Third Sunday After Epiphany | January 27, 2019
Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
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. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:
“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,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.[a”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
Luke 4:14-21 New Living Translation (NLT)
It is the 3rd Sunday following Epiphany. As I’ve mentioned before, the season between Epiphany and Lent emphasizes the mission of Jesus and the mission of the church. In today’s reading, we have Jesus reading from the scroll – the designated reading at the synagogue is from the prophet Isaiah. As I mention in my sermon tomorrow, it could be that Luke only records part of what Jesus read and then taught.
Jesus reads from the scroll and then teaches from what he has read. As is the custom in the synagogue, Jesus and the congregation stood during the reading and when they finished, the congregation would sit and the teacher would sit in a prominent seat and begin to teach.
During the course of his teaching, Jesus proclaims that he is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. We won’t get into the rest because we will look at what happens following next week.
What exactly does Jesus say is the fulfillment of prophecy?
He has sent me to proclaim that:
- captives will be released,
- that the blind will see,
- that the oppressed will be set free.
We often think about these in a spiritual vein, but Jesus comes for both the spiritual and the physical. This is truly good news. The mission of Jesus was to preach the Good News to the poor. Just as we see the captive set free both physically and spiritually, Jesus came to preach good news to the physically poor, but more importantly to those who are spiritually poor and really that is all of us.
In Luke 7, we see that Jesus really was the fulfillment of this prophecy when John the Baptist’s disciples come and ask Jesus if he is the Messiah or should they look for someone else. Jesus replies, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” (Luke 7:21-23)
The mission of Jesus was to broadcast the Good News to everyone – that is our job as the church and as his followers, we need to broadcast the Good News to everyone – rich or poor. Jesus calls us to love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength and also to love our neighbor as ourselves. As Jesus said, this sums up the law and the prophets.
So let’s go out and broadcast the Good News!