The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19)
Throughout His ministry, Jesus was a popular teacher with some and despised by others. Early on, He was popular in His hometown of Nazareth, but that changed in Luke 4. Upon returning to the town after being away, Jesus went into the Synagogue to teach. Unrolling the scroll, he finds a passage in Isaiah 61, which Luke quotes for his readers.
After concluding the reading, Jesus sits to instruct the people, as was the custom. He boldly proclaims that this Messianic prophecy has been fulfilled in their midst this very day. This was a bold claim. To the people, it was perhaps too bold, bordering on outrageous. At first, they were amazed at Jesus’ teaching, but later that amazement turned to doubt and disbelief. After all, wasn’t this Joseph’s son?
Why were a people so eager for the Messiah so dismissive about this proclamation of grace? Perhaps it’s because they knew Jesus. They saw Him growing up. They saw Him playing in the streets. They saw Him as one of them. And this did not fit with their expectations for who the Messiah would be. And because of their past experiences, they found this truth unfathomable: that Jesus was the Messiah of which Isaiah is prophesying. The truth was hard to accept because of their own preconceived notions about Jesus.
What preconceived ideas do you have about Jesus? I often hear people talk about abortion, homosexual marriage and other controversial, difficult topics by using the phrase, “My God would never…” The problem with that statement is that we often fill in the blank with our own notion of who God is, not the truth of God.
What truth from God’s Word are you having a hard time accepting? Where are your own ideas about God causing a rift between you and Him? How does the Lord Jesus give you new eyes to see His grace? How does He set you free from the things oppressing you? How does He proclaim for you the year of the Lord’s favor?
Published January 2012