Summary: A Sermon for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany, Seris C.

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4th Sunday after Epiphany, January 31, 2010, “Series C”

Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, Luther described the Scriptures as the cradle that held your living Word for our lives. Through the power or your Holy Spirit, continue to open our hearts and minds to your Word, that we might become more aware of our desperate need and deep dependence upon your grace. Enable us to respond to your Word, not just with renewed faith, but also with an enthusiasm to reach out to other in witness. This we ask in Christ’s holy name. Amen.

This morning’s Gospel lesson is the conclusion of the story that began with our lesson last Sunday. In that lesson, Luke tells us that Jesus had developed a reputation for being able to preach with authority throughout the region around the Sea of Galilee. In his travels, he returned to his hometown of Nazareth, where he had been raised as a child, and he was asked to address his local congregation on the Sabbath.

Jesus accepted their invitation, read from the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah, and took the seat of proclamation. Our text ended where we pick up this morning, with the open words of our Lord’s sermon: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And as I pointed out last Sunday, the emphasis of Jesus’ message is that the Scriptures are not dead, but that even today, God’s Word continues to be lively and active, powerfully at work, to call people into relationship with him, change lives for the better, and able to redeem us from sin and death. As a result of the incarnation of the Word of God in Jesus, and through his death and resurrection, the Scriptures continue to be fulfilled in our hearing.

When the people thought Jesus was finished with his message, Luke tells us that they “all spoke well of him, and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.” But that admiration didn’t last long. In that small town in which Jesus grew up, there were a lot of people that knew the human side of Jesus all too well. “Is this not Joseph’s son?” the people asked.

And Jesus responded in a way that gave credence to their concern. “No doubt,” Jesus said, “you might say to me, ‘I knew you all your life. You might start by applying your message to yourself.’” Isn’t it amazing, how many of us have a hard time outgrowing our childhood image, especially when we go into a career or profession that no one would have believed we aspire to? Even my mother had a hard time accepting the fact that I had become an ordained minister, although, she is impressed with our ministry here at St. John’s.

Obviously, as Luke tells us, following his sermon, the communication between Jesus and his hometown congregation didn’t go very well. In fact, the situation reached the boiling point, in which the town elders led Jesus out of the synagogue, to the brink of a cliff, and were ready to toss him over the edge, presumably to stone him to death. But somehow, in their frenzy, he escaped.

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