“But God” are two of the most important words we could ever hear. We were dead in our transgressions and sins, justly deserving His wrath and curse, but God made us alive with Christ by grace. Further, He has not only shown us His mercy, kindness, and love once, but keeps showing it to us every moment of every day. Whenever we find ourselves lost and undone, there is a “but God” moment He uses for His glory and our good. Best of all, in the ages to come we will see that we have only just begun to fathom the depth of His love for us in Christ.
In this passage from Luke we will look at several important vignettes from Jesus’ opening public ministry phase where he relocates to Galilee. These early stages of his public ministry are characterized by powerful words and deeds, which demonstrate a power and authority never before seen by the people there. This results in early and growing popularity, but also early opposition, which Luke juxtaposes throughout Jesus’ life.
Few topics seem more unpleasant than the wrath of God. Some people deny it entirely, suggesting a God of love cannot have wrath. Others seek to downplay or soften it. Most simply ignore it despite hundreds of biblical references. But as D.A. Carson says, “A wrath-less god does not make him more attractive. It makes him morally indifferent.” God’s holiness demands judgment against sin and without wrath Christ died for nothing. It is precisely because we were once objects of God’s wrath that God’s grace to us in Christ is such good news.
The discouraged, poor, and weak Christians in Ephesus needed to be reminded of the hope, riches, and power that were theirs in Christ. In particular, they needed to be assured of the power of their resurrected, triumphant Lord who rules His Church as its invincible King and Head. Beleaguered Christians today still need to hear of our invincible Lord and the power He continues to exert through His body, the Church.