Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Luke 4:14-19

And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.

And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

Jesus continues to follow the leading of the Spirit, modeling for us how to live. Satan had tempted Jesus to perform miracles before the Jerusalem throngs to achieve instant fame. The Spirit led Jesus to rural Galilee to teach farmers, fishermen, and traders in their small community worship centers. At this time he was praised by all who heard him. No one had taught with such authority before. He was the popular speaker of the hour.

Jesus returned to Nazareth, the town in which he grew up. The men in the synagogue likely knew that their hometown boy was "making good". As was his family's custom, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath - the same synagogue Joseph had taken him to each week to learn the ways of God. The worshippers would recite the Shema together, the central verse of Judaism which proclaimed God to be the one true God. Next they would pray, hear a passage from the Pentateuch, a passage from the prophets, a sermon, and a final priestly blessing.

Jesus was handed the prophetic scroll of the book of Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he read Isaiah 61:1-2. Everything went well until he began his sermon, but that reading is for tomorrow. Those who heard Jesus teach throughout his ministry were usually amazed at the way he spoke, but many who were initially attracted to him would fall away when he began to teach things contrary to what they believed.

When we approach Scripture or wait on a word from the Lord, we should come with an open mind. Many in today's society believe having an open mind means allowing everything to have equal importance in your thought life, but as a Christian everything should be filtered through the lens of Scripture and the theology taught by true minsters of the world from the early church fathers to today. There are times in a believer's life when a passage of Scripture will come to have a completely new meaning to us as God opens our understanding. When you approach Scripture either in personal study or a group setting, be prepared to think critically and be armed with prayer for discernment. Just as Jesus is about to do to his listeners in Nazareth, it is possible that your mind with be blown.

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul's message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. - Acts 17:11

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