Summary: Eight sermons that deal with eight unique characteristics of Jesus. Got the idea from Joe Causey.
“Eight Unique Characteristics of Jesus Christ”
Sometimes our words can get us into trouble. A man who smelled like a brewery flopped on a seat at a bus stop next to a priest. The man’s shirt was stained, clothes messy, and a half empty bottle of wine was sticking out of his torn coat pocket. He opened his newspaper and began reading. Needless to say, the priest became uncomfortable at the smell and appearance of his seatmate. After a few minutes the untidy guy turned to the priest and asked, "Say, Father, what causes arthritis?" In his annoyed state, the priest retorted, "Mister, it’s caused by loose living, being with cheap women, too much alcohol and contempt for your fellow man." "Well I’ll be...." the drunk muttered, returning to his paper. The priest, realizing the error of his comment, apologized. "I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to be so rude. How long have you had arthritis?" "I don’t, Reverend. I was just reading here that the Pope does."
It is true that what you say can get you into trouble. Today we are going to see that what Jesus said in his home synagogue almost got him thrown over a cliff. But what Jesus said was not an accident. He intended to say what He said. Let’s read about it in Luke 4:14-30. This morning I want us to go back to that place and time almost 2,000 years ago. Let’s take a seat in the back of the synagogue and see what transpired at the homecoming at Jesus’ church. First, let’s notice:
I. HOMETOWN BOY RETURNS! (14-17)
After the baptism and temptation of Jesus, He had been traveling around the other areas of Galilee preaching and even performing miracles. By this time most of the folks in Nazareth had already heard the story of how Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding feast 10 miles down the road in Cana. There were also scattered reports of healing. This Jesus of Nazareth had become a hot topic of conversation all over the region. And now, on this Sabbath, there was a whisper among the crowd as they assembled at the synagogue. “Look, there he is. Jesus is here today.” Jesus had returned to His “home synagogue” to preach. I’m sure many of the folks remembered Him and looked forward to hearing what He had to say. They were excited because the Hometown Boy had returned. They were proud of their hometown boy. That would soon change as we will see later.
As part of the worship, a man in the congregation would be asked to read from the Torah (the law), then make remarks. After this, a man would read from the Prophets and make remarks. Jesus was handed the scroll of Isaiah. He carefully unrolled it from back to front until He found the passage to read. Before we leave this setting there is something important I want you to note:
It was part of the regular weekly custom of Jesus to worship every Sabbath in a synagogue.
Now you can be certain there were things going on in the Synagogue that Jesus didn’t agree with. Yet He still went, every Sabbath! The Synagogue was far from perfect, yet Jesus didn’t excuse Himself from worshiping with God’s people on God’s day. If there was ever anyone who really didn’t need to go to church, it was Jesus. After all, He was God in the flesh. He conversed with His heavenly Father on a continual basis. But when the Sabbath rolled around, where was He? He was in the local synagogue. Do you see the lesson? If the Son of God took time every week to gather with others to worship we should as well. Even if you aren’t 100% pleased with what goes on in your church, you should never get out of the good habit of worshiping with God’s people. When you come to church, the main reason you are here is to worship God. You will have fun, fellowship, and friendship but the main reason you come is to meet God in worship. Don’t miss this important lesson from Jesus. Second, let’s notice:
II. HIS MISSION (18-19)
The text that Jesus chose to read was found in Isaiah 61. Of course, in that time the Old Testament wasn’t divided into chapters and verses, so He had to unroll much of the scroll to find the exact place where these words were written. Jesus used these words to explain His mission, to explain why He came to earth. Jesus came to proclaim the Good News to the weak: The word “poor” literally means “someone who is unable to care for himself.” A better rendering would be the word “needy” or “weak.”
Throughout His ministry Jesus stressed that like a Great Physician, He didn’t come for the “well” but for the “sick.” The point is we are all sick, some just don’t realize it. He came to announce good news to the “weak,” that’s the general task. Then we see some specific areas in which He would help needy people: