12. Jesus reads in the synagogue
JESUS came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. When he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
He closed the book, gave it again to the minister, and sat down. The eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him: and he began to say unto them,
This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.
And all bare witness, and wondered at the gracious words which pro-ceded out of his mouth. They said, Is not this Joseph’s son? And Jesus said,
Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
And he said,
Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidom, unto a woman that was a widow.
And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet: and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
They in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust Jesus out, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
¶Now Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison; and, passing through the midst of them, he went his way: and leaving Nazareth, he departed into Galilee: he came to Capernaum.
Jesus dwelt in Capernaum, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying,
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of heaven is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Repent: for the kingdom of God is at hand.
From that time Jesus began to preach; and he taught them on the sabbath days.
Scripture: Luke 4:14-22
Meditation 1 of 2:
In Jesus we see the grace of God in action. His gracious words brought hope, joy, and favor to those who were ready to receive him. Where did Jesus began his public ministry? In his own land of Galilee where he was reared. His proclamation of the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah brought wonder to his kin and townsfolk. Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to those oppressed by sin and evil (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus awakened their hope in the promises of God. They, in turn, received his words favorably and wondered what would become of “Joseph’s son”. Their hearts were hungry for the word of life and they looked to Jesus with anticipation and wonder. Do you look to Jesus with confidence and hope in the fulfillment of all God’s promises?
What did Jesus come to do for us? He came to set us free from the worst tyranny possible — slavery to sin and the fear of death, and the eternal destruction of both body and soul. God’s power alone can save us from emptiness and poverty of spirit, from confusion and error, and from hopelessness and the fear of annihilation. The gospel of salvation is “good news” for us today. Do you know the joy and freedom of the gospel?
“Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and dreams. Through the gift of your Holy Spirit you bring us grace, truth, life, and freedom. Fill me with the joy of the gospel and inflame my heart with love and zeal for you and your will”.
Scripture: Luke 4:23-30
Meditation 2 of 2:
How would you react if Jesus spoke this message from the pulpit on Sunday? It was customary for Jesus to go weekly to the synagogue to worship and on occasion to read the scriptures and comment on them to the people. His hometown folks listened with rapt attention on this occasion because they had heard about the miracles he had performed in other towns. What sign would he do in his hometown? Jesus startled them with a seeming rebuke that no prophet or servant of God can receive honor among his own people. He then angered them when he complimented the gentiles who seemed to have shown more faith in God than the “chosen ones” of Israel. They regarded gentiles as “fuel for the fires of hell”. Jesus’ praise for “outsiders” caused them offence because they were blind-sighted to God’s mercy and plan of redemption for all nations. The word “gospel” literally means “good news”. Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring freedom to those oppressed by sin and evil (see Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus came to set people free from the worst tyranny possible — the tyranny of slavery to sin and the fear of death, and the destruction of both body and soul. God’s power alone can save us from emptiness and poverty of spirit, from confusion and error, and from the fear of death and hopelessness. The gospel of salvation is “good news” for us today. Do you know the joy and freedom of the gospel?
“Lord Jesus, you are the fulfillment of all our hopes and desires. Your Spirit brings us grace, truth, life, and freedom. Fill me with the joy of the gospel and inflame my heart with love and zeal for you and for your will”.