The Servant of the Lord

Today's Bible reading: Luke 4:16-30

The first recorded sermon of Jesus shows Him taking up the prophecy of Isaiah 61 with its promise of good news for the poor, prisoners, blind, and oppressed when the Messiah arrives.  To the amazement of His friends and neighbors in Nazareth, He announces: I am that Spirit filled prophet telling you that this prophecy is now coming true!  The signs foretold by Isaiah are here.  Now - today - is the hour of salvation!

Jesus’ is met with mixed reviews.  While the hearers praise His preaching … Jesus knows that His message will not be accepted by all.  And that’s how it has always been in Israel's past.  When Israel's prophets were rejected by the nation, God showed His mercy to “outsiders,” – to pagans like the window at Zerephath and to Naaman the leper.

That God should include non-Jews in His plan is outrageous … so the people of Nazareth tried to kill Jesus.  It is amazing for us to consider, but consistent with His purpose: He is marked for death from the beginning.

Jesus’ ministry begins with victories over Satan, but also with this episode in Nazareth that foreshadows His rejection.  Our lives typically include a similar mixture of successes and rejections. That’s why we do well to focus more on the end of the Gospel story, for there we see resurrection, God’s greatest victory over sin and the devil and the revelation of His grace and mercy for us.

Prayer: Eternal God, give me grace when I face temptations from the devil and assaults from the unbelieving world.  Remind me that You have already overcome these things for me and even now are preparing a place for me in Your eternal presence.  Amen.