New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry
14 Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
The Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth
16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
So let me get this straight. Jesus walks into his hometown synagogue, a place where he grew up as a center of his childhood, picks up a scroll that has unbelievable meaning to the folks that were there and starts reading. But he doesn’t just read words that everyone has heard a thousand times before. He reads words that state that He is the one sent to save them, just as promised by the prophet Isaiah. And I love how it says that the eyes of all in the synagogue where fixed on him. They were hanging on his every word, but were probably doing what I would have been doing, asking myself, “Did that just happen? Is that who I think it is?” And to think we have known him his whole life? And who does this Jesus think he is; telling us that he is fulfilling scripture? I think the word to describe the people behind those “fixed eyes” is INCREDULOUS.
As I get older, I like to think that I’ve seen a lot. Not much surprises me anymore, and I am only in my mid-forties. I’m guessing there were much wiser folks than me sitting in that holy place, hearing the most sacred of texts being read aloud by a hot-shot teacher who was gaining in popularity across the region by shaking some trees and setting the record straight with the most religious among us. But every now and then, something shakes us to our core and we feel a strange little voice inside us telling us, “Pay Attention. This is something big.” How many times have we read from our Bible and missed the “something big?” I hope I have my wits about me enough that when the time comes for me to get the message I need to get, that I can put aside my synicism and hear the message in it’s purest form – directly from the mouth of our Lord.
Dear Father, I thank you for your glorious gift of your Word to me, showing me the way to a life filled with serving you. I ask that you take away my judgment and give me the opportunity to hear your Word and to believe it. I love you and long to be filled with your presence. Amen.