Summary: He would do great things, through you, if you are a Christian and not just a religious person
"WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?”
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are downtrodden;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
The first 30 or so years of Jesus’ earthly life seems to have been pretty positive. Luke tells us in chapter 2 verse 52 that Jesus continued from His youth to grow in stature, and in favor with God and men.
Then comes His baptism in the Jordan by John, and His temptation in the wilderness by Satan. Now I suppose that could be seen as a not so positive part, depending on how you look at trials and testings. It certainly ended on a positive note.
But so far as the people are concerned, Jesus is a pretty popular guy. He comes back from the wilderness and when he enters Galilee people start spreading the news. We’re not really told why. We can only guess that the things John said about Him at His baptism and the day after have got their curiosity going.
And it says in verse 15 of our text chapter that He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.
So Jesus, at this point in His life, is making the speaking circuit, much in demand, quickly becoming a Galilean household name.
If He had waited until about 1973 to be born, by now He’d be selling tapes and books, Christian musicians would be scrambling for gigs opening His seminars, Larry King would be sending Him invitations to be interviewed on his show.
“Who is this Jesus?” “What do we make of this new guy on the scene, who has very suddenly just appeared, seemingly from nowhere, and started healing people and telling them stuff that’s really making them feel good?”
People would be driving from all over the country, and flying in from different parts of the world to hear Him speak in person.
Maybe they’d even start wearing “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets…
Jesus was a popular man.
So He comes home to Nazareth. Now Nazareth is usually portrayed as a very small village. Just a small cluster of small homes, where everyone knew everyone and everything there was to know about each other.
I couldn’t locate any information to confirm that it was small. Present day Nazareth has a population of over 50 thousand.
We do have the remark from the crowd in verse 22 of Luke 4 however, that would indicate that they all knew this was ‘Joseph’s son’, and would lead us to believe that it was a small village as opposed to a large community where many people would not be familiar with the carpenter’s family.
Anyway, Jesus has been away for a while, and during His absence stories have started trickling back into town. Jesus went down to see that baptist in Judea, and the baptizer called Him the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. Oh, c’mon! “No, really! There were a number of reliable witnesses standing close enough to hear every word, and that’s what he said!’ About Jesus? “Yes!”
Where is He now? “Dunno. He walked off on His own and no one has seen Him for more than a month.”
Then one Sabbath morning as the men gather in the Nazareth synagogue and the women gather at the door to listen from outside, someone says, “Hey, is that Jesus?”
And as those who are nearby turn and look where the person is indicating, there comes Jesus. He comes to the synagogue and walks in, approaches the attendant, and opens the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
Now I don’t know if this can be documented; but I read somewhere once that the tradition in the synagogues was to read through the Law, a portion at a time, and then a second reader would read from the prophets. Wherever the readers left off the week before, the readers the next week would pick up from there.
If this is true, then Jesus came to the Nazareth synagogue on the day that these verses from Isaiah were due to be read.
In any case, Jesus takes the scroll and reads these verses we have as our text today, and then He sits down, and it says all eyes are on Him, every ear tuned in, to hear what Nazareth’s favorite son has to say.
WHAT WOULD MESSIAH DO?