine grace, which is God's unconditional and undeserved love that we have been given if we choose to accept it. Jesus gave everything to fulfill his part of God's plan for the salvation of this world. However, God's plan for the salvation of the world is still yet to be fulfilled. We, too, have a part in that grand plan.

Does everybody need to fast from food and water for 40 days and nights and pray while being tested by Satan to prepare to fulfill our part of God's plan? The vast majority of us would experience a deadly health crisis going through such a test since that kind of fasting is life-threatening, so it is not recommended for most people.

Nevertheless, we do have God's word to guide us on what is required of us as we prepare to do our part in fulfilling God's plan. You can find a major part of that requirement if you read Luke 4:14-21, our scripture for this week. Reading the entire third chapter of Luke as well as Luke 4:22-44, will give you a deeper understanding of the circumstances that Jesus faced as he went about fulfilling his part of God's plan. It will guide you too as you make your preparations.

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