Jesus’ brief inaugural sermon
Jesus enters his home church in Nazareth “as was his custom” each Sabbath (Luke 4:16). He is handed the Old Testament scrolls. We don’t know if this was the first time he spoke, but it is the first time the Gospel writers record him preaching in the synagogue. So many passages to choose from. So many topics to address. What should He speak on? Should he choose disciplines like prayer, Scripture reading, church attendance or fasting? Should he talk about character issues such as: purity, honesty, integrity or fidelity? Should he expound on the afterlife, heaven, hell, angels, demons and judgment. He knows he has one shot to make an impression. He thumbs through the scrolls until he lands on Isaiah 61.
He reads the following words:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
He then gives a one sentence commentary on these words:
“…and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Sermon over. Ministry just beginning. I want us to talk about why Jesus choose this passage and how they words conveyed a strategy of opportunity for those I call “The Forgotten Church”.