Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21
Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events
that have been fulfilled among us,just as those who were
eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word
have handed them down to us,I too have decided,
after investigating everything accurately anew,to write it down
in an orderly sequence for you,most excellent Theophilus,
so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,and news
of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.
He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,and went according
to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim
liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable
to the Lord. Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the
attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue
looked intently at him. He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
This week's reading grants me the opportunity to reflect on Luke...
who he was and why he started his Gospel the way he did.
Luke was not one of the 12 Apostles, but heard the account of
Jesus from a few of the actual 12 Apostles and was the personal
companion to Paul. Paul wrote 2/3 of what is now in our New
Testament. Luke provides certain insight that no other book of
the New Testament has. Luke's inspiration and information for
his Gospel and Acts came from his close association with Paul and
his companions as he explains in his introduction to the Gospel.
He re-arranges certain events in order to place emphasis that he
felt the other Gospels told in a different sense. That is what
makes the Gospels unique. They are the same story told by different
witnesses. Matthew and John are eyewitness testimony written down
but compiled together at a later time. Luke writes these accounts
down himself, intact, and together but highlights events that are
briefly touched on in the other Gospels. Luke's unique perspective
on Jesus can be seen in the six miracles and eighteen parables
not found in the other gospels. Luke's is the gospel of the poor
and of social justice. He is the one who tells the story of Lazarus
and the Rich Man who ignored him.
For people who doubt that the writings of the New Testament have
some how been corrupted by the Roman Catholic Church or some
other "group" with a hidden agenda...how could anyone doubt the
cohesion and power that comes from reading the Gospels? Surely,
man cannot create a spiritual experience that comes from closely
studying the Scriptures?! Since men wrote the words, they fulfilled
the Will of God.
As Jesus says:
"Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until
all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away." (Mark 13:30-31)
Luke is a historian...and a physician. Most importantly, Luke was
a witness to the testimony of the Apostles...and a witness to
the life of Paul...who was the last "chosen Apostle" of Jesus
Christ. Remember that Paul conversed with the Lord AFTER the
ascension. As we read in one source, "Luke had a great knowledge
of the Septuagint and of things Jewish, which he acquired either
as a Jewish proselyte (St. Jerome) or after he became a Christian,
through his close association with the Apostles and disciples.
It is worthy of note that, in the three places where he is
mentioned in the Epistles (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24; 2
Timothy 4:11) he is named with Mark (cf. Colossians 4:10), the
other Evangelist who was not an Apostle (Plummer), and it is
clear from his Gospel that he was well acquainted with the Gospel
according to Mark; and in the Acts he knows all the details of
Peter's delivery--what happened at the house of Mark's mother,
and the name of the girl who ran to the outer door when Peter
knocked. He must have frequently met Peter, and may have assisted
him to draw up his First Epistle in Greek, which affords many
reminiscences of Luke's style. "
Now with this in mind we have a new insight into the beginning
of this weeks reading. Let's re-read it again...
"Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events
that have been fulfilled among us,
just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning
and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
I too have decided,
after investigating everything accurately anew,
to write it down in an orderly sequence for you,
most excellent Theophilus,
so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings
you have received."
Now let's break the rest of the reading down...
"Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all."
"Jesus returned to Galilee"
Again, Galilee is significant because of it's insignificance.
Jesus was not born in the center of Jewish life which was
Jerusalem...He was born in an insignificant town, and grew up
in Galilee, and insignificant town. Many Gentiles lived in Galilee
and Luke will write that the women who observe Jesus' crucifixion
are from Galilee. Jesus is accepted in an insignificant town that
has a large Gentile population, and not accepted in Jerusalem...
which has a dominate Jewish population.
"in the power of the Spirit"
Luke emphasizes that Jesus and His ministry are not of man but
of the Spirit. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and the
Holy Spirit descended on Jesus during His baptism. The Holy Spirit
is with Jesus every step of the way. Jesus is born into flesh but
is of the Holy Spirit. Two in one fleshly body...all works and
words of Jesus are of the Spirit.
"and news of Him spread throughout the whole region"
There is a reason why news is spreading. It is because the
Messiah has been born and is proving who He is!
"He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all"
Jewish worship takes place in the Temples and teaching, prayers,
and readings take place in the synagogues. We do not know what
Jesus taught them...only if I was there to hear it!
"He came to Nazareth, where He had grown up"
Jesus was born in Bethlehem but grew up in Nazareth. Matthew
tells us that as a young adult Jesus moves to Capernaum (Matt 4:13)
"and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the
Who's custom? HIS CUSTOM! Who is the one who gave the Jews the
Sabbath? It was Jesus who was the voice who spoke to them before
he came to live in a tent of flesh. It is His command and His
Sabbath. He observes what He has commanded.
"He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah."
Synagogue worship would have followed a format. A reading from the
Torah followed by an explanation, then a reading from the prophets
followed by an explanation. The president of the synagogue invites
someone to comment on the scriptures. The question people will wait
to answer is if the selected commenter will know what they are
talking about. People would wait to see if someone would jump up
and correct them when they were off course. When Jesus speaks...
it is with an authority that no one wants to challenge...
I wonder why!
"He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,"
Jesus read Isaiah 61:1-2 but omits 61:2b which speaks of the
"day of vengeance of our God". His commentary focuses this time
on salvation and He choose not to mention the Judgement.
This is emphasizing a two stage action...salvation now, judgement
"because he has anointed me"
Jesus was anointed at his baptism by the Spirit when the Spirit
descended upon Him. He was not anointed with oil, but with the
Holy Spirit. A King of Kings...the Messiah. Jesus is the successor
to King David.
"to bring glad tidings to the poor"
Who are the "poor" in this verse? The economically or the
spiritually poor? Answer is both. All people who are economically
or spiritually impoverished have the ability to receive Grace.
Jesus' ministry is centered around the poor, the captive, blind,
oppressed, and possessed. He is here to help, and will help, and
does help...if one is open to receiving His Grace. These glad
tidings are the miracles of Grace that are available to those who
believe in Him. Everyone, be it Jew, Gentile, or heathen
(and this means everyone in the world) can receive His Grace...
"He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives"
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus' first miracle is the cleansing of a
man possessed, yes I said possessed, by a demon. Jesus can and
does release those who's hearts believe from the worst kind of
pain and dark despair. Being possessed by a demon is the worst
despair you could be in. The power to release demons comes from
the Creator...and that Creator is Jesus! Do you know of anyone
else that can claim to do this? Have you ever been in the presence
of a demon?
"and recovery of sight to the blind,"
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus will restore sight of blind people
and will tell the egotistical and prideful to invite the poor,
crippled, and blind to their dinner tables. This verse is also
talking about those who are spiritually blind, (ex. atheists).
This is the meaning of this verse...Jesus restores sight to those
who are spiritually blind and Luke will emphasize this in
Acts 26:18...(all you atheists open your heart and ears now!)
"To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light
and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive
forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by
FAITH in me".
Continuing on with this week's reading...
"to let the oppressed go free"
There is nothing like freedom. To be oppressed is horrible.
Freedom is truly appreciated by those who were oppressed at one
time and then set free. Freedom is often taken for granted by those
who were never oppressed. Most of us, as Christians, realized at
some point in our faith the reality of the spiritual oppression
we had. The Good News of Salvation through faith in Christ is one
climatic point we reach...the feeling of being truly free!
Free from the clutches of death! Free from the guilt of sin!
Free to fulfill the Good Works we have come to realize are set for
us to do. We still sin and we are aware of our shortcomings by
repentance in order to realign ourselves by the direction and
guidance of the One who set us free...Jesus the Christ.
"and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord."
What does this verse mean? THE MESSIAH IS HERE! CHRIST HAS COME!
THE PROPHECIES WILL AND HAVE BEEN FULFILLED! REJOICE IN THE
PROCLAMATION OF THE YEAR THAT OUR LORD WAS BORN!!!
"Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant
and sat down,"
In the synagogue, you stand to read the scriptures and you sit to
What a sight this must have been to see the Messiah physically
in front of you! Surely, we do not have this opportunity...
but I know I would be looking intently!
"He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Today is not yesterday and today is not someday.
It is now...present time. Notice Jesus never uses the words
yesterday or someday. Jesus proclaims the Truth..the wait is over...
THAT day has come...the prophecies are and were fulfilled...
salvation is here. We are tools of His hands today...
we have predestined opportunities to fulfill by bringing the
Good News to the poor, helping the oppressed, helping those
inflicted with disease and deformities, exorcising demons,
and helping the "blind" recover their spiritual (or physical)
sight through Him. These things are being fulfilled today as
they were in the past...as His Sheep...the tools we need to help
are at our disposal backed by the Real and Awesome power of
Poverty, captivity, and blindness have two meanings...
one physical and one spiritual. It is troublesome to have an
empty wallet but it is worse to have an empty soul.
Physical captivity is really bad, but being captive to drugs or
alcohol is worse. Not being able to see is horrible, but being
lost spiritually is REALLY horrible! Helen Keller was blind from
infancy, but her words and actions demonstrated a clear spiritual
"Once I knew only darkness and stillness...my life was without
past or future...but a little word from the fingers of another
fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped
to the rapture of living. Faith is the strength by which a
shattered world shall emerge into the light." (Helen Keller)
God Bless you and your families this week.
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