Summary: A sermon for the 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany
Jesus is telling them that he is the Word of God incarnate in the world. Jesus is telling them that as God’s word in the world, Jesus is the bringer hope and salvation to all people.
Jesus is like the king in the following story;
"Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the homes of the poor. No one whom he visited thought that he was their ruler. One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left.
Later he visited the poor man again and disclosed his identity by saying, "I am your king!" The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor, but he didn’t.
Instead he said, "You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the course food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!" 1
To me you have given yourself! This is what Jesus is saying to those in the synagogue that day. Today, I am giving myself for the salvation of the world. Today, God’s grace has come through me. Today, the captive have been set free. Today, I am preaching good news to the poor. Today, salvation has come.
Someone once said the best sermon is not one which is preached, but one that is lived. In these words of Jesus at the synagogue, he is saying just that. Today, God’s grace is fulfilled through a person, Jesus Christ.
Jesus is putting God’s word into practice.
Jesus is putting God’s word of salvation into practice in our world, too. This is a passage of hope and salvation for us.
Jesus is reminding us that no matter what we experience in this world He is there for us. Jesus is God’s incarnate word in this world of brokenness.
Jesus is talking about God’s plan of salvation for the whole earth, instead of just the nation of Israel. Jesus is saying that through him, God would bring salvation to all people. Jesus is saying that through him salvation would come even to us today. Salvation is here for us because Jesus has fulfilled this passage.
This salvation is seen very clearly in this passage. Jesus says that part of his salvation is to preach the good news. The good news is that God is with us, God cares about us. There is forgiveness, there is hope, there is renewal. Jesus knew that in a world where people find only the bad news, where sin, death and the devil are alive and well, we need some good news. We need to know that God has not abandoned us.
Jesus wants us to cling to that hope. Jesus wants us to cling to the good news of His salvation.
But some don’t.
It is like the bees in the following:
As I finished washing the dishes, I glanced out of the window and saw my 8 year old brother dangling a long pole in the swimming pool. His tangled brown hair hung in his eyes, and his clothes were splashed with water. He always managed to avoid helping with the chores, and today was no different. I watched as he carefully steadied the pole in the water, lifted it and tapped it on the concrete deck.