google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html Investigating Jesus - Part 9

Investigating Jesus

Investigating Jesus Part 9
Jesus' Mission - at home

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
Luke 4:14-15


Jesus’ public ministry on earth has begun. These verses at the end of Luke 4 tell us that his mission is to preach God’s Kingdom. A reluctant John the Baptist had baptized Him and the crowds who witnessed this event. They had heard God the Father speaking to Jesus. He underwent temptations by the arch-seducer, satan, and emerged victorious from that ordeal. Now Jesus, led by the Holy Spirit, has returned home to Galilee (Luke 4:14). What did he do there and how did those who knew Him react as he grew through childhood?


Jesus at home (Luke 4:14-30)

Jesus is back in home territory and because of the power of his teaching, he is becoming known as a great teacher (Luke 4:15). Jesus spent some time in Galilee, became known and aroused the interest, curiosity and excitement of people.

Worshipping (Luke 4:14-18): It was Jesus’ habit to attend public worship wherever he was. But what did a typical synagogue service look like in the time of Jesus? Here is the outline of a typical synagogue service at the time of Jesus in the early first century AD:

  • Opened with a prayer for God’s blessing
  • Traditional Hebrew confession of faith (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21)
  • Prayer and readings from the Law and the Prophets
  • Brief sermon given by one of the men or a visiting rabbi (Acts 13:14-16)
  •  Benediction or prayer


Because of Jesus’ growing renown as a teacher, it is no surprise that he should be asked to read the Scripture and give a short teaching session regarding it. Here in Nazareth, Jesus declared that the day for demonstrating God’s salvation had arrived and the day the prophets looked forward to, was going to be fulfilled in Jesus Himself (Luke 4:20). Jesus was the Servant who Isaiah had talked about long ago (Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus’ ministry was divinely directed. It was a ministry of hope for all people and a ministry to free the spiritually oppressed (Luke 4:18).

Acceptable Year of the Lord (Luke 4:19): When Jesus said in Luke 4:19 “to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour”, Jesus was referring to the “Year of Jubilee” (Leviticus 25). This was when at every fiftieth year, there was the balancing of the economic system. Slaves were released, set free and returned to their families. Property that was sold, now returned to the original owners. All debts were cancelled and the land lay bare to rest and rejoice in the Lord. Upon hearing this announcement, the reaction by the local people was at first one of astonishment (Luke 4:22) and telling each other he was the son of Joseph. But we remember and know, that Jesus was not the son of Joseph. Rather, Jesus was the Son of God, as announced by angels before he was born. Jesus Christ is the new Adam and the founder of a new humanity. All this, Jesus goes on to explain.

Rejected (Luke 4:20-30): The local people of Nazareth, saw Jesus as the son of Joseph. Admiration turned to anger, because Jesus began to remind them of God’s goodness to the Gentiles. He did this by reminding them about some of the Jewish heroes of the past. People such as the great prophet Elijah who bypassed all the Jewish widows to go and help a Gentile widow in Sidon (1 Kings 17:8-16). Jesus also reminded them that another Jewish hero, Elisha, had healed a Gentile leper from Syria (2 Kings 5:1-15).


Whilst those people in Nazareth could only see Jesus in their local setting, he told them his mission was for all Israel. And if Israel rejected this message of Good News, then the Gentiles would be blessed by it (Luke 4:25-27). Upon hearing this, the astonished admiration turned to furious anger (Luke 4:28-30). Salvation is no longer restricted to Israel but for every child of Adam – every human. Jesus’ mission was not only to be Israel’s saviour but the world’s saviour. When Jesus quoted the proverb “no prophet is accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4:24), he revealed his knowledge of Old Testament history. He knew that God’s messengers often were rejected, and even as God’s Son, he was rejected as well. Next week we look at Jesus away from home.

We investigate that in the next podcast of this series.

 

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