THE LONG PAUSE
Lord, give me Your heart of compassion.
Read Luke 4:14–21
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
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 favor.”[a]
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.”
a Luke 4:19 Isaiah 61:1,2 (see Septuagint); Isaiah 58:6
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectAsk the Spirit to speak into whatever situations you’re facing today through today’s Scripture.
We see once again (as in yesterday’s reading) the convergence of Spirit and Scripture. It is the Spirit who anoints Jesus for mission (18a); it is the Scriptures that spell out what this mission entails (18,19). “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). This commentary on Jesus’ “hidden years” is also true of the early part of his public ministry. Awareness of Jesus is widespread (14b); he gains acceptance (15a), wins approval (15b), invites attention (16b) and arouses interest (20b). “In the power of the Spirit” (14), Jesus exercised an uncontainable influence.
This first coming of Jesus heralds “the year of the Lord’s favor” (19; Isa. 61:2a)—a very long pause before “the day of vengeance of our God” (Isa. 61:2b)—which is the final judgment that will accompany Jesus’ second coming, the “other side” of the coin of salvation.
We don’t have the sum total of Jesus’ sermon, but the brief comment that Luke records represents a staggering claim: “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (21b). Jesus didn’t merely preach deliverance; he himself is our deliverance. Our response to Jesus now, during this long pause, has eternal implications.
For what work, for what tasks today have you been anointed?
Spirit of the Sovereign Lord, give me all I need to be part of Your mission.