God’s Word of Love
Luke 4:16-30: Jesus goes to his hometown of Nazareth and attends the synagogue. He reads from the book of the prophet Isaiah and tells the congregation that the prophecy has come true. The people are at first amazed but then become angry at his concluding words. They drag him out of town, intending to kill him by throwing him over a cliff.
Jesus Is Rejected at Nazareth
(Matthew 13.53-58; Mark 6.1-6)
16Then Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath he went as usual to the synagogue. He stood up to read the Scriptures 17and was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed
19and announce that the time has come
when the Lord will save his people.”
20Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. All the people in the synagogue had their eyes fixed on him, 21as he said to them, “This passage of scripture has come true today, as you heard it being read.”
22They were all well impressed with him and marveled at the eloquent words that he spoke. They said, “Isn’t he the son of Joseph?”
23He said to them, “I am sure that you will quote this proverb to me, ‘Doctor, heal yourself.’ You will also tell me to do here in my hometown the same things you heard were done in Capernaum. 24 I tell you this,” Jesus added, “prophets are never welcomed in their hometown. 25 Listen to me: it is true that there were many widows in Israel during the time of Elijah, when there was no rain for three and a half years and a severe famine spread throughout the whole land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to anyone in Israel, but only to a widow living in Zarephath in the territory of Sidon. 27 And there were many people suffering from a dreaded skin disease who lived in Israel during the time of the prophet Elisha; yet not one of them was healed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
28When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were filled with anger. 29They rose up, dragged Jesus out of town, and took him to the top of the hill on which their town was built. They meant to throw him over the cliff, 30but he walked through the middle of the crowd and went his way.
Today’s Key Verse: Luke 4:18a
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor.”
Today’s reading is sometimes described as Jesus’s inaugural sermon. Jesus quotes from Isaiah 58:6 and 61:1-2 and defines his messianic mission. His references to the widow in Zarephath (verse 26) and to Naaman the Syrian (verse 27) indicate that his ministry will embrace marginalized persons and Gentiles. What does Jesus announce? How does the congregation react to his words? What angers them? Why? What is your reaction to Jesus’s announcement?
Lord Jesus, you have come to announce good news to the poor and that the time has come when you will save your people. Thank you for your liberating Word and for your message of hope and salvation. Amen.
Luke 4:31-44: Jesus goes to Capernaum where he heals many people and preaches in the synagogues.