Luke 4: 14-21
Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
When I read this passage, I try to imagine what Jesus felt, filled with the power of the Spirit. His experience was so powerful that word about him spread through the countryside. As he traveled and taught in the synagogues, everyone praised him. If you and I had been there, what would we have seen and felt? I’m reminded of watching others filled with Spirit; the sermons we hear from Andy and Dorota sometimes bring me to tears. Watching a beautiful dancer, or hearing beautiful music brings joy, and something moves in my heart. Being with my grandchildren fills me with love, and gratitude. There can be moments of pure blessing for each of us. It must have been something like that for the listeners as Jesus spoke to them.
Jesus’s connection with the divine convinced him that he had important messages to convey directly from God. And the messages were unequivocal: good news to the poor, release to the captives, sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed, the Lord’s favor. That intensity of experience that he conveyed helped everyone who heard him realize that Jesus was fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy.
Are those teachings still needed as reminders today? How does each of us feel closer to the power of the Spirit? And how can we each share those gifts Jesus spoke about with others, helping to free the oppressed, to bring release and sight?