14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
20Then 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, 21and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they asked.
23Jesus said to them, "Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.' "
24"I tell you the truth," he continued, "no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian."
28All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. 30But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. (NIV)
1. The Old Testament prophetic promises of a Saviour to come are fulfilled in Christ.
- The promise spoken by our Lord in this account is taken from Isa 61:1-2- Many other Messianic promises are to be found in the OT; a few others worth citing here are Deut 18:18; Isa 7:14; 9:6; Dan 7:13-14 and Mic 5:2- Christ also speaks elsewhere about the Old Testament Scriptures pointing to Him (Jn 5:39-40; Lk 24:13-27)
-"to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour" (v. 19) alludes strongly to the Year of Jubilee (Lev 25:8-17), a time in which all debts that the poor had were made null and void - it emphasized a "fresh start", which is precisely what Jesus provides in his offer of divine deliverance (v. 18; see also Mt 11:28-30; Lk 19:10; Jn 6:35; 1 Ti 1:15)
- this passage also speaks of Christ's ministry of preaching and proclaiming (v. 18) - the Anointed One comes a prophet as well as deliverer.
Question: How can the fact that the Old Testament points to Christ help us to get a better handle on reading the Old Testament? Can you provide any examples of how you have been helped in your OT reading by this realization?
2. Jesus came for the poor.
Who are the poor? (v. 18) They are the ones who are not simply in material poverty, but who realize their spiritual poverty and look to God as a result (Isa 57:15; 66:2; Mt 5:3). This does not mean that those who are rich can't come to this place of feeling helpless and hopeless without God; on the other hand, Scripture often tends to portray the spiritually poor as those who are already materially poor.
3. Although Christ Jesus came as the fulfillment of all God had promised, He did not reject the traditions and customs that God had established among the Jews.
- Jesus deemed it important to meet with God's people in God's house ("as was his custom", v. 16) - he was no revolutionary who deliberately tried to overthrow established structures - this is not to say that he did not meet with great opposition; rather, it means that opposition came to him because of his words.
- By attending synagogue, Jesus provides a model for us as God's people to "not give up meeting together" but "to encourage one another" (Heb 10:24-25).
4. Sometimes, those who are the most familiar with Christ can be among those who despise Him the most (vv. 23-24).
"Physician, heal thyself" - means "a demand that Jesus do the works he has done elsewhere to show himself approved" (Bock, NIV App. Commentary: Luke, 1996, p. 138) or that "one should do his work in his own backyard to prove his claims".
However, God is not some mild and manageable deity who will meet people on their own terms; He must be Lord. Elsewhere, Jesus calls such demandingness a sign of spiritual adultery (Mt 12:39).
5. God is not obligated to come to anyone's rescue, but is free to go wherever He pleases (vv. 25-29).
Question: How do many people tend to respond to God's sovereignty in salvation? What should our response be?