“And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth…” (Luke 4:22 ESV)
“When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.” (Luke 4:28 – 4:29 ESV)
In between the above two passages was a short, 30 second message from Jesus to those in Nazareth, His hometown. Their response wasn’t much different than today’s religious folk.
It wasn’t a message about Heaven or Hell, or even giving more money to the Temple building fund.
So what was it that got them so worked up? Why were they willing to let Him hang around and read from the scriptures one minute, but ready to murder Him the next?
It’s the same thing that gets folks, yes, even church going folks, riled up today.
He said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
That’s what did it.
When He finished reading from Isaiah 61, and handed the scroll back to the attendant, Luke recorded that all eyes were on Him, as though they were anticipating His next few words.
This is what He read from Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18 – 4:19 ESV)
Some probably thought He’d speak about Isaiah, and what a wonderful servant of the Lord He was. Others may have already started thumbing through their bibles to passages like David had written; speaking about the King of Glory arriving with power and majesty.
Some could have been piecing together ones from Malachi, thinking about Elijah, John the Baptist, and the coming of the Lord.
But no one was ready for His message, “Today this scripture is fulfilled (or ‘as good as done’) in your hearing.”
Jesus was telling them, and us, Isaiah was speaking of Him when he wrote those words some 700 years prior. He was also saying He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), that God hadn’t changed, and He knew Him so well He could speak on His behalf.
And that’s what gets today’s people rankled at times.
It’s one thing to talk about God. People who are very uncomfortable talking about Jesus can usually talk about God with no difficulty. “God” isn’t necessarily personal; only some “higher power” or “force” way beyond the blue.
Yet Jesus said, in essence, “I know God, and He knows Me. He has empowered Me to do what I’m doing. God has anointed Me to heal all who are oppressed by the devil. Today. Right now.”
God IS the same yesterday, today, and forever. All He has done in times past, He is not only able, but willing to do today.
Through His Son Jesus.
Paul wrote, “Today is the day of salvation…”. In other words, no one need wait an extra minute to believe, receive, and experience the promises of God.
He also wrote, in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, “…we beg you, as if God were speaking instead of us, be reconciled to God…”. Or, “We’re not lying. All He has promised, He means to make good. We know Him personally and are speaking for Him.”
Yep, that has a tendency to get folks a little peeved. But isn’t that just what a witness is supposed to do? Speak of things he has seen, heard, and knows to be true?
When you declare Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever as though you know it to be so, don’t expect everyone around you to be full of joy. They may even attempt to shut you up.
But that’s okay. Everyone needs to hear, we need to declare it, and Jesus will take care of the rest.
After all, He authenticates (confirms) His word with accompanying signs. All the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ. He is God’s “Amen”.
So be it!