Did You Know? –From Feasting on the Word

• Luke 4:14-21 offers a “keynote to the entire ministry of Jesus, setting forth the perspectives from which it is to be understood.”
• “Jesus went forth in the power of the Spirit as an agent of God’s mercy to the downtrodden, and so do we.”

The Gospel of Luke 4:14-21
(New Revised Standard Version)

14 Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “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,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading—Pastor Pam

We can have a limited view of what’s possible without the Holy Spirit moving in us and around us. It is significant that Luke sees the beginning of Jesus’ ministry as being fueled by the Spirit. He is full of the Spirit as he comes out of the waters of Baptism. He is led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he shuts down the devil with God’s word. He is filled with the Spirit as he begins his ministry on a preaching and healing tour of Galilee.

It is the Spirit within Jesus that convicts and heals. It is Spirit that empowers our response to him.

And it may well be that the people in the Nazareth weren’t open to the Spirit that day. Their own version of God’s truth was solidified in their minds and they could not see it or hear it any other way. Even with God’s son standing right before them, they could not see him. They were frozen in their interpretation of God’s word.

Perhaps this is the power of this scripture for us today.
Can we look at the words Jesus read that day and believe him when he said it is these words that he came to fulfill?

Or, have we set up barriers in our own minds and interpretation of his mission just as the people had in Nazareth that day?
The Gospel challenges us to have faith and believe in what the Holy Spirit can do in us. Jesus certainly challenged the people to believe that day. But their response was one of anger and violence.

Jesus challenges us today to have faith in his mission that is now our mission as his followers. We can’t do it on our own, but we can if we are filled with the Spirit. It’s imperative that we read God’s word with fresh eyes (as Jesus did) and that we seek the Spirit. How do we bring good news to the poor? How do we let the oppressed go free? How do we make this a year of favor and forgiveness? How do we even care to do so? How are we responding to Jesus?

Just as he did in the synagogue that day, Jesus calls us to a new course. Will we be angry and violent toward others, or will we commit to the impossible prophecy and prophetic voice of Jesus speaking God’s word?

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Pam