Absolute Adventure

It is one thing to watch or read about an adventure, but it is another thing altogether to actually be a part of an adventure. Jesus invited his disciples to an extraordinary adventure of following Him. As we examine this adventure we will also recognize that God calls you to join the adventure of participating in His kingdom. Christianity is not a religion to ritually endure but a movement of faith, purpose, risk and adventure.

In Luke 4:14-19 Jesus describes the adventure he would embark. In this passage you can see the mission of Jesus’ life. By trusting and following Jesus you join the adventure of fulfilling His life’s mission.

Jesus’ adventure started at home (4:14-16).

Before Jesus entered his public ministry he was led by the Spirit into the desert, where he fasted, prayed and worshiped. At the end of his time there he was tempted by the devil. He resisted the devil’s distractions. Following this experience he returned to areas near his home to begin his public ministry and life mission. The catalyst for his adventures was the leading of the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit directs and guides individuals to follow His will. The same was true for Jesus as he returned in the “power of the Spirit” (v.1, 14, 18).

Significant to note is the beginning locations of Jesus’ ministry was in His hometown. He could have started in places of more significance with greater numbers of people like Jerusalem or other places; yet he chose Nazareth. God has a way of choosing the lowly and weak things of this world to cause our faith to rest in His wisdom and not man’s (1 Cor 1:27-31).

Teens (and adults & churches) who are seeking to live for God in bold ways have a tendency to do so in far away places but struggle to do so in their own home. Learning to live for God is about doing so consistently. I do not mean to reduce sanctification down to human effort, only to say that God has a role and so do each of us. And both roles must be fully viewed in every phase of life. Christianity starts where you are and moves outward. Jesus started at home and moved out to accomplish His mission.  

  • Why is it easier to be bold in faith away from home but not among your family and known friends? Or, why do you disagree that it is easier?
  • What are some ways you can make your home life a bold Christian adventure?

Jesus’ adventure started with Scripture (4:17).

As Jesus began to unfold His life’s mission he went to the synagogue and he read from the Scriptures. His custom was to participate in local community of faith and that is where He identified His calling. Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1-2, with each phrase proclaiming the centrality of good news – Jesus’ rescue mission of hope and grace.

When believers want to discern their calling they often forget to search the Scriptures. Or, if they do so they do not know where to begin. This passage is a helpful place to start because it shows Jesus’ primary vision for ministry. As He began, it was the Spirit that initiated movement, the community of faith surrounded and supported (“all spoke well of him and were amazed at his gracious words” v.22. Even though later most would reject him, specifically His hometown.) Him and the Scriptures were His guide. The Scriptures gave a blueprint for how Jesus would perform ministry and mission for others.  

  • How does the church (Christians) help you discover your life mission?
  • The regular intake of Scripture directs you to follow God’s will. What is your regular intake like? What is your plan for reading the Bible (time, passage, etc.)? Who can hold you accountable with this?
  • Share & discuss your life verse with someone (a favorite or one that speaks to how God is working in your life).

Jesus’ adventure brought life change (4:18-21).

The people of Jesus’ day were desperate. They had endured countless generations of exile and enslavement. They experienced God’s silence as they wondered if God would hold to His promise of deliverance and destiny. They were also extremely timid under the powerful rule of Rome. The Jews yearned for change that was never thought possible. Jesus was quoting OT prophecies offering hope and promised fulfillment (v.21) of this hope in His coming and ministry. However, the change He would bring was not militarily or governmental but personal change.

In the 21st Century there is lots of talk about change and reform. The reality is that no government or social change will really bring about what is needed. Today’s world needs personal life change; a heart change that only God can bring through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus. The gospel is good news because it brings about life change which in turn has the power to alter social views and behaviors.

  • If you were going to change the world, how would you do it? What changes do you think are needed?
  • How does the gospel bring life change?

Jesus’ adventure is misunderstood (4:22).

As Jesus identified His mission many were surprised at His words. They wanted to celebrate but were confused because they thought they knew Him as “Joseph’s son”. Jesus would never overcome this hometown cynicism. Even after Jesus performed miracles of healing and raising the dead they still misunderstood the life change Jesus offered (18:34; 20:1-8; 23:6; 24:19-27). Jesus sought internal heart change while they wanted external rearrangements. Later, Jesus’ followers would point to His greatest adventure not in His miracles but in His suffering which brought eternal hope and life (Acts 2:22-39). 

Today many also misunderstand Jesus and the gospel. Christianity is not just something that you add to your life for interests sake. If you truly understand the impact of the gospel then you understand that not a religious system but a Person invades your life and creates a new identity and purpose for you to live out. Who’s adventure are you living?

Steve Jobs, legendary co-founder of Apple Computers, successfully recruited Pepsi-Co president John Sculley to take over as CEO of Apple by asking him, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” You must ask yourself, ‘Do I want to live for a world that will waste away or an eternal kingdom that will last forever (Heb 12:28; 1 Peter 1:4).

TAKING IT HOME

  • Adventures often happen among a group of individuals. Has your “youth group” or church attempted any God-adventures? Share some.
  • What does it look like for teens to…
    • Proclaim good news to poor?
    • Proclaim freedom for prisoners/heal the brokenhearted?
    • Recover sight for blind?
    • Release the oppressed?
    • Proclaim God’s favor?
  • Why is it easier to be bold in faith away from home but not among your family and known friends? Or, why do you disagree that it is easier?
  • What are some ways you can make your home life a bold Christian adventure?
  • How does the church (Christians) help you discover your life mission?
  • The regular intake of Scripture directs you to follow God’s will. What is your regular intake like? What is your plan for reading the Bible (time, passage, etc.)? Who can hold you accountable with this?
  • Share & discuss your life verse with someone (a favorite or one that speaks to how God is working in your life).
  • If you were going to change the world, how would you do it? What changes do you think are needed?
  • How does the gospel bring life change?
  • What one adventurous thing for God will you do this week?
  • What are some long-term adventures that God may be leading you to develop in your life?

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