Thursday, March 2, 2017 | Jesus Shares the Good News

Thursday, March 2, 2017 | Jesus Shares the Good News

Scripture – Luke 4:14–21 | 14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “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, 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 fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Reflection | Today’s reading comes from the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in Luke’s Gospel. After his testing in the wilderness Jesus returns to the area surrounding the Sea of Galilee, a large lake in the northern area of Israel. Traveling around the lake and visiting the villages surrounding that body of water, the ministry of Jesus begins and is received according to verse 15 with praise. In verse 16 we are told that Jesus went to his hometown of Nazareth which would have been a fairly significant journey on foot to the west of Galilee. In the synagogue of his youth he reads from Isaiah and causes quite a stir when he proclaims at the end of this reading, “today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.

” You can read more about the response of his hometown crowd in verses 20–30 of the fourth chapter who are not quite ready to acknowledge that the boy who had grown up before their very eyes was in fact the Messiah.
The significance of today’s reading is what it says about how Jesus saw as the core purpose and passion of his ministry. Listen again to the emphasis that is highlighted in this reading from Isaiah. Jesus came to “

proclaim good news to the poor… 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 favor.

I heard one pastor say it this way. “If it’s not good news for the poor, it’s not the good news of Jesus.” Let’s take a moment to consider today what that means for us individually and for our life together for our faith family. What I heard this pastor articulate was the idea that if our new life in Christ does not naturally lead us to reaching out to the poor (whether that be in spirit or in resources), to the marginalized, forgotten and broken among us, then we have missed something significant in our understanding of the good news of Christ. The Gospel, in other words, should prompt us individually and together as the church into action on behalf of others.

It is this thought and teaching that leads us to our challenge for today. This may be a difficult one for you. Before you begin your day, spend a few moments with God asking him to direct you to a particular person you might reach out to today.

Challenge for Today |

Think of the least-acknowledged, unpopular, marginalized person that you know. Reach out to them today with a smile, hug or note of kindness. Pray for them all day.

Prayer |

Holy and loving God, help me to open my eyes today to see those that I might easily overlook and to give attention to those that I might otherwise unintentionally ignore. Give me your heart today Lord Jesus. As you came to seek the least, the last and the lost, direct me to be a blessing to those who I have the chance to interact with this day. AMEN.