A familiar prophecy (Isaiah 61) was read orally by the ONE who had come to fulfill it. Though Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Nazareth was really His hometown. Jesus gave the opportunity to hear the good news of His position and of His appointment by God as the long expected Messiah. Many prophecies were made by major and minor prophets. How did Luke, a Gentile physician, introduce this new ministry? From Jesus’ presentation in the temple, Luke advanced the story of Jesus at age thirty (Luke 3:23). It was then that His ministry was begun as the Messiah, who at this time recognized His mission on Earth. The gospel was spreading throughout the Roman Empire that Jesus is the Savior of all people after His baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan River (Luke 3). The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where He was tempted by Satan. After spending time in Jerusalem and surrounding areas (Luke 4), Jesus and His disciples ministered there for about two years. Later, He came back to Nazareth.
Jesus grew up attending worship services in Jewish synagogues every Sabbath day (Saturday). Jesus did not allow himself to be bound by religious traditions such as not healing on the Sabbath (Luke 6:6-10). How were His plans given a jump-start? He was fully committed to God’s word. In all four gospels, Jesus was extremely faithful to observing the requirements of the Old Testament laws. His seriousness, by all means, inspires us in our walk with the Lord today. At this time, how can we heal the brokenhearted, preach deliverance and help the blind to recover sight spiritually? We as Christians must believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).
This is a life-saving message that gives hope and healing to the brokenhearted. Truth like this reveals purpose and spiritual insight when we may be blinded by sin or even bruised by our own vain efforts. Wisdom from God provides the right words when we minister to others. James 1:5-6 tell us to ask God for wisdom in faith. Is it possible for us to miss blessings because we doubt God? Matthew 13:58 leads us to believe that many works were not done because of their unbelief. Lack of faith may cause suffering of various kinds to us today. Perhaps greater faith may solve many present day problems. We must learn to believe that Jesus is special and powerful in our lives!
In the Nazareth synagogue, Jesus’ message was rejected with rage! What determines how a message is received? Sometimes physical and verbal attacks follow criticisms. A response that we as Christians need for growth is thoughtful self-assessment and repentance when needed. Showing love in our corrections of others helps. Let us examine our words and voice tone to smooth over the situation with God’s help. It may also help to try to see ourselves in the place of others. Problems are not always easily solved regardless of our efforts. Isaiah announced that the Messiah will save people from their sins. Predictions were made for the ministry of Jesus Christ as he fulfilled the prophecies of Isaiah. Do we see a human side of Jesus? He is a perfect representative of humanity! The sympathy and graciousness of Christ cannot be overemphasized. Besides His teachings, miracles were evidences of His messiahship with occasions for bringing the needy to a realization of spiritual necessities.
The agenda for the life of Jesus Christ had been prophesied many times. He was presented by Luke as the Son of God and the Son of Man who was divine and human. He was on a mission for God. His sacrifice was an offer of salvation for all of us. Like Jesus, it is rewarding to teach the word after becoming diligent learners. At the human level, one of the major contributing factors to Jesus’ success as a teacher was that He was also an excellent student!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.