14-15: “14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit, and stories about Him spread all through the area. 15He began to teach in their synagogues and everyone praised Him.” – A new prophet had entered the scene. News that the long-awaited Messiah may have arrived. Excitement grew as everyone wanted to see and listen to what Jesus had to say.
16: “Jesus traveled to Nazareth, where He had grown up. On the Sabbath day He went to the synagogue, as He always did, and stood up to read.” – It was a tradition for visiting teachers to stand before the gathering at a synagogue and lead them in a reading of the Scripture.
18-19: “18The Lord as put His Spirit in me, because He appointed me to tell the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to tell the captives they are free and to tell the blind that they can see again. God sent me to free those who have been treated unfairly 19and to announce the time when the Lord will show His kindness.” – Three separate passages from Isaiah are quoted here by Jesus, giving His listeners a clear outline of the purpose of His ministry.
21: “While you heard these words just now, they were coming true!” – A shocking proclamation that would send the Nazarenes reeling. “Jesus, the carpenter’s son just claimed to be the Messiah as foretold by the prophets.”
Points to Contemplate:
Who is Jesus to you?
Today’s verses look simply at who Jesus says He is. We are not studying the following verses where we begin to learn what others thought and how they reacted. Who does Jesus say He is? Do you recognize the importance of understanding these verses when you are establishing a relationship with Jesus? Can you see that if you do not begin with a sound grasp of who Jesus is you could end up creating Jesus in our own image? That you might establish a false relationship based on your perceived needs versus the real Jesus? Are you guarding against ‘putting the cart before the horse?’
“The Lord as put His Spirit in me…” Do you see how Jesus begins His self-description by first focusing on God? When describing yourself, do you think of God first? Are you always aware of His Spirit living within you? Are all things in your life filtered through His love for you?
“…because He appointed me to tell the Good News to the poor.” Once Jesus grounded His description in God, He then moved to God’s purpose for that relationship. Are you clear as to why God has created you and filled you with His Spirit? How would you finish the following sentence: The Lord fills me with His Spirit because _______? Are you, like Jesus, appointed to tell the Good News to the world?
“He has sent me to tell the captives they are free and to tell the blind that they can see again.” Have you been sent to liberate those that have been made captive due to a life without Christ? Have you been blessed with the ability to teach and explain the Gospel to people you meet so that they can once again see His truth and His light?
“God sent me to free those who have been treated unfairly.” Are you being asked to minister to those less fortunate than you? Are you to always be on the look-out in order to help those who are oppressed by their life situations? If all these things are why Jesus was sent, then, as a Christian, don’t they all apply to you as well? Do you recognize that as we strive to become like Christ that these verses should be our standard by which we measure our progress? Promises of the Gospel:
News of Jesus was spreading. Excitement grew. Crowds began to gather. This is the normal reaction of the world when the Good News of the Gospel begins to reach their ears. This excitement is based on the understanding that change will occur when the Messiah enters our lives. But why? Why did God send His Son? Why do these promised changes come about? Because God loves the world and as that word spreads, those who are poor in spirit begin seeking spiritual fulfillment; those entrapped by life’s circumstances begin finding new possibilities; and those blinded by selfishness and false truths begin to see Truth and Light. This is why Jesus came into the world and this is why we are called to become His disciples: To announce the kindness of the Lord to the world.