His Heartbeat:

A Heartbeat for More

February 26, 2012

Luke 4:14-21


I came across an interesting site on the internet the other day. I could resist looking at it. Because even if I really didn't want to admit it, there were probable a few times when I really could have used the homespun, down to earth wisdom it presented.

Actually it makes me a little nervous referring to it. I'm a little embarrassed to share with you where I was surfing on the net. But if the spirit of authenticity let me share.

Fun Things to Do During A Boring Sermon

• The site suggests such things as:

• See if a yawn really is contagious.

• Slap your neighbor. See if they turn the other cheek.

• Raise your hand and ask for permission to go to the rest room.

While I thought some of the suggestions were funny, what bothers me is that most people who look at the sight would probably agree that at least sometimes if not often, Church seems boring.

I'm convinced it was never supposed to be that way because of an event that occurred early in the public life of Jesus. It occurred in the Synagogue in Nazareth. The event was so extraordinary the site has still been preserved today.

If you were to make you way through the Nazareth, you could easily miss seeing the entrance to a site marking an event in the life of Jesus that Luke tells. Known as the synagogue church, it is the traditional site of the synagogue in which Jesus read from the scriptures.

In Jesus' time, Nazareth was a small Jewish town of not more than 300 people, and there would have been just one synagogue that served their needs. Over the previous 200 years, synagogues had begun to appear in different parts of the holy land as well as in Jerusalem itself. The synagogue had developed first as a local meeting place, a place where people could gather and read the scriptures and discuss them together.

Attendance at the synagogue had become a regular routine of Jewish life, practicing Jews would have visited regularly. For years they would have heard the same Scriptures read, the law discussed, principles and commandments embraced. Nothing new, nothing powerful, nothing life changing. Laws and commands, discourses and meditations produced little transformation, little change in people's lives. Legalism, elitism, pharasism were bred in the synagogues. You went, because you were supposed to, it was tradition. You listened because you were told to listen.

I can picture little boys and young men, forced to sit through those services, those long boring discourses. Blah, blah, blah. Yada, Yada, Yada.

Till one day, Jesus - on a visit back to his home town of Nazareth -- was in the synagogue on the Sabbath, as was his custom, and he read out loud from the book of Isaiah. And what he read and what he did afterwards changed everything forever.

So just because I know that each of us could add to the list of things to do when we think church is boring, this morning I want us to look at a story that helps us understand Jesus hearbeat better, and hopefully that understanding holds the promise of so much more in our lives.

Turn with me to Luke 4:14-22

Luke 4: 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. 16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the 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 proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,

to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

20 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. 21 He began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

22 Everyone spoke well of him and was amazed by the gracious words that came from his lips.


I. Setting

Just weeks earlier the Jesus had gather with the crowds where John the baptizer was declaring coming changes, the approach of the kingdom of God, the beginning of the time When all things would change. He goes down into the water, and when he emerges the Holy Spirit is seen in a visible way descending from above, and God is heard. This is my beloved son, with whom I am fully pleased.

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