What promise of God are you relying on today? What is your need that Jesus can fulfill? From what bondage can he free you today? Will you accept the good news of Jesus that he is more than you thought he was? Will you embrace him as the promised one of God?
16 [Jesus] 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:
“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,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
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.”
22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.
Luke 4:16-22, 24
Today’s reading is very important in the conversation about the identity of Jesus. There are still those who say that Jesus did not make claims to be God or the Son of God or Messiah. This interaction at the Synagogue in Nazareth provides some clarity for us, very early in Jesus’ ministry, about his claims and intent.
“Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” I am the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. I am the one, anointed by God, who is proclaiming these things and declaring the year of the Lord. Jesus. Little Jesus. Joseph’s son. How could it be?
We cannot ignore the claims of Jesus, yet we also must see that part of his story of rejection in our world was the rejection of Jesus by his own neighbours in Nazareth. No prophet can be accepted in his hometown. Ahhh… then Jesus was a prophet?
Recall that Jesus asks his disciples who he is in Matthew 16, and after ‘prophet’ and other answers are given, Peter answers, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” Not a prophet. Messiah.
Jesus came to fulfill Isaiah’s words and more. He came to proclaim the good news and freedom for prisoners, and sight for the blind, and freedom for the oppressed, yet Jesus didn’t stop at proclaiming good news. Jesus is the good news. He is freedom for all. He is sight for the blind and the healer of our ailments. Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise of God.
And so, what promise are you relying on today? What is your need that Jesus can fulfill? From what bondage can he free you today? Will you accept the good news of Jesus that he is more than you thought he was? Will you embrace him as the promised one of God?
Or will you be like his hometown neighbours, discounting him and running him out of your town, your home, your life?