Patient Lord, You are a gentle surgeon, but a surgeon still. Cut me free from my consuming self-will.
Read LUKE 4:14-21
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Imagine yourself in the synagogue at Nazareth. You knew this man when he was a kid. What will he say to you now?
We have seen Jesus in the wilderness with John, at his baptism; in the wilderness to face the devil; and now in the backwaters of Galilee, at his home town, Nazareth, where he will be recognized as Joseph’s son. Luke now focuses on his human identity. Jesus maintained the practice of attendance at the synagogue on the Sabbath, where he had an opportunity to teach. After the reading of the Law there would have been a reading from the prophets, and often a visiting rabbi would be invited to speak.
Verses 17-21 read like a mission statement as Jesus begins his public life. The words he reads from Isaiah are familiar enough (Isa. 61:1-2; 58:6), but he puts them together in a new way, stating, for those who will hear it, that God’s mission was his own mission, and omitting Isaiah 61:2b with its reference to the day of vengeance. He had come for the poor–not just the economically poor, but all those of low status. Luke, the beloved physician, has learned from his Lord and writes especially of those who were not held in high esteem or were rejected outright: women, widows, lepers, tax collectors, Gentiles. The rest of his gospel will tell of Jesus’ ministry to them all. Frequently Luke will hold up as an example people whom religious Jews would have dismissed: the Roman centurion (Luke 7:9), the sinful woman (7:47), the Samaritan leper (17:15-16), tax collectors 18:14; 19:9) and, the supreme example, the Good Samaritan (10:36-37). Pedigree, ethnicity, religious affiliation, social status–none of these counts in the kingdom that Jesus came to bring. He was aware that he had been anointed and he was clear about his mission.
The church over the last two thousand years has not learned this lesson well. Praise God that in our own times some of our leaders are learning from Jesus afresh.
How are you, in practical ways, working with Jesus so that his kingdom may come?
Holy Lord, I fight a daily battle against the pressure of a godless culture. I need Your help to see Your world through Your eyes.
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