Daily Reflections

Luke 4:16-30

Our Lord and Saviour is known to history as Jesus of Nazareth. In today’s Gospel reading we find the Lord back in his home town and, as an observant Jew, worshipping in the synagogue on the Sabbath. In the Sabbath service there were two readings, one from the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) and one from the Prophets. Perhaps by pre-arrangement with the rabbi, when it is time for the second reading, Jesus makes his way to the front and, opening the scroll, reads the assigned passage. It is from Isaiah 61, which speaks about the restoration of Israel by God’s chosen prophet: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord’ (vv. 18-19).

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Isaiah looked to a time in the future when a prophet would usher in a new age of freedom and divine favour. In a twist which must have been utterly shocking to all those present, Jesus identifies himself as the one to whom the prophet Isaiah was referring. Jesus saw in this scripture his own mission as the Messiah, the Lord’s anointed One.

Despite being impressed by Jesus, his announcement and pronouncement jars with the synagogue congregation. They can only perceive Jesus in human terms. ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ they ask. Having not received the light of revelation, they are scandalized by Jesus and horrified by his claims – so scandalized and horrified that they are on the brink of throwing him off the side of a cliff.

In one way the townspeople of Nazareth were right to be outraged because the Christian faith is scandalous and shocking. Our faith teaches that God became man! Jesus of Nazareth was both God and man; he was both divine and human. We are called to be prophets of the incarnation – of the true scandal of our faith, which speaks so eloquently and beautifully of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness.

Father God, teach me to be a prophet of the incarnation. Teach me to cherish and revere this truth of our faith and fall down on my knees before Jesus who was full of wisdom, knowledge, understanding and fear of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5  •  Psalm 118(119):97-102
Luke 4:16-30

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