Who was this Jesus?
What was His purpose in being here?
What did His ministry look like?
His was a walking ministry. I Jn. 2:5-6
“Walk” peripateo walk around; euph. “live”
His was a “doing good” ministry. Acts 10:38
His was a “saving” ministry. Lk. 19:10; I Tim. 1:15
This series: a closer look at who He was and how He went about His work.
Lk. 4:16-30; Mk. 6:1-6; Mt. 13:53-58
The accounts seem to differ in some details and in the timing:
Mt/Mk: later in His ministry;
Time for His ministry to develop, to do some of the “mighty works” that people had heard about; this event was in keeping with Mark’s (and Matthew’s) focus on the question of “who do men think I am?” (Mark already has introduced the idea that He was rejected by religious leaders, that the crowds did not perceive who He was, that He was not like the Jewish teachers, and that even the disciples were slow to understand.)
Lk: at the beginning of His ministry;
This event introduced His ministry to the public.
He was on a spiritual high!
Temptations in the wilderness
Filled with the Spirit!
He went back home! (Lk: “where He had grown up”; Mk/Mt: “own country; hometown”)
Nazareth is not explicit in Mk and Mt. Luke identifies the place.
These were the people who knew Him best.
They knew His father, the family business. They had been neighbors, had gone to synagogue together, He had probably been His teachers when He was young.
When they heard He was coming, they were probably excited to hear what He had to say.
His reputation had begun to spread.
He went to church!
Going to the synagogue was His custom in His early ministry (Mt. 4:23; Mk. 1:21, 39; 10:1; Lk. 4:15):
But this place was special…
This was familiar territory.
The smell (all churches have a smell)
The faces (He had grown up with these people)
He got to be the featured preacher!
Any Jewish man could enter the synagogue and be invited to teach.
Jesus turned to the reading for the week, part of their “lectionary”.
Isa. 61:1-2; 58:6
The Spirit is on Me…(a reference to His recent baptism experience?)
I bring good news to the dispossessed, afflicted, oppressed
To the spiritually bankrupt.
I bring good news to those whose only hope is that God will set them free!
The messianic age, the year of the Lord, has begun!
He must have said some other words because they were amazed at His “wisdom” (Mk/Mt)
When He sat down, they just stared at Him!
Then, He did something that caused a stir…
He made an announcement: “Today this has been fulfilled.”
Wait…what? Did He just say what I think He said?
He had done the unthinkable: He implied that this great Messianic text actually applied to Him.
They stared at Him...processing.
This is the problem with a lot of sermons:
People just stare.
And they respond much the same way as did Jesus’ hearers that day.
- “You are clearly awesome…you speak with wisdom” (Mt. 13:54; Mk. 6:2);
“We like you (maybe); you have a good reputation (“praised by all”)
- The problem is we already know all we need to know about you. We have you figured out.
- More importantly, you just don’t fit our idea of a Messiah.
He was amazed at their unbelief. (Mk. 6:6)
“You’re not going to accept this, are you? You’re going to want some signs, aren’t you?” (Lk. 4:23-24.
“I guess it is true: the people that should know you best can’t get past what they think they know about you.” (A loose rendering of the saying, “No prophet is welcome in his hometown.”)
Why wouldn’t these people, of all people, recognize Him.
They were religious people.
They had the Book and had studied it.
They had heard His reputation and His words.
What He said next was what made them want to kill Him!
“I’ll tell you: this is not the first time this has happened that God sent someone and the people rejected them. Elijah and Elisha both were rejected by Israel and were actually received better among the heathens and pagans!
You’ve rejected Me just like you rejected them.
You will not get a sign from Me.
I cannot do miracles here.
Not because I do not have the ability to do miracles or that your unbelief has blocked My power—you do not have that power over Me.
But I can’t do anything here because you chose not to see Me for who I am when I am standing right in front of you.”
Their reaction turned to indignation and then rage.
Their rejection of His claim to be the Messiah turned to jealous rage.
They were enraged at the idea that the despised Gentiles would receive a benefit they would not.
The irony: these people who claimed the Old Testament as their own were hostile to the very message it presented.
He simply left.
That is a sad statement.
This would be the battle He would engage the rest of His ministry: not fitting the expectations of the people, especially the religious people who had the Book.
Those who knew Him best turned out to be the least likely to accept Him!
He was not what they thought they knew.
He did not fit their expectations—they could not predict or manage Him.
His message was not what they wanted to hear.
It was not political.
It was not religious…didn’t start a particular brand of church
It was not designed to make them happy in this world.
It was in fact a discomforting and disquieting ministry. (bringing a sword!)
This place where He walked is instructive for us:
It is a word of warning:
Let Him be who He is versus who we want Him to be.
We are pretty familiar with Jesus:
We are shaped by a lifetime of stories, popular images…we think we know Him.
We’d like Jesus to be predictable—in our theological, ecclesiastical box.
We have been conditioned by millennia of teachings that might not be consistent with His stated purpose and we try to stick Him into our framework:
We don’t want to be disturbed too much—we like our own way of doing things.
We’d like Him to be Santa who gives us stuff/Grandpa with candy in his pockets/doctor who fixes our hurts/therapist who listens to our complaints/policeman who gets even for us
We’d like to paint Him into our theologies
We’d like to claim as our own tribal god
It is a word of clarity:
This is what He is about.
How are we doing lining up with Him?
What would you think of Jesus if you met Him today?
Would you recognize Him?
Would He recognize you?
Would He find you ready to hear Him and learn from Him?
Would He find you entrenched and resentful?
Would He just leave when He saw our reaction to Him?