(16) And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.Luke 4:16-17
(17) And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, (18) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, (19) To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (20) And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
The Messiah’s Mission
“and stood up for to read”
This showed reverance for the scripture as the Word of God. This would have been a scroll brought to Him. He unrolls it, and reads. The scripture about to be read is found in Isaiah 61:1-2.
These were people that knew Jesus. Many of them would have known of Him His whole life. He had come to this synagouge throughout His entire life. They also would have been in a culture looking for deliverance from Rome and a coming messiah.
So they hear Jesus read a messianic passage that refers to:
- the poor
- the brokenhearted
- the captives
- the blind
- and the bruised.
No doubt they may have felt this way as a nation. No doubt they thought that when the Messiah was going to come, He would help bring a fix to all of these problems- poverty, captivity, blindness and the like. But this text that Jesus read was not referring exclusively to physical poverty, emotional trauma, imprisonment, physical disability and injury.
In this passage it gives metaphors about the state of the sinner and what salvation is like.
Sinners are poor, having nothing to offer God that will take away their sin debt on their own. Sinners are spiritually sick and in need of healing. Sinners are held captive by their sin and in need of release. Sinners are blind, unable to see themselves rightly.
They hear Jesus read this passage that also refers to this personal pronoun “me”.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me…
…to set at liberty
Normally after the reading there would have been some exposition. When it says that “he sat down”, this was the normal position of the person that gives the teaching after the reading. Teachers in that day sat down.
The scripture says that all of the eyes were “fastened” on Jesus after he read this. What would he say about this scripture? Did he have new insight into this scripture? He has been teaching with authority through all of Caperneum. There were stories about Him being “born of a virgin”. John the Baptist was His cousin and had said some big things about Him. What is he going to say?
Jesus is reading a passage that says that when the Messiah comes he will be all about salvation. These descriptions are metaphors about what the Messiah is going to do for those who are in need. This will be His mission.
It is important for us to understand that mission of the Messiah was to seek and to save that which was lost. That is the mission that He gave to us. We cannot save, but we can introduce people to the One who can. This was His mission, and it is still His desire.
Who do you need to tell about Christ today?