“Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” Luke 4:20-21. For centuries, God’s chosen people had been expecting a Savior, God Himself. In one of those passages, Isaiah had written over 700 years before that the Messiah would fulfill certain requirements: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” After returning to Galilee after His baptism and temptation in the power of the Spirit, news spread about Him and He taught in the area’s synagogues. It was in His hometown of Nazareth, however, where everyone knew Him as ‘Joseph’s son,’ that He chose to declare Himself, through the fulfillment of Isaiah 61, to be the Christ and God Himself! No wonder those who remembered Jesus lugging tools for His earthly father were furious and wanted to drive Him off a cliff. Who do you understand Jesus to be?
As all were praising Jesus at the beginning of His ministry, He went back to His hometown.
I. Luke 4:14-22. A hometown boy was gaining noteriety, and so the synagogue in Nazareth must have been packed when Jesus was handed the scroll of Isaiah and read a prophecy of the coming Messiah that they had all heard numerous times before. Then, he did the unthinkable; He assigned those words uttered seven centuries before to Himself and let them sink in to the local crowd.
II. Luke 4:23-30. It was blasphemy if not true, the fulfillment of all that the Jews had been waiting for if it was. But, rather than letting the neighbors from His childhood wrestle with this, Jesus confronted them with the truth–that accepting Him as the prophesied Christ meant that God would open the gospel to all people. This was something the crowd gathered to hear the old stories wasn’t ready for.
III. Luke 8:5-15. How about us? Many of us gather in Jesus’ hometown every Sunday morning out of habit or because we’re hoping to be entertained. We can’t wait to hear what He’s been up to lately and some of the old stories that are comfortable. But, He confronts us there on a personal level, challenging our understanding of who He is. Will we accept that or try to drive Him over a cliff?
Sometimes it is those who have known Him the longest who need re-assess our view of Jesus. If He truly is the Christ, how does that change us?