Friday, January 25, 2019

Who is Jesus?

All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. ‘Isn’t this Joseph’s son?’ they asked. (Luke 4:22 NIV)
The people of Nazareth are surprised at Jesus’ rise to fame. They only know him as the son of Joseph, the local carpenter. However, he has appeared all over their province of Galilee bringing the very words of God and healing people. It is the Sabbath day. Jesus visits their local synagogue. Someone hands him the scroll of Isaiah 61. He reads it.

‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ (Luke 4:18-19 NIV).

He then says, “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:20 NIV) Jesus means that he, Jesus, is the fulfillment of these words of Isaiah. He actually means that Isaiah the prophet from 700 years earlier is speaking about him. He is the Messiah.

The people of Nazareth cannot understand Jesus’ words. They know him as the son of Joseph; not the Messiah, not the one who is promised by the Old Testament. Later Jesus tells them that God is now extending his kingdom to people who live outside Israel; like the pagan Syrian-Phoenicians who live in Tyre and Sidon, near the Mediterranean Sea. How do they respond to this? They get so angry that they try to throw Jesus down a cliff. They fail to see Jesus for who he is, the Messiah, the Son of God whom God has sent to save all the people of the world, not just Israel.

Jesus not only saves. He also invades us. He is the Lord as well as Saviour. Sometimes, like Nazareth, we fail to see Jesus as Lord and King. We only want to see him as the son of our local carpenter, Joseph. How open are we to Jesus as Lord and King?

Pastor Pye