Sat. March 30

Saturday March 30, 2019

Today’s Focus                                 

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.

Today’s prayer

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.

4 thoughts on “Sat. March 30

  1. Pastor Jerry

    I definitely think that we constantly need to be reminded that part of Jesus’ ministry is to proclaim release to the captive because I think as soon as we put on our human body we are in bondage to the world around us and to our own sin.
    While I know that there is a divine spark inside of me, I also am aware that I have the ability to either place “veils” between myself and God and that the world will place “veils” between myself and God! Jesus releases us from this kind of bondage with the sure and certain knowledge that through the cross our sins and the sins of the world have found forgiveness in the sight of God!
    Truth be told, I have always had difficulty with folks who act as if they are in complete control of their life and of their faith and at least outwardly don’t think they need the teachings of a community or of a community of faith. I need to do a better job of looking into their eyes to see the divine dwelling within them and remind myself that while they might not even be aware of it, they are in desperate need of God and of the disciples God has sent into their path.
    P, B, & L,
    PJ

    Reply
    1. Lisa Mantz

      There was a time when I lived in Florida and my husband was unemployed that I thought God had abandoned me. Then a hurricane blew through the area and my house was hit by lightning, ripping a hole in the roof. Okay, God, where are you? Remember that patience thing? It’s not our timing, but His timing.

      Several months later my husband got a call from a company he used to work for in the Lehigh Valley and the next thing you know, we were back in Pennsylvania where our families were! How much did I need God when we were in Florida? More than I knew! Did it teach me some valuable lessons? Yep! But do I wake up every day grateful for my blessings? I try to, but……

      God isn’t finished with me yet…..

      Blessings to all…..

      Reply
  2. Mel Olenwine

    I think a lot of us feel oppressed in some way, whether that be at work, at home, or just in the general public. Freedom to be “ourselves” is hard in today’s world, but that oppression is much different from the oppression people experience(d) past and present in many lands around the globe. We all need to be set free from judgment, from condemnation, from feelings of worthlessness or shame. I’m sure there are many people who feel God’s blessings are only for “people in the church” and I think it’s a huge factor in people’s decision not to come to church – any church – and it is sad. I know plenty of people who are shining examples of God’s love in the world, and they never attend worship, and there are those I’ve encountered along the way who are not the nicest in secret but they’re in the pews every week. And there’s grace for that, right? Yes, there is indeed.

    Reply

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