Jesus entered the local synagogue one day in Nazareth. Each Sabbath the rulers of the synagogue had prepared readings which they would discuss and study. This Sabbath, Jesus was offered the scroll of Isaiah to read the stipulated text. Jesus however had something else in mind. “When He opened the book, He found the place where it was written”…and He quoted what we know today to be …
Isaiah 61:1 ¶ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.
Now the scroll from which Jesus read was a large scroll. Huge. It would have taken a while for Jesus to find this precise scripture, and you can imagine what was going on the minds of the people as He searched. It was not chapter and verse in number form as the Bible is today. So although Jesus clearly knew the scripture, it still would have taken Him a while to find that text. “What’s He doing”….”what’s He looking for, we told Him what to read?”….”what on earth is He up to now, He was trouble enough when He was young, now He’s older He still thinks He can do what He wants” ‘sigh’…..
So Jesus reads the text and gives the scroll back to the minister, and sits down. Those Jews knew what that scripture was all about. It was a Messianic prophecy. It was a very important part of their entire belief system, an integral component of their hopes and aspirations. Have you ever been to a place and known that EVERY single eye in the entire place is focused on you?
Luke 4:20 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.
And Jesus then said the most astonishing thing He could have. Now remember, this was a Messianic prophecy, so everyone was very very curious as to what Jesus had to say.
21 “And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears”.
And from there till verse 27 Jesus turns their cosy little world completely on its head. You can read it for yourselves in the gospel of Luke chapter 4, but what He said effectively is this.
You believe that because God has raised you for a purpose, that makes you ‘special’, or exclusive. Not so. For I am come to tell you that My Father loves the entire world, that you are not to be exclusive, but inclusive. That you are not Israel, and everyone else non-Israel. That you are not the children of God, and everyone else not children. For I am come to save the whole world, to set at liberty ALL captives to sin, to free all men from the bondage and slavery to sin and addiction. The Messiah is not here today to just make you special, oh no.
And friends, this goes for Christians also. I grew up as a Catholic. In those days everyone else was ‘non-Catholic’, thus inferior and in need of what I was. Then I received Jesus into my life, and I became a Pentecostal Protestant, everyone else becoming non-Pentecostal and in need of what I was. Today, I am a Seventh Day Adventist. Let me assure you my Adventist friends out there, that we are not to look upon everyone else as ‘non-Adventists’, and believe that they must become what we are. No, no, no! What everyone needs in this very late day and age, is Jesus! Whether Catholic, Protestant, Seventh Day Adventist, Messianic, Pentecostal, unbeliever, no matter who or what you are, regardless of who others may be, everyone needs Jesus! Jesus is the ONLY Way, Truth, and Life. And He is coming soon not just for Seventh Day Adventists, but for anyone and everyone who has accepted Him and His atoning sacrifice for sin. And they are everywhere. They belong to all manner of denominations, they speak any number of languages, they are many different colors, some are highly educated with letters after their names to prove it, while others like me have only what it takes to put a few words together on paper. But one thing they have in common. A Savior. A Savior they love with all their hearts, minds, and souls. A Savior Who has empowered them by His Spirit and they are living lives that honor Him through the keeping of His commandments and are testifying of His love to a world that is groaning under the collective weight of guilt, fear, stress, and unbelief. A Savior Who is inspiring them to proclaim from the rooftops that there is a God Who loves them, a God Who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin, a God Who longs to have them live with Him forever, free from heartache, free from fear, free from all anguish and pain, and He is coming very soon to take these children home.
To all of you who are unsure about your faith, or maybe know that you are not quite living up to what you ought to be, I am not recommending any church, faith, or denomination, or belief system as an answer to your doubt or questions. What I recommend is a Person. A Person who will accept you whoever, and wherever you are, and regardless of what you have done. This Person isn’t partial, He doesn’t play favorites, He doesn’t require you to have an education, certain looks, or ancestry in order to qualify. This Person will accept you as you are , right now, right where you are , today. He loves you with a passion, and He longs for you to know Him and experience the joy and peace of knowing that you have eternal life, and be free from the power of sin over your life, and become someone like Himself. One who has courage to stand in the midst of potential enemies and not be afraid to speak the truth. To not be afraid to testify that God is LOVE, and that the whole world may know Him and for the first time, have real tangible blessed hope. And this Person’s name in Hebrew is Yeshua…in Greek, Iesous… in English, Jesus… in Maori, Ihu. It doesn’t matter in what language you speak to Him, He will answer. That is a promise