God’s Sovereignty -in the Gospel of Luke-

Frans Hals, St Luke. mid-17th century

It amazes me how growing up in an Evangelical Arminian church, and being so involved in it, (even to the point of going to a Bible College with the same doctrine), I never saw God’s sovereignty. It was that my eyes were not yet open. My sight was blurry, I though I knew but now I understand that I did not know the Scriptures at all. I knew few verses here and there to support the teachings I received, but I did not study the Bible, I did not know my God.

But He called me out of the emotionalism, out of the ignorance and gave me light to see. This is the greatest miracle I have experienced! I was a passionate Arminian (even though I had no idea on what that meant, because who cares about terms where I was?) and now, I am a passionate Biblical believer, a paasionate Calvinist, Reformed, grateful from head to toe, from the inside out. I am grateful, forever grateful! Who am I that the Lord has set His eyes upon me and visited me?

God is Sovereign. And what does this mean?

“The sovereignty of God is the exercise of His supremacy.  God is the high and lofty One; no one is greater than He, equal to him, or any where near to Him.  And when this great God acts, when He goes about His divine business, then he does so in perfect freedom!  Sovereignty implies authority, and authority is the right to rule.  It is the right to do what one wishes, to decide what is good and evil, to impose one’s will on others and demand conformance;  authority is the right to reward obedience and to punish disobedience!  In close connection with this, soveriegnty is the freedom to do what one pleases without being answerable to anyone.  No one may question God as to what He is doing!”
Rev. D.H   Kuiper

I have been reading the gospel of Luke this week, and I have seen that God’s character, God’s sovereignty manifested clearly in several passages; but look at this particular one with me:

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.  And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”  And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.”

And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land,  and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.  And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”  When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.  And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.  But passing through their midst, he went away.”
Jesus reads the great good news and every one is happy.
Jesus tells them that those good news, such a powerful prophetic Scripture was now being fulfilled in their hearing, the people are not only happy now, “they all spoke well of Him and were marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth”. 
And here is where I stood, where I stopped reading. This is the gospel I grew believing and no more. It seems that I never read what was next. 
Jesus, has not finished his speech. He goes on to say that God is a Sovereign God, and as a Sovereign God He will not free every captive in the world, He will not free every poor, He will not give liberty to every single person in bondage, He will not give sight to every blind, He will not deliver every oppressed person, in sum, the “greatest good news” were not the “greatest good news for every one” 
The people’s reaction? They were all mad, furious, they were filled with wrath!
And this was my reaction too eight years ago when I heard this, when I read this for the first time, when I stood before a Sovereign God, and I did not want to believe.
But He had mercy on me, just as He had mercy towards one of the many widows in Israel, Zarephath, in Elijah’s time; I was in a land of famine and my pride was so built up, that I did not even recognize the famine in which I was living. I thought I was well fed.
God had mercy on me, just as He had mercy towards the one leper, Naaman, in Elisha’s time. He looked at me. I did not look for Him, I though I was clean, I sang in the praise and worship team, I taught, I even played the tambourine! But I was filthy, all those deeds were filthy rags; lights in a scenary pointing towards you,  make it harder to see your own leprosy. 
All in the synagogue as soon as they heard Jesus talking about God choosing some to receive the good news and some not to, were filled with wrath, they wanted to kill the One Sovereign God. That is not the kind of God they wanted. 
Maybe you are filled with wrath as you read this post just as the people in the synagogue were when they heard Jesus; know that my prayer for you today is that God will have mercy on you and that He will open your eyes to see the famine that has come into your land, and the leprosy that fills your heart.
May the good news be for you, poor soul!
May you hear His voice proclaiming liberty to your soul which is a captive of sin !
May you recover the sight!
May you be set free!
If you hear His voice today, do not harden your heart.

For further study:

Theological Term of the Week @ Rebecca Writes
The Sovereignty of God in Salvation by A.W Pink
The Absolute Sovereignty of God: What is Romans Nine About? by John Piper

4 thoughts on “God’s Sovereignty -in the Gospel of Luke-

  1. >This is a great post! I grew up in an Apostolic Pentecostal church and also missed God's sovereignty. My childhood church was focused so much on man. But, once you come into the realization of God's Sovereignty it really is amazing, breath-taking … there's no words to describe it really. And it is EVERYWHERE! Soli Deo Gloria indeed 🙂 I love your insight into these passages of Luke, I've never quite noticed it like that before.


  2. Becky, dear sister, I so identify with this post in so many ways!
    “I was a passionate Arminian (even though I had no idea on what that meant, because who cares about terms where I was?)”

    I too have been overwhelmed by reflecting on God’s sovereignty. Everywhere I look, I can now see it! Scripture proclaims it everywhere my eyes land! The freedom it brings is indescribable! How very blind I was! Thank God for His mercy and grace!

    Thank you for this great piece! Love and blessings!


  3. This is a very insightful observation of this passage Becky – one that I might have passed over. Oh, the amazing depths of God’s Word! Sometimes we just read it too quickly!

    The more I come to know this great Sovereign God of the universe, the more I must marvel – “But why me?” Even when I knew enough about Him intellectually to believe, I still was utterly bent on pursuing my own lusts. It nearly killed me literally, but He had mercy on me, a wretch!

    Sometimes we can become so familiar with these marvelous truths that such words roll easily off our tongues (or fingers while typing). Lord, please awaken my sleepy forgetful heart!

    Many blessing dear sister Becky!


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