Wow, I can’t believe it has been more than 2 weeks since my last post! Well, you know what they say, “Time flies…” A few weeks ago we had the great opportunity of taking a camping trip to visit some friends in Birmingham, AL, and we haven’t slowed down since…lol!
Anyway, I have been excited to share something I came across the other day (10/17/12), which is taken from the story in Luke 4: 14-30, NIV. Please read it in it’s entirety for reference, but the verses that stood out to me the most were Luke 4:16-21:
Luke 4:16-21, NIV:
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
So, after visiting Capernaum and some of the surrounding areas to teach, heal, and perform miracles, Jesus had returned to His hometown. Upon His arrival, all were speaking well of Him, since news about all of His good works and teachings were spreading throughout the region.
Jesus often taught in the synagogues and was generally praised by all who heard him. Well, one particular Sabbath, He went to teach in a synagogue of Nazareth, where many had gathered and He gave them the ASTOUNDING message:
“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” He was referring back to Luke 4: 18-19.
*Side Note: The Spanish version of Luke 4:19; TLA (found below), literally translates to: “and to announce to all that: This is the time God chose, in order to give us salvation!” I, personally, got a better picture of what was going on when it was said this way!
So, essentially, He was telling His community (paraphrase), “This is the time God chose to give us salvation – the year of His favor is upon us -” then it says, Jesus closed the book, sat down, and with all eyes on Him, He started [his teaching] by saying, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
*Side Note 2: During that time, “it was customary to stand while reading scripture, but to sit while teaching” (*note taken from: The Archeological Study Bible). This is important because it was while sitting, He declared to them that everything He had just read had been fulfilled, or completed in their hearing.
WOW! So many things interest me about these verses. One of which, is the picture of Jesus’ authority to say such things in public. Then, if you read further, it says the people spoke well of Him and praised His teachings. This is GROUND-BREAKING!!
If you really stop to think about it, you will see that the first part of His teaching, could be seen as such a controversial statement that He could have been thrown out of town then and there for blasphemy. I mean, He just basically told the people: “Ya know that prophecy, the old prophet Isaiah spoke about, and is part of our Holy scriptures? Well, it was about Me… and today, with all of you as witnesses, it has been fulfilled.”
I would have been like, “Wait! Hold up!! Did he just say what I think he said?!?! He just straight up claimed the scripture of old, where God promises to bring salvation to the Earth, has been fulfilled…that it is Him God has sent…and this is all going down, in my church?!”
That is a pretty BIG assertion for anyone to make! Imagine… you’re sitting in church listening to a guest speaker, who happens to be your neighbor’s son, and everything is going on as normal in the sermon, you start to nod off a bit, and then BAAAMMM! He suddenly states that he is, essentially, “God’s gift to the world!” I think I would have been a little skeptical… “Oh, really?! YOU’RE the Messiah?! And you chose little old Nazareth to come and announce that our salvation has come?”
Surprisingly though, the people did not react that way at all. In fact, they all spoke well of Him, saying how gracious His words were, and incredulously asked each other, “Isn’t this Joseph’s boy?” I think they reacted this way, because they had heard of the miracles He had performed and believed Jesus was who He said He was and, perhaps, were proud, in a sense that the Messiah was from their town.
Now, after this, Jesus could have stepped down from the platform, walked about the people healing their ailments and performing other miracles in their presence to prove what He was saying was the truth. Did He do this?
No. He then went on to tell the people that No prophet is ever really accepted in his own hometown and that He would be no different; He told them He would NOT be doing any miracles in their town that day.
And THAT is when ALL hell broke loose!!
“Wait, wait, wait….. Whaaat?! Oh, No He di-int!! I know that fool didn’t just come up in here and say He’s the Messiah an all dat, but ain’t doin no miracles here b/c this where He be from!!! Girl…can you believe dat smack?” “So, I said, ‘If you’re not here to prove yo self, you can just walk on! You brought us a message and left the goodies down the street? What kinda trick is that?” (Yes, that’s how the Isrealites of old talked … *wink, wink* lol).
But, seriously, it did make them angry enough to drive Him out of town, to the edge of a cliff where they had planned to throw Him off, before He slipped through the crowd and left from there.
It’s funny… NEVER, in that moment, did they call Him a blasphemer. They were proud… and they knew what He was capable of, because cousin Jo-Jo who lived in Capernaum called last week to tell them his best friend who was lame, could now walk. They “knew” all right, and they fully expected Him to be who He said He was. They even commended Him on His speech, up until that point.
They were looking forward to the wonderful works they were bound to see after service that day. They were anxious to see how Jesus would prove Himself to them by showing them what was meant by His declaration of God’s favor & salvation being completed in their presence that day… it was probably so exciting they could hardly wait… “Isn’t that Joseph’s boy? I’ve known that family for years… Jesus has always been such a good kid… actually, I’m having dinner with them later (one may have boasted).”
All of this “…ooh-ing &ahh-ing…” and clamoring over His gracious execution of speech- to be told in the end, “Ya know guys, a prophet is never really liked or trusted in his own town…and here’s why: We don’t always perform on command… I’m not here today to heal the sick, but to proclaim the good news to the poor, freedom to the prisoners, recovery of sight for the [spiritually] blind, to release the oppressed, to let YOU know: THIS is the time God CHOSE to send me to YOU for SALVATION— this is the year He will shine His favor on you— and I came to tell you guys first: IT HAS BEEN DONE!”
Instead of realizing what they had been given- the miraculous message of the arrival of the YEAR of the Lord’s favor through SALVATION- they shook their heads and turned up their noses. They wanted something tangible; something they could feel, see, taste, and touch… hearing was not enough…they wanted… more.
They didn’t remember Deuteronomy 8:3 b:
“…man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
They just didn’t see it… they didn’t know what was right there in front of them. HE was right there! In the FLESH! But, as the old adage goes… “You don’t know what ya got ’til it’s gone.”
It got me thinking about how many missed opportunities I have encountered in my own life, but then, also of the opportunities I have taken and made the most of. Even when something didn’t seem to make sense, if I just pushed through and did what God was guiding me to do- I was ALWAYS rewarded in the end!
Is there something in your life that you are taking for granted?
Wanna know mine? Wanna know what I’m taking for granted that seems like it will always be there?
~ Time with my kids.
~ Time with my Lord.
~ Time with my spouse.
… Just to name a few ; )
It then occurred to me that not everything has to be perfect, not me or anyone else. Sometimes, I get caught up in trying to get my kids to act a certain way, trying so hard to get them to be “perfect,” in some ways, afraid of what their life will say about me.
But, when we choose to see that our kids are incredible gifts, in and of, themselves- even when they are NOT showing off their “perfectly” honed etiquette when company is over… or NOT hitting that home run… or NOT dancing on cue… or whatever… We realize: They ARE Fearfully and Wonderfully made!
Their little hearts are of so much value! It’s like God’s saying… “Look at what I’ve given you TODAY, in this little one. Enjoy every minute of it because there will come a time for MY purpose to be fulfilled in their lives & if you can’t, or are unwilling, to acknowledge My favor over you in this season- by allowing you to witness this thing that I’m doing in and through your little one- you will MISS the BIG picture altogether.
Lord, please guide my steps and the steps of those reading along, to make the most of our short time here on earth. Help us to see our lives from your perspective! Amen!
Be Blessed & Encouraged Friend! And LOVE the LIFE you’ve been GIVEN!
Spanish Inspiration for Luke 4: 14-30, TLA, and (Lucas 4: 16-21) :
16Después volvió a Nazaret, el pueblo donde había crecido. Un sábado, como era su costumbre, fue a la sinagoga. Cuando se levantó a leer, 17 le dieron el libro del profeta Isaías. Jesús lo abrió y leyó:18«El Espíritu de Dios está sobre mí, porque me eligió y me envió para dar buenas noticias a los pobres, para anunciar libertad a los prisioneros, para devolverles la vista a los ciegos, para rescatar a los que son maltratados 19 y para anunciar a todos que: “¡Éste es el tiempo que Dios eligió para darnos salvación!”» 20 Jesús cerró el libro, lo devolvió al encargado y se sentó. Todos los que estaban en la sinagoga se quedaron mirándolo. 21Entonces Jesús les dijo: «Hoy se ha cumplido ante ustedes esto que he leído.»