Walking in the Spirit of God
Luke 4:14-30: Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He 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. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “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.” 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.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. Jesus 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.'” “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I 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. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And 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.”
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They 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. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Jesus returns home, but not the same Jesus who left. Now He is full of the Spirit and completely focused on doing His Fathers work. He explains His purpose with an amazing quote from Isaiah 61:1,2 :
“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.”
Wow! I feel drawn to this challenge to preach the good news to the poor. Which isn’t just referring to those struggling with very little money, but the greek word for poor also covers those struggling with very little faith. I feel challenged to proclaim freedom to those who are imprisoned, whether within old destructive patterns, an abusive relationship, or a dead end career. To pray for healing, and to be involved in releasing the oppressed; this refers to seeing people being freed from the bondage of sin. And finally, to turn people towards serving and glorifying God.
I want to be part of this. I want to preach the good news, proclaim freedom, pray for healing, see the oppressed released and encourage people to serve and glorify God! I am going to print Isaiah 61:1,2 off and stick it on my office wall!! Wonderful!
But the key to succeeding in all of this isn’t that I read it every day on my wall.. but that: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me.’ I need to pray, to actively seek the Spirit of the Lord. I cannot force this! But certainly I know that as I draw close to God through reading His Word, and as I face my sin, I am well positioned to receive that anointing.
Lord I seek to walk in your Spirit, to continue to receive that anointing so that in your power I might serve and glorify you.
And Jesus finds himself in His own town where He is known (“Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” v.22) and rather than seek to please those He knows, he chooses to speak the truth, and to reveal His true identity. And the locals don’t respond well! There are moments where I have the choice to speak the truth amongst those who know me well, to be open about my faith. And the temptation is to stay quiet and seek their approval, not ‘rock the boat’. So I find this massively challenging, to be open about my faith and speak the truth when I can!
I would love to read your thoughts on this amazing passage.
God bless ya,
Rev Mark Brown
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