Summary: Jesus shares in His first Inaugural Address that now is the point in history for Jesus’ ministry of redemption to begin and do God’s will.
THE TIME IS NOW-- Luke 4:14-21
Proposition: “Jesus shares in His first Inaugural Address that now is the point in history for Jesus’ ministry of redemption to begin and do God’s will.
Objective: My purpose is to challenge people to realize that the time is now to trust Christ as Savior and to live for Him.
You may have heard the story of the man who purchased a horse that formerly belonged to a preacher. In order to make the horse go, the command, “Praise the Lord,” had to be given. To stop the horse, “Hallelujah!” was the instruction. The purchaser did all right in getting the horse started. “Praise the Lord!” he shouted. The horse took off at a full gallop and headed for a cliff. “Whoa!” the man shouted, but to no avail. Suddenly he realized he had forgotten the command to stop the horse. Just in the nick of time he remembered. “Hallelujah!” The horse came to a stop at the very edge of the cliff, so that its new owner could look into the chasm below. The man with great excitement and relief shouted, “Praise the Lord!” Remember that saying the wrong thing can get a person into a lot of trouble.
MacDonald writes: “Between verses 13 and 14 there is a gap of about one year. During this time the Lord ministered in Judea. The only record of this ministry is in John 2-5 (miracle at Cana, 2 days in Capernaum, cleansing the Temple in Jerusalem, talks with Nicodemus by night, meeting of the woman at the well in Samaria, healing of nobleman’s son, etc.). When Jesus returned in the power of the Holy Spirit in Galilee to begin the second year of public ministry, His fame spread through the entire surrounding region. As He taught in the Jewish synagogues, He was widely acclaimed.” Verses 14 and 15 summarize the ministry of our Lord in Galilee, which serves as a backdrop to His appearance at Nazareth. In verses 16-21 Luke has recorded the appearance of our Lord at the synagogue, His reading of a portion from the prophecy of Isaiah on “Divine Deliverance,” and His astounding claim that this prophecy has been fulfilled in the hearing of His audience. Jesus was saying, “What I’ve read to you is happening—right here, right now!” He is saying, “This is God’s time, right here, right now! The time is now!” This is one of the earliest records of what took place in a Jewish synagogue service.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the south of Palestine. He grew up in a very ordinary town, named Nazareth, located in Galilee which was in the north of Palestine. According to Josephus, Nazareth was a city of almost 20,000. It had all the rough and tough character of a military town due to its placement at the cross-roads of an important highway that was used by the Roman army. Jesus was a carpenter, but at the age of 30, He became a religious teacher, moving from town to town. He was asked to speak at the synagogue in Nazareth.
These are among the most important verses in the Gospel. Only Luke records this summary of Jesus’ understanding of His mission and ministry. Jesus claims this as a present reality. “The time is now!” “Today” is the first word other than the reading. Jesus is the ultimate Servant (Isaiah 61:1-2, 58:6)
I. The Mystery of His Mission: DIVINE ANNOINTMENT AS CHRIST THE EVANGELIST (v. 18) “To preach the Gospel to the poor”—Poverty—Jesus saw Himself as coming with good news for the world’s troubled people. “Jesus’ mission for us, as His privileged people, is to proclaim the gospel everywhere we can, anytime we can, because the stakes are very, very high.” Scott Wenig
1. The assignment “To preach the Gospel”—This is the Good News that the kingdom of God has come. The word “Gospel” is a word for Good News. The Messiah will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach the Good News to the poor. The Good News is not that poor people are going to get rich, the Good News is not economic prosperity, nor material enhancement. The Good News is to people who are spiritually impoverished, spiritually poor, but that you can be released from your poverty.
2. The appointment “to the poor”— In the Bible, this word “poor” refers to both those in material and spiritual poverty. This comes from a verb which means “to shrink back” or “to cower” and was used of someone in total destitution who put one hand out and with the other covered his face to hide the shame. To those who are spiritually bankrupt, Jesus brings Good News. Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus speaks to those conscious of their moral and spiritual poverty. They often recognize their desperate spiritual condition. Jesus is the Bearer of the Good News intended for the dispossessed, the afflicted and oppressed.