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More Epiphany Revealing!

January 24, 2016

christ-enters-synagogue

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Third Sunday after the Epiphany                   Trinity Lutheran Church

24 January 2016                                                 Murdock, NE

 

+Jesu Juva +

 

Luke 4:16-30

 

More unwrapping Christmas present Jesus today. A revealing. A manifestation. Specifically making known what is so special about Jesus. So that you see Jesus in a different light. In a way you’d never seen Him before. Or better yet, that you believe in Him as God FOR YOU and for YOUR SALVATION.

 

So, lo and behold right off the bat Jesus teaches in the synagogues all throughout Galilee.

 

On this particular Sabbath Day He’s come back to Nazareth. His hometown. Off to synagogue service! You’re there too. You’ve grown up with Him. Jesus gets up to read from the Old Testament. It’s a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Jesus reads the first part of chapter 61.

 

“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 liberty to the captives

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

 

Everything is done according to Hoyle. Just as it should be. All what you’d expect Jesus to do and to say. It’s what rabbis do. In addition, what an awesome part of the Old Testament to read! It screams of God’s astonishing and staggering promises to pull a new and greater exodus for His people Israel and to do a greater Year of Jubilee when God would set all things right again.

 

You’ve been attending synagogue all your life. You’ve heard it all before. So have your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. The reading from Isaiah 61 just goes in one ear and out the other. You yawn. Check your watch. “Isn’t synagogue service over yet? I’ve got stuff to do. Hurry up Jesus. Preach the sermon. Let’s pray and get back home.” Same old. Same old.

 

Your eyes are on the hometown preacher. Get on with it Jesus! That’s when Jesus throws a huge monkey wrench into the entire service and all your plans. Says what you never expected to hear ever. Says what you never thought the hometown boy would ever dare to say. It’s so audacious! So daring! So bold! Jesus goes where no preacher of Israel had ever gone before with a sermon!

 

And what’s that? It is the divine epiphany revelation. Christmas present Jesus unwrapped for all to see and to hear. Jesus declares: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

He didn’t? Yes, He just did! He’s doubled down! Synagogue Nazareth is scandalized!   By preacher Jesus. How about you?

 

It’s one thing to read the prophetic Word of Isaiah that promises Messiah’s salvation. But it’s quite another thing for Jesus to claim that He is the fulfillment of that prophetic Word! Don’t you think that’s pushing it a bit? Wouldn’t you much rather have miracle worker Jesus? You know, water into wedding wine and other similar zingers? You’d have use of a Jesus like that, right? But this? The fulfillment of Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy of salvation? Really? No wonder Jesus says: “I tell you the truth. No prophet is accepted in his own hometown.”

 

And so the sad history of Israel continues here at Nazareth with Jesus. The pattern is this: God sends preacher-prophets to His people. You remember some of them, don’t you? Like the mighty preachers and mighty miracle workers Elijah and Elisha, right? However, what kind of reception did they receive? What kind of hearing did they get? Did the people gladly hear and learn the Word of God they preached? No. Double No. Triple No.

 

So what did God do with rejected-by-Israel Elijah? God sent him to minister to a non-Israelite widow from Zarephath. What about rejected-by-Israel Elisha? God used him to cure Namaan the Syrian general from leprosy. God sent both of them TO THE GENTILES! God took His saving Word and promises away from Israel – since they insisted on not hearing it and preached it to others that would hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

 

When Jesus reminds Synagogue Narareth of their national history they are furious. How dare He! Now prophet preacher Jesus in whom the salvation of the world has come must be eliminated. They won’t have any of Him or His “favorable year of the Lord” redemption. They’re quite willing to have Isaiah 61 fulfilled. BUT NOT WITH JESUS THE SON OF JOSEPH!

 

So this angry mob throws Jesus out of Synagogue Nazareth. Runs Him out of town on a rail. Push and shove Him to the edge of a cliff where they’ll hurl Him to His death and end this troubler of Israel forever! As it was with the prophets of old….

 

But this time it’s different. Jesus will not die now at this mob’s hands. He will not be thrown off a cliff. Oh, the day of His death will come. But not now. So Jesus walks right through them and “goes on his way.” Goes on His way. It is the way TO JERUSALEM. Where He will suffer Himself to be utterly rejected, betrayed, beaten, and brutally crucified on a Friday that you now ironically call “good”!

 

Truly that is good. Good FOR YOU. After all – as Jesus hangs dead — the favorable year of the Lord preached at Synagogue Nazareth is revealed most fully! All is sin answered for. Your too – as Holy Spirit-filled and anointed Messiah Jesus hangs as the atoning sacrifice for all sin and every sinner.

 

Sin is no longer your master. Death is no longer your lord. Jesus is!

 

Did you hear that? Jesus is Lord! Rejected and crucified but risen from the dead Lord Jesus came to you. Lording His Good Friday death over you when He branded you with His holy, divine and saving name in baptism. He buried you into His Good Friday death that atoned for all your sin and paid for all its hellish damnation.

 

Your sin doesn’t belong to you anymore. It belongs to Jesus. He took it. He answered for it on the Friday you call “good”. The forgiveness He achieved and won for you there He gave to you in your baptism. There too He gave you the gift of the Holy Spirit so that you are born again! New creations in Him! Spelled – F-A-I-T-H!

 

Jesus not only proclaims but He also gives you the promised favorable year of the Lord. Listen to His favorable-year-of-the-Lord-promise to you: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mark 16:16). Saved you are! By Jesus! Who died for you. Who baptized you today! He says so. He promises.

 

With such a Savior like that you won’t be throwing Him out. Instead, you’ll be invoking His most holy Name at the beginning of the service again to be graciously and saving-ly present among you. Using His Name properly. Calling upon His name for even more of His: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Invoking His name according to His promise that He is indeed God FOR YOU.

 

And that He is! Jesus is the one and only God who delivers and gives His favorable-year-of-the-Lord-Good-Friday salvation to you. You heard it earlier in the absolution. You’ve heard it now in the preaching of the gospel. In a few minutes you’ll hear and receive it with His promise that this is His body and blood given and shed FOR YOU for the forgiveness of all your sin.

 

How wonderful! What great epiphany joy!

 

In the Name of Jesus.

 

 

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