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Jan 27 2019 Luke 4 - Good News - Proclamation, Justice, Compassion

Lord, thank You for this time to share communion together and to receive from You what You gave us – Your body and blood – and Your forgiveness – in every way we are forgiven.

If you remember a couple weeks ago – we talked about the testing in the wilderness – This is after that.

Luke 4:16 Now Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.“ 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to tell them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled even as you heard it being read." 22 All were speaking well of him, and were amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth. They said, "Isn't this Joseph's son?" 23 Jesus said to them, "No doubt you will quote to me the proverb, 'Physician, heal yourself!' and say, 'What we have heard that you did in Capernaum, do here in your hometown too.'" 24 And he added, "I tell you the truth, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.

Those last words seem out of place – it seems like He is missing the mark! They were speaking well of Him – isn’t this Joseph’s son? The hometown boy has returned and has done well! You want to say, Jesus, they love you – OR DO THEY? Something is not right here – something is deeper – we need to go below the surface to get and understand.

What Jesus said was a rebuke to them. He is going beyond the words of the crowd and into the heart of the crowd.

Jesus came out of the wilderness in the power of the Spirit – and goes back to Nazareth to launch his ministry. Archaeologists tell us that Nazareth was a poor town – there are no signs of affluence as found in other areas. Good news to the poor – They would have thought, Jesus is talking about us!

Luke 4:16 Now Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

This text is MOSTLY from Isaiah 61 – but it has been significantly edited! He brings in certain aspects and leaves out others so that he can emphasize what He wants to emphasize. We might say – Jesus, You shouldn’t do that! But you can take that up with Him later. This is not atypical of how the Jews would handle the scriptures.

Kenneth Bailey says that the Hebrews used a specific pattern - ABCBA

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, (Isa. 61:1)

because he has anointed me (Isa. 61:1)

ABCBA – Here is the passage

A – to proclaim the good news to the poor – and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

B – Both are about Freedom and release to the oppressed and captive.

C – he ripped a verse out of Isaiah 58:6 – regaining of sight to the blind.

a. to proclaim good news to the poor. (Isa. 61:1)

b. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives

c. and the regaining of sight to the blind, (Isa. 58:6)

b. to set free those who are oppressed, (Isa. 61:1)

a. to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.“ (Isa. 61:2)

For the poor – we have narrowed that to mean the economically disadvantaged – people who cannot pay their bills. In Jesus’ day – it went beyond that. Yes, He is speaking to the economically disadvantaged – but He is speaking to those who are without status – economically, socially, even physically. The poor were all social outsiders.

It could be those who didn’t have money to pay their bills – but it could also mean women, as they were outside of the social circle – tax collectors – sinners – the blind and infirm – those without status.

Jesus – Blessed are the poor – in spirit.

In Luke – Jesus says Blessed are the poor – he didn’t say, in Spirit – and yes, it is blessed are the poor – in every way.

Release to the captives – it is not just physical – it is spiritual, social – and yes, physically as well.

The blind – physical blind – spiritually blind.

Year of the Lord’s favor – refers to the year of Jubilee – all debts forgiven and land back to the original owners. We don’t know if they actually followed that. A release from slavery and debt – a reenactment of the Exodus story – completely fulfilled – in My life and ministry, Jesus is saying.

The oppressed – it is NOT political. We will see why in a minute. This is not political release and freedom that He is talking about. That is why there is this dissonance – Jesus cutting to the quick with them.

The regaining of sight to the blind – C – the Center and focus and heart of the passage:

Kenneth Bailey

Proclamation

Justice Advocacy

Compassion

Justice Advocacy

Proclamation

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, (Isa. 61:1)

because he has anointed me (Isa. 61:1)

a. to proclaim good news to the poor. (Isa. 61:1)

b. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives

c. and the regaining of sight to the blind, (Isa. 58:6)

b. to set free those who are oppressed, (Isa. 61:1)

a. to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.“ (Isa. 61:2)

He is saying that the ministry is motivated by compassion for the needy at all levels. That is the only true motivation – compassion for people at every level. This is what gospel ministry is all about – at the heart is love – with justice and proclamation – and that is what our ministry should be about. We need to add nothing to this to do the work of the lord.

AN act of compassion is placed in the center of the list comprised of proclamation, justice, compassion.

A critical component for the church is to keep this brilliant wholistic package together.

It is so easy to just take part of this – some take justice, or compassion – or two of them and leave out one – but we must take them all. Each is meaningful, but only in their Christological setting do they have their full power.

One without the others has no power – you need all three.

Step back – how do we engage this?

Proclamation – is our proclamation of the gospel message – good news – to the poor – sound like GOOD NEWS?! The way you, or we, present Jesus – would people say that is good news for the poor? Or does it sound like bad news?

You may have noticed – in the media, some of the proclaimers of the good news sound like they are proclaiming bad news.

Are you bringing good news of great joy to the people who are outside God’s family.

Here is something else: Do you mix other news in with it? Cultural or political? We should never mix in other news – that is idolatry.

The early missionaries out of Europe went into other cultures – and I am not putting them down – but they brought in European culture along with the gospel.

Then Hudson Taylor said – this is crazy – and he dressed like the culture he was moving into!

We need to be cross cultural – it is our responsibility to bridge the gap – we can’t expect them to do that. We have to be careful – it is easy to tie in other things with the good news. It is natural to do that.

Justice advocacy – Each of us needs to be involved in some type of justice ministry – seeking out the outsider to bring justice. The level may be as simple as visiting and ministering to an elderly neighbor or a fellow church member who can’t get out. In our world, that is a critical justice ministry thing – just ask those who are homebound!

It may be working in an urban ministry or a homeless shelter. Or it might be engaging in ministry to stop human trafficking.

The third one – Compassion – the motivation must be love and nothing else.

We need to be needed – and that is not the right motivation – or we want to be admired or known as one who does these great things. We need to be cautious.

The best example is that of the Good Samaritan. The story is simple – in his normal, daily routine, he comes upon someone who has been beaten down and has needs – and he does what he can to meet that need.

God will bring us into situations where there are needs and he wants us to do what we can to meet those needs. We don’t have to search them out.

Here is what

Isaiah 61:The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; (Isa 61:1 NAU) To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,

Jesus took those last words out. For the people of that day – they would have seen it as not just helping the poor, but gaining vengeance! You who have been oppressed will become the oppressor!

5 "Foreigners will take care of your sheep; foreigners will work in your fields and vineyards. 6 You will be called, 'the LORD's priests, servants of our God.' You will enjoy the wealth of nations and boast about the riches you receive from them.

The foreigners will be taking care of YOU! But Jesus left all of that out. And that is a big part of His point.

Luke 4:20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to tell them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled even as you heard it being read."

Jesus is declaring Himself to be the Messiah.

22 All were speaking well of him, and were amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth. They said, "Isn't this Joseph's son?"

So Jesus reproves them. You’re one of us – and they are expecting preferential treatment. Like the athlete who comes from a poor kid – who signs with the NFL and every relative and friend and non-friend shows up at his house. 23 Jesus said to them, "No doubt you will quote to me the proverb, 'Physician, heal yourself!' and say, 'What we have heard that you did in Capernaum, do here in your hometown too.'" 24 And he added, "I tell you the truth, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.

But Jesus squashes their desire for preferential treatment. They believed they were superior to the outsiders – and Jesus is saying – no, I have a bigger mission – based on compassion and not vengeance -so he tells them two stories – Jesus connects his ministry to their ministry. He chooses two specific ones.

Luke 4:25 But in truth I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's days, when the sky was shut up three and a half years, and there was a great famine over all the land. 26 Yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to a woman who was a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, yet none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian."

What He does – telling these stories about their heroes – He tells the stories of two Gentiles who are welcomed into God’s community – even when there were many Jews who may have needed the same blessing. The gentile widow – and this official from Syria – who was not just healed, but cleansed! Only Jews could be clean – and this man was made clean! To the point he could have entered the temple, which no gentile was allowed in the temple.

The people were interested in vengeance, but Jesus came for compassion to all people.

Let’s pray…


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