Saturday March 30, 2019
Today’s Scripture Reading
Luke 4 New Living Translation (NLT)
14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. 15 He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come”
20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21 Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
22 Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips. “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
23 Then he said, “You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’ 24 But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown.
25 “Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner—a widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon. 27 And many in Israel had leprosy in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian.”
28 When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. 29 Jumping up, they mobbed him and forced him to the edge of the hill on which the town was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, 30 but he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.
Daily Reflection Pastor’s reflection
This passage, while brief, reveals a great Divine truth about Jesus’ role among us! The people of Jesus’ hometown understood holy Scripture to be God’s exclusive covenant and promise to the people of Israel. Jesus came to fulfill that covenant, not exclusively for the people of Israel, but all people. This passage serves as a great reminder to all of those brought into the covenant God made with Abraham that God did not only bring deliverance and freed from bondage sin only for the Christian or the Jewish person, but rather Jesus does this for all people.
In light of recent events at home and abroad there seems to be many in the Christian community who believe that somehow prejudice, hate and violence towards non-Christians is somehow acceptable and perhaps even pleasing in God’s sight. This is most certainly NOT TRUE by Luke’s account of the life and teachings of Jesus, at least in this faith denomination’s understanding of Holy Scripture and more personally in my own understanding of God’s teaching.
From this point forward Jesus will be sharing ministry with ALL people, regardless of culture, beliefs, social status, gender or any other barrier which might separate people. God offers unlimited grace through the life of Jesus, yet the power of this grace is not limited in the world by anything God has done, but rather this grace seems to have limited power in the daily life of people because the very people God delivered are not always open to God’s will.
Can you imagine how much more God’s power and light might be felt in this world if we, the children of God were simply ready to transcend the boundaries of our culture and the limits of love that we ourselves have created?
Some questions for reflection
- Jesus says that He came in order that the “oppressed” will go free. Do you believe you need to be set free? From what?
- Do you see in your own life, even within our community, people who believe that God’s promises/covenants are exclusive for the people in the church? How might this passage speak to those people?
Today’s discipleship challenge
During Lent we are called to self-reflection, ask someone who knows you well if there is a group of people that you might think “less of.” Then in your prayers today you might ask God to see these people in a new light.
Almighty God have mercy on us all, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, open our eyes to see that the ground beneath the cross is level and allow our hearts, our minds, and our actions to live a life that demonstrates this truth. In Jesus’ name we ask these things. Amen.