Jesus emerges from forty days in the wilderness and goes to the region of Galilee, teaching in synagogues and getting favorable reviews. In his hometown of Nazareth he gathers with the men of the village at the synagogue and reads from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” He then adds, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” With these words, Jesus challenges the status quo.
This story continues the emphasis on the power of God’s word with which we began the week. Jesus proclaims that his coming fulfills the words of Isaiah 61. He is the long-awaited messiah who has come to usher in an era of good news—the kingdom is at hand. I find it interesting that Luke opens this bit of scripture with widespread approval of Jesus’ teaching. Luke 4:22 notes that “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.” Only in later verses when those in the synagogue realize that Jesus intends to bring release to all people do things turn ugly.
Having lived most of my adult life in urban areas, I have witnessed street preachers standing on street corners and in subway cars proclaiming the good news of release and healing. They enthusiastically and energetically offer the world the good news. Jesus claims Isaiah’s proclamation as his mission; it remains our calling and mission today. What hinders you from sharing the gospel in your daily life and routine?
Eternal God, may I proclaim and live out your good news. Amen.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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