Jesus begins his public ministry with great reception, then faces intense challenge upon returning to the place of his upbringing, Nazareth.
Read Luke 4:14-30
Previously, Jesus went from affirmation > temptation, now he experiences acclamation > Persecution.
This is the second time Jesus found himself staring down from a dizzying height. He escaped 1x through overcoming the devil’s temptation. The 2x he was indeed protected from harm.
It seems like an overreaction from the crowd doesn’t it? What did Jesus say that offended them to such a degree that they sought to kill him?
The Acclamation of Jesus (14-15)
The same Spirit that empowered Jesus for ministry at his baptism, strengthened him to withstand Satan’s temptation, and now continues to fill him in his teaching ministry.
His fame is beginning to precede him. As Jews hear him teaching, they praise his teaching to others.
John’s spirit-empowered preaching foreshadowed the greater preaching of Jesus. Yet, the same people who were amazed by his preaching would go on to reject him. It’s not enough to be enamored with Jesus, if we aren’t transformed by the same Spirit that empowered him.
Do you merely know about Jesus?
It’s good to praise Jesus, but it’s even better that we listen to him. Where do we go to do that? We listen to his word. We hear it in the place where his people gather. Jesus honored the public gathering of God’s people by attending the synagogue every Sabbath.
Acclamation > …
The Proclamation of Jesus (16-21)
Jesus went to the synagogue every Sabbath, implying he taught there regularly.
He unrolls the scroll of Isaiah to declare his mission as the Messiah with the Spirit’s anointing for gospel proclamation.
Surprisingly, Jesus ends the quote before the section on judgment of nations.
It’s hard to fathom what it would’ve been like sitting in the synagogue and hearing Jesus highlight the role of the Messianic prophet/servant then boldly declare its fulfillment in their hearing. He would have followed the reading with his own explanation and teaching which Luke does not record fully.
Expecting a political (not spiritual) Messiah. What about us? Liberation theology = political agenda. Quote = spiritual and physical implications for individuals, not structures.
- Good news for poor
- Liberator of captives & oppressed
- Healer of blind
Hughes Those most in need of mercy and grace often know it the least.
Instead of reception…
The Rejection of Jesus (22-30)
All the people who heard him spoke well of him. Amazement > doubt > rejection.
Jesus doesn’t take their flattery. He knows their hearts are not ready to receive him as their Messiah. The examples from Elijah and Elisha reveal the people’s rejection of God’s prophets.
Examples from era of apostasy:
- Elijah rescued a Gentile widow from Sidon, even though there were many widows in Israel suffering from the famine.
- Elisha rescued a Gentile leper from Syria (a commander of an enemy army), even though there were many lepers in Israel.
God is rescuing the wrong people!
God’s grace is held out to anyone. There are no ethnic, social, or economic barriers to enter the Kingdom of God. This is the shocking message Jesus declared which upset the Israelites.
They were amazed by Jesus, but unfazed by his message.
What is your response to the message of Jesus?
Do you believe him or reject him?
- The Acclamation of Jesus (14-15)
- The Proclamation of Jesus (16-21)
- The Rejection of Jesus (22-30)
For Elijah, Elisha, and Jesus, ministry success looked like a lot of rejection from the people. That doesn’t mean we start off attempting to offend our audience, but it does mean that we should not be surprised by slow/no/declining growth. Where the gospel is truly preached it will be both accepted and rejected.
Christ delivered physically and spiritually.
Have you recognized your spiritual poverty and cried out to Christ for deliverance?