Summary: This sermon is about making and keeping promises.
Luke 4: 14 – 21 Promises
Intro: When Jack’s son, Jesse turned 13 he began as most boys do, bugging his dad about getting him a car when he turned 16. Jack grew weary of the nagging and finally gave in. He promised Jesse that on his 16th birthday he would give him a car. Jesse became more obsessed with the kind of car he was going to receive and as his 16th birthday approached, he began to leave subtle hints for his father. Finally, the great day arrived. When Jesse came to the breakfast table, there on his plate was a neat little box wrapped in gold paper with a gold bow. It was just the right size for an ignition key. Jesse tore open the package to discover a little matchbox car. His father had kept the promise; but, it wasn’t exactly the way in which Jesse had hoped.
I. To fully understand this passage, we have to understand the historical context and the significance of the synagogue experience
A. The Jewish people had been released from captivity in Babylon only to be oppressed by the Romans. They looked forward to a time when God would reverse their bad times and put their lives back on the right track.
B. The synagogue was a place for teaching and reading. Each man had an opportunity to participate. A man would volunteer to read a passage from the scrolls and then he would sit down to explain what those passages meant to him.
C. Jesus picked a lesson that was very familiar to the Jews; one that stirred up their hearts and passions. It was a passage of hope and deliverance. As they heard the words read, images would certainly have formed in the people’s minds about God’s promise and presence with them.
II. Jesus begins his sermon with the most amazing sentence; He really grabs their attention by saying, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
A. Jesus is dropping a bomb shell on this congregation. He is shaking them up. He is telling them God’s salvation is in the world. Through him, God’s deliverance, God’s promise of hope, God’s promise of freedom has come to God’s people.
B. Jesus is telling them that he is giving himself for the salvation of the world. God’s grace has come through him. “The captives have been set free. Today, I am preaching good news to the poor. Today, salvation has come.”
C. It has been said the best sermon is not one that is preached. It is one that is lived. In these words of Jesus at the synagogue, Jesus is saying just that. God’s grace is fulfilled through a person, Christ Jesus.
III. Jesus shares with those in the synagogue his “MISSION STATEMENT.” And because we are Christians, it is ours also. But things aren’t much better today than they were at the time of Jesus. We still have captives, we still have the poor. Why?
A. I believe one of the reasons is because we are trapped in our comfort zone. We look for “feel good” jobs that are easy to accomplish and pat ourselves on the back when we do them.
B. We are afraid we will fail, afraid that it’s going to cost us something we aren’t willing to give. Times are uncertain and rather than take a chance, we do nothing.
C. When we became a Christian, we made promises to ourselves, to the church and to God. Keeping those promises is serious business.
Conclusion: By the way, Jesse did get his car. Under the matchbox car in the bottom of the box was indeed a shiny new key to the ignition of a car just like the one that was in the box.
God and Jack keep their promises. Do you?