Summary: A RECOGNIZANT MISSION OF COSMIC PROPORTIONS, ¡KOF ALL CREATION - More specifically we are introduced to the RESCUER AND RECLAIMER HIMSELF¡K JESUS - As the angels had announced at his birth, ¡§They bring Good News of Great Joy¡K for a SAVIOR was born.¡¨
Many of you may remember the story of Captain Scott O¡¦Grady whose plane was shot down in the Bosnian conflict less than two years ago¡K
The June 19, 1995 issue of Newsweek recounts the details of Captain O¡¦Grady¡¦s six day ordeal behind enemy lines. Tearing off his chute on the ground, he hid in the bushes while hostile Serbs shot at anything that moved in the brush. Over the next five days, O¡¦Grady would survive on ants, plants, and rain water, daring to move only at night so he would not be detected. In the middle of the night, he would signal with his hand-held radio with its limited range of forty miles. O¡¦Grady, however, was running out of time and losing the power from the radio batteries and was suffering from hypothermia. As he huddled in a rocky pasture on a clear midnight on June 8, O¡¦Grady faintly heard the voice of another American pilot on his radio. Once he had been found, the U.S. Air Force spared no expense and quickly assembled the finest aircraft worth hundreds of millions of dollars to rescue their comrade in Bosnia.
- We, like Captain Scott O¡¦Grady, live in a world full of danger¡K despair¡K maybe not hiding in fear for our immediate lives, but quietly in our souls we¡¦re tempted to draw back in fear, sensing that we are surrounded by danger¡K that evil is the great occupying power, and that ultimately it claims our life in death.
- This morning in God¡¦s word, we meet God¡¦s response to any such feelings. For the God of Heaven and Earth has not been silent. He sees the Scott O¡¦Grady story is indeed our own¡K we are caught behind enemy lines¡K and he¡¦s come in power to rescue and reclaim this world.
Jesus returned to Galilee in th 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¡Xonly Naaman they 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. Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority¡K When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, ¡§You are the Son of God!¡¨ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ. At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, ¡§I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.¡¨ (Luke 4:14-32, 40-43)