Week 26 | Section 39
Though Jesus had already shown sufficient evidence and declared himself to be the Messiah, when Jesus reads from the scroll the prophetic words “The spirit of the Lord is upon me…” from the scroll of Isaiah – we catch another glimpse of God’s eternal purpose and his plan to see it accomplished.
16 He came to Nazareth,1 where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom,2¯3 into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.4¯5 17 The book6 of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news7 to the poor.8 and He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim release9 to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver10 those who are crushed, 19 and to proclaim the acceptable year11 of the Lord.” 20 He closed the book,12 gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him.13 21 He began to tell them,14 “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”15 22 All testified about him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, and they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”16 23 He said to them, “Doubtless you will tell me this parable, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in your hometown.’ ”24 He said, “Most certainly I tell you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.17 25 But truly I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land. 26 Elijah was sent to none of them, except to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 There were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed, except Naaman, the Syrian.”18 28 They were all filled with wrath in the synagogue, as they heard these things. 29 They rose up, threw him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill that their city was built on, that they might throw him off the cliff. 30 But he, passing through the middle of them, went his way. 31 He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee.19¯20
- What habits have you
- What is holding you back, what besets you?
- With which group do you identify most often (doubt, disdain or awe)?
- How and where are we to minister among unbelievers today?
God’s eternal purpose, divine foreknowledge, Jesus’ mission, Fulfillment of prophesy, spiritual authority, spiritual disciplines, freedom, healing, wholeness, the value of traditions and customs, evangelism, witnessing, homily, sharing the good news, God’s plan of salvation for Gentiles and Jews.
- Jesus had just been in Cana of Galilee (John 4). This is perhaps ten months after his baptism.
- It was Jesus pattern to go to the Synagogue. His custom as a Jewish man. Scripture mentions two other customs (habits) of Jesus: teaching, and prayer. Not only was this a custom among Jewish people, but going to the synagogue gave him an opportunity to reach the Jewish peoples with the Good News. Six times (see: Sections 39, 42, 44, 51, 70a, 132a) the Harmony of the Gospels record that Jesus went to the synagogue and taught. Sometimes also healed the sick. Once when he was a boy (section 18) Luke records that his questions and answers were astonishingly wise. Twice while visiting the temple during the Passover, he overthrew the money changers tables, (Sections 31, 129b). Jesus primary reason for going to the temple was to share the good news about the Kingdom of God, that the Messiah was in their midst, and that the law of Moses and prophesies were being fulfilled at that very moment.
- Early Christians and the Apostles also made a habit of going to the synagogue and temple courts (Acts 2:46-47; Acts 5:12,19-20; Acts 13:14-16; Acts 14:1; Acts 17:1-3, 10-13; Acts 18:19). Their habit followed that of Jesus for the same reasons – to teach and share the good news (Luke 4:15; Acts 2:14-41). They knew Jesus had fulfilled the Jewish prophecies and law and redeemed both Jews and Gentiles as was his purpose. It was not Jesus’ intent to set up another religion. It did however became more difficult for the Christ-followers to enter the temple as the Pharisees applied pressure to quell the movement and remove Christ-followers from the temple. This began even while Jesus was alive (John 9.22 | Section 100c) but by the 3rd century during the reign of Constantine, we see the establishment of the “Christian church” and its separation from Judaism as a new “religion”. From a missional perspective using the synagogue as the primary place of teaching became problematic for the Apostles as gentiles became disciples. There was no need for them to become Jewish or take on those temple customs (Acts 15; 1Cor 9 ).
- There is no historical record of a lectionary cycle at this time (but later in late 2nd or early 3rd century). While there was a custom of recounting the creation story, and also reading from the book of Moses (Acts 15:21), it is most likely that minister of the service would allow a teacher to select a reading of his own choice at the assigned time from either the law or the prophets (later referred to as the haphtarath) and then offer a homily on the same. Jesus was handed the scroll of Isaiah and he chose the the reading, Isa 61:1-2.
- For an in depth historical perspective on this custom read both “The New Testament and the Jewish Lectionaries” by Leon Morris, and Michael Graves, The Public Reading of Scripture in Early Judaism.
- a scroll
- deliverance, fulfillment
- The poor in spirit, downtrodden, and even the devout believer for all have fallen short of the glory of God
- set free
- the year of Jubilee – the year the Jewish peoples were set free from the law and free to live in the abundance of God’s grace.
- a scroll
- Perhaps there was there a pause here as the people were struck in awe
- beginning his homily now
- Jesus clearly understands his identity as the Messiah and purpose here on earth. The Jews had first heard the prophesy of the Messiah about 500 years before. Ever since they hoped and waited for the promise to be fulfilled. Read this explanation of the Messiah from the perspective of a Christian member of Jews for Jesus and also this modern Jewish expression.
- Among those gathered there were probably some filled with doubt, and others with disdain or and some with awe as perhaps they began reasoning as they thought about the promises and Jesus’ actions, teachings, and lineage. Read also: John 6:42; John 7:46
- See also Mt 13:57; John 4:44
- Interesting that the one he mentions is a gentile 2Kings 5:1-27. This is a sign of his mission and authority as Messiah to both Jews and Gentiles.
- This is a journey that takes about 10 hours, 2 days.
- Luke 4:31b is picked up in Week 28 | Section 42 (phase 3).