Lord, I thank You for those who have encouraged me in the faith over the years. May You bless them today as they have blessed me.
Read LUKE 4:14-21
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
We need to be reminded that “today” is God’s word; “tomorrow” is Satan’s word! (See Luke 23:43; Heb. 3:7.)
Jesus’ fame had been spreading, and when he went home to Galilee he returned different from the boy they had known growing up. He returned “in the power of the Spirit” (14). And he claimed that he was compelled and equipped by that same Spirit to be the fulfillment of Messianic scriptures (Isa. 61:1,2; 58:6), verses about blessing rather than judgment. Three times in the Greek text in v. 18 the pronoun “me” is used in a way to indicate emphasis on the “me.”
He read a Jubilee text (Lev. 25), widely applying the themes of good news to those who are poor, needing healing or freedom from debt and captivity. The gospel of God was for all people, including those on the margins and even those outside Israel. For example, the Greek word for “release,” used in Leviticus to describe what happens in the Jubilee Year, occurs here twice. This was no mere ethical code or system of beliefs. Jesus was ushering in a new era of salvation in the fullest sense. It was here now. And he was to be the means of it happening. For the listeners, that was a remarkable claim, and we will soon look at their reactions.
For us this is the good news upon which we are to base our lives as Christians. In this the “today” word (21) is important. Jesus’ contemporaries didn’t doubt that God’s kingdom would come some day, but they probably weren’t expecting God to be at work in their midst just then. Jesus’ teaching was different, though, in that he saw God acting in the present. How about you? Are you familiar with the words but don’t expect the immediacy of “today”? Think again. Isn’t the sheer scope of what Jesus promised breathtaking?
Prayerfully reflect on Jesus’ announcement. How might that apply in your workplace setting or other place, and what could you do about it?
Heavenly Father, may Your Kingdom come, may Your will be done in my life and around me today, as it is being done in heaven.
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