Did you know that Jesus’ coming was first told in the Old Testament? It was, so the Jewish people were waiting for the Messiah to appear and the prophesy to be fulfilled. Jesus grew up in the town of Nazareth, so the people knew Him from the time He was little. When this story (Luke 4: 14-21) takes place though, Jesus was a grown man and had been away from Nazareth for quite a while, but the people still remembered Him. They had been hearing about all the wonderful things Jesus had been doing in other cities.
One Sabbath, Jesus was back visiting Nazareth and went to the synagogue (the Jewish church) to worship. The person in charge of the scrolls (long, rolled up paper that the Bible was written on before books) asked Jesus to read the Scriptures that day. This was a great honor, so everyone watched as Jesus laid the scroll on the desk and chose the verses He wanted to read that day.
Jesus picked verses from Isaiah 61:1-2 where it says, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me because He has sent Me and picked Me to preach good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, give freedom to the captives, release the prisoners, proclaim the day of vengeance of God, and comfort all who mourn.” The people had heard this Scripture many times before, but they weren’t sure whom God was sending to do all these things. Just as they were wondering about this question, Jesus sat down and said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” In other words, Jesus was saying, “I am the one that God is sending to make these things happen. I am the one that Isaiah is talking about here.”
The people didn’t expect that! They started murmuring, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” How could He ever be the Messiah? Jesus and His father Joseph were just carpenters. All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard Jesus say these things. Jesus went on to say, “No one is a prophet in his hometown.” The people were so mad, in fact, they drove Jesus out of town and took Him to the top of a hill and intended to throw Him off the top, but the Bible says, Jesus walked right through the crowd and went on His way.
Oh my! The people in the synagogue that day certainly missed a blessing by God’s Son. Today, we know that Jesus was God’s Son who came to earth to do everything He said above and even more. He died on the cross to save us from our sins and helps us every day and never leaves us alone. Hopefully, we will never be like the people of Nazareth that Sabbath and doubt Jesus as our Savior.
Let’s say a prayer. Father God, thank You for sending Jesus to proclaim the Good News to us all. Help us to never doubt His love for us and His ability to help us whenever we need Him. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.