Summary: Jesus’ announcment in the synagogue of him being the Messiah, and the fulfillment of the prophecy
This week we are going to talk about Jesus, after his 40 days in the Wilderness, and where he enters the Synagogue in Nazareth to announce his fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 61:1-2a, which states:
The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives,
Now the fact that he spoke in the synagogue was not a remarkable event. The scriptures tell us that speaking in the synagogue was performed at every gathering. In fact, this dates back to the time of Nehemiah. Our scripture reading from Nehemiah 8, is an example of this very act. Listen to the words from Nehemiah 8:2-3 again:
So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the congregation, of men and women and all who could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.
This is the very tradition we carry on today with the reading of the scriptures, and of the sermon that follows as an interpretation of the scriptural readings for this day.
Now, back to Jesus and his moment in the Nazarene synagogue and what made it such an astonishing event. The reason it was so astonishing was that he spoke it with authority and from a first person point of view rather than a second person point of view. Jesus said, “The Lord has anointed ME, and the Spirit of the Lord is on Me.” If Jesus had speaking from a second person point of view, he would have said something such as “The prophet Isaiah said….”.
At this time in History, much like today the clergy or learned people of the time spoke from the opinions given by others. Even though the proper etiquette amongst the Jewish clergy would have been to say,” The prophet Isaiah said, The spirit of the Lord….., this is not the way Jesus said it.
Today we still do this very same thing, not only in the work of the church, but in our secular lives as well. For clergy they would use a statement or an opinion given by William Barclay of 1 Corinthians chapter 12,” This is a very interesting passage because it gives….”Barclay’s Study Bible: 1 Corinthians 12.
Or you might hear a clergy member say, “Well Pastor Rick Warren says, “Every church needs to state its purpose….” These are examples of how clergy today still use second person point of views to preach the Gospel.
However, Jesus did not give Isaiah the recognition of writing this passage, as much as the passage was given by God to fulfill the prophecy through Jesus. In other words, Jesus spoke these words as if he had written them himself, about himself.
There are also some very good points to be made with the words spoken. They were not just nice things to do, but more over they were tasks to be completed in order for the prophecy of the Messiah to be legitimate. They were a kind of prophecy as to who and whom Jesus was going to bring the message of the Gospel to.
Look at the list of people and what he was to do for them, bring the good news to the afflicted, proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and proclaim a year of favor from the Lord.
This first one goes back to the title of our sermon for this week. Preach the gospel. In other words, bring hope of salvation and renewal to those who are depressed and down trodden. The others could be written as follows; help others to see that they need not be held captive to their life choices. Enlighten those that walk in ignorance to the love of God, and most important of all help people to realize that God loves them, that he has given them their salvation through the sacrifice and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.
This passage from Isaiah 62, became the mission statement for Jesus’ 3 and half-year ministry in Judea. Look again at what he said he was anointed to do; bring the good news to the afflicted, proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and proclaim a year of favor from the Lord.
Can anyone think of anytime during his ministry, that he did not carry out this mission? Can anyone think of anytime in the Scriptures when Jesus did not say, I know who you are and I know what you have done, I know you are hurting, give it to God and let Him take it away from you?