JESUS' SERMON AT NAZARETH
Luke 4:14-30 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 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 preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour."
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, and He began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." 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. Jesus said to them, "Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'" ."I tell you the truth," He continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed--only Naaman the Syrian." All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But He walked right through the crowd and went on His way".
Jesus went in the power of the Spirit. He was anointed to preach, teach and heal. The Seven-fold Holy Spirit of God was upon Him in unlimited plenty. No other has received the Spirit of God in full measure, only in different and varying degrees.
Jesus is the Bearer of The Holy Spirit; His ministry is uniquely marked by The Spirit's presence as foretold.
The priests of the Old Testament were set apart for their offices by being washed in water and anointed by holy oil, a symbol of God's Holy Spirit. Jesus was anointed, not with literal oil, but with The Holy Spirit. Christ was baptized in The Jordan River and The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended upon Him. Kings were also anointed with holy oil, which now sustained Jesus' three-fold offices. He was Prophet, Priest and King.
Jesus always had the Spirit with Him, with Christ The Holy Spirit dwelt and lived, so that at all times, at all places and all circumstances The Holy Spirit met any emergency.
Jesus came to Nazareth of Galilee in the north and having gained a popular reputation in other communities nearby throughout that region, the reports of His successful ministry had preceded Him. The news had spread of miracles and healings through His ministry, for it was customary to invite guests to preach.
Nazareth lay among the ridges of the southern slopes of the Galilean hills and although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He was brought up in Nazareth in Galilee. Jesus' hometown was not His headquarters for His Galilean ministry. Jesus' regular custom of worship not only followed the Jewish Law but also set an example for all His disciples.
Synagogue authorities would invite people to read, preach and teach. The Sabbath's community service was used for debating as well as worship in accordance with the custom of courtesy. The synagogues had seven readers every Sabbath, the first a priest, the second a Levite, and five other Israelites that were members of the synagogue. Jesus however, would have been a member of the Nazareth Synagogue. The books of The Old Testament were written on scrolls and handed to the appointed reader by an attendant.
Jesus was invited to read and comment on the day's selection from The Prophets. The scroll of Isaiah was given to Him. It was customary to stand while reading Scripture but to sit while teaching. Not only Christ stood up, but also all those gathered also stood for the reading. To stand for the reading of God's Word was a mark of respect.
After reading the quotation from Scripture Jesus sat down and applied the words to Himself. He began by saying that the prophecy He had just read was being fulfilled, not in a future age but then in their presence, the power of sin was to be broken and communion with God was in the present.
The entire verse that Jesus read tells of The Messiah's ministry of preaching and healing to meet every human need and had always been accepted by Israel as a prophetic piece of Scripture referring to God's Messiah. Jesus claimed to be a royal figure of King David's line and to have a prophetic mission.
To His hometown fellowship Jesus applied the striking Messianic Prophecy of Isaiah to Himself and proclaimed Himself the fulfillment of God's plan and promise in Himself, since He is the figure described in the passage.
Jesus referred to Himself as the Servant, The Anointed One of God and referred to divine qualification, anointed by The Spirit of The Lord.
The quotation has significance both as the statement of Jesus' call to His serving ministry and the affirmation of this ministry. Jesus Himself is a prophet.
Jesus made it clear that He is God's Anointed messenger that declares God's way.
Jesus proclaimed God's grace to deal with problems that have inflicted humankind throughout History. The striking predictions of Isaiah related to His ministry and great mission.
The year of The Lord's favour was not a calendar year but a period when salvation would be proclaimed, the Messianic Age. Jesus proclaimed liberation from sin and its consequences. The present age of grace is the accepted time and the day of salvation.
The quotation of Isaiah refers to the Year of Jubilee, the year of The Lord's Favour when every 50 years slaves were freed, debts were cancelled and ancestral property was returned to the original family.
The acceptable year of The Lord of Jubilee allowed for a brand new start. The year of Jubilee reverses all to the former state. The era is of grace.
The effect Jesus' Sermon produced from His audience was marked attention, proper and necessary, filled with astonishment and wonder. They knew of His great wisdom, tenderness and love, but the crowd was spellbound by prejudice, they did not believe He was someone special sent of God. "I tell you the truth" is the expression of the authority of which Jesus spoke.
Jesus predicted that His own people would reject Him and the 'good news' will include the Gentiles. They wanted proof but Jesus refused.
His claims of being The Messiah startled His hometown community. The response to Jesus' sermon was met with unbelief even though His ministry was a fulfillment of Scripture and were outraged to hear a hint that God's ultimate plan included Gentiles to be among the people of God.
Jesus replied to their reasoning by implying Gentiles were more open to God's prophets. The mention of God helping two non-Israelites reflects concern for Gentiles. When Israel rejected God's messengers of Redemption, God sent them to the Gentiles and continued to do so when they refused to acknowledge Jesus.
Jesus affirmed that Gentiles are also recipients of God's Grace. The prophets Elijah and Elisha went and helped Gentiles because God sent them. Jesus spoke of widespread unfaithfulness to God in the past and He knew God's prophets had previously been rejected. Jesus warned His listeners not to be unfaithful by rejecting His message.
Jesus was persecuted at Nazareth. They interrupted Him and themselves in their Sabbath devotions in a hostile manner. The turn of the message aroused the people' anger. The crowds at Nazareth condemned Him because of His favourable attitude toward Gentiles.
Having resided amongst the community they now thought He was not fit to live. They were incited by hatred and the mob had purposed to kill Him, The Son of God. Jesus allowed the crowds to drive Him to the edge of these hills but by unexplained means He made His way out from the hostile community and neighbours. He barely escaped with His life. They refused The Truth and He was removed from them. He simply walked through the violent mob unhurt.
Jesus knew the affections of humankind were very fickle. The Messiah had come.
During His ministry while on earth Jesus healed the broken-hearted. He proclaimed freedom to the captives of sin, He gave sight to the blind, physical and spiritually. Jesus set at liberty the oppressed also physically and spiritually. Jesus offers a total cancellation of spiritual debt and a new beginning to those who respond to His message.
The True spiritual Israel will be a Kingdom of priests among the Jews and Gentiles to minister as well as perform their service unto God in the Name of Jesus Christ.
To the world, Jesus came with the message of life. He bestows the blessings needed. Jesus has compassion, He came to instruct and to offer the Truth to those whose condition was in great need of salvation, preach to their hearts.
His mission today still is to proclaim the 'good news' to the poor and needy, the prisoners, the oppressed and the wounded. These are not only the unfortunates of the world but those who are willing to depend upon God. All of humankind are spiritually poor and needy, are oppressed spiritual prisoners and are spiritually wounded without salvation of Christ.
Jesus' Sermon defines the time in history when God in sovereign Grace brings freedom from the guilt and effects of sin.
|SCRIPTURES Luke 4:14-30.
QUESTIONS 1] Who did Jesus claim to be? 2] What did Jesus declare His ministry to be? 3] Did Jesus affirm God's plan to include Gentiles? 4] Why didn't the people of Jesus' home town of Nazareth believe Him?
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