Lent 2022 Day 38
Thu 14 Apr
Luke 4 Jesus' manifesto
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’
After a successful tour of the region Jesus returns to his home town. He’d been preaching in the places of worship, and what he’d said clearly touched the people who’d listened to him.
In his home town there is little interest, as this was just the local boy who’d been away for a while coming back. What Jesus does in his home synagogue, a place he’d been to all through his childhood and into manhood, is to make the grand announcement of himself and his mission – his manifesto. He is about to come out, to announce to his homies that he is the Anointed One.
I love the drama of the ordinary now becoming the extraordinary. The locals may have heard that Jesus was causing a stir in the region, and attendance that Sabbath day may have been higher. The scroll of Isaiah was handed to him. Was it the one he’d asked for, or was he given it to read from?
Jesus knew what he was about to do. He was going to tell his family and friends and the other folks of his town who were sitting in that synagogue that dormant Scripture was going to be fulfilled – right now.
He finds the place (Isaiah 61, verses 1-2) and reads out the words. I encourage you to read them out loud, imagining how Jesus would have said them, and how he was going to preach good news, freedom, healing and release, and to those listening, those words were still unfilled prophecy – will someone turn one day to claim those words for himself or herself? When will they come alive and alight on someone? Who is going to proclaim that this is the year of God’s favour? Imagine also what is going on in Jesus’ mind, knowing what he knows, and setting out his stall – I’m sure that his human nerves would have disturbed the butterflies in his stomach.
The scroll is rolled up and handed back. Jesus sits down again, and everyone looks at him. He looks at them. Time stands still, and time leaps forward in bounds of centuries from the day the words were written to this Sabbath day.
He speaks. The congregation reacts.
How well does the text from Isaiah describe our church’s and our own personal ministry?
What might you add to that text for the mission of the church today?
Do you have a “today” experience when a promise of God, or a word spoken over you, was fulfilled?
When in his life do you think that Jesus had heard or read those words and realised that they were about him?
Father God, my destiny in you is planned and written. I ask you to reveal this to me as I pray and listening, read and meditate on the Bible, hear what you are saying through others and what you communicate through your Holy Spirit within. Amen.
The Spirit of the Lord: