Jesus brings Good News of freedom and clarity.
14 Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power. Reports about him spread quickly through the whole region. 15 He taught regularly in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
16 When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written: 18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, 19 and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”
20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. 21 Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” – Luke 4:14-21
1. Jesus brings Good News.
Jesus speaks God’s message. Jesus is the deliverer of this Best Possible Gift. The message that Jesus wanted communicated, first and foremost: “There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.” – Luke 24:47 Jesus made clear the focus of God’s “big picture” purpose: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
This is what Peter, and the witnesses of Jesus were focused on communicating, constantly, everywhere: “everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.” – Acts 10:43
2. Good News for the poor.
a. Jesus teaches “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.” – Luke 6:20 We understand this to mean that God brings fulfillment and happiness to those who recognize their spiritual need for God and choose to trust God. Turning to Jesus, they can find peace in the here and now that will be ultimately fulfilled when He returns. They will see their needs met. They will be blessed. God brings cleansing, new spiritual life, peace, and joy. We should ask ourselves, “In what ways am I looking for something more?” followed by “In what ways is Jesus the answer to my longing?” God knows what is best for us. God can unravel the good and bad from within our yearning.
b. Jesus teaches generosity from us to those who are in need. “Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” – Matthew 5:42 “’When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,’ he said, ‘don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that you will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.’” – Luke 14:12-14 As we receive what God has for us, we become more generous with others. We should be preparing for opportunities to give. We should be on the lookout for anyone who is in need.
3. Can we respond even better than Ebenezer Scrooge?
a. Ebenezer Scrooge, described in this way by Charles Dickens’ in his 1843 story, A Christmas Carol, “The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. ‘Bah! Humbug!’” Scrooge found more safety and fulfillment in the pursuit of his business. His dreams of Christmas past, present, and future taught him the error of his ways. Overjoyed by the opportunity of a new Christmas morning, Ebenezer commits to being more generous and compassionate. He enjoys the holiday, providing for his employees’ family, and donating to charity.
b. Can we realize that we may be focusing our longing on that which will not bring us fulfillment? We should consider that God knows what is best for us. Let us focus on Jesus. This season let us anticipate the arrival of Jesus! Let us focus on the arrival of Jesus in our hearts each day. With a confident hope, let us look forward to the return of Jesus on this earth. God is most valuable! May we recognize the value in every person, and the opportunity every day to share the love of Jesus! The people God has put around us are more valuable than gold! From Jesus we gain a fresh perspective on life, what we value, appreciate, graciousness, generosity.