I love God’s church, but sometimes I get really frustrated with “church people.” Of course I love the church and I would gladly give my life for her, but can we be honest with one anther? Some of the things we get all worked up about are just plane annoying. Like the Christmas cups at Starbucks. They took of very non-chrsitain symbols of the holiday season and everyone freaked out. Another example is this past elections season. People supporting both major candidates thought they were with God’s candidate, and even those who chose to vote third party were saying they were God’s people. With all these difference voices sometimes I just wonder which ones are my kind of people? From all the different points of view in the media and all different people claiming to be part of God’s people. How can we know which ones are God’s kind of people? Luke 4:16-21 gives insight into who are God’s kind of people.
Here in this passage Jesus begins his public ministry. He has just left the wilderness overcoming the temptation of satan, and then he goes in all the region preaching in the synagogues. He has created a name for himself and his preaching and teaching are widely accepted by the people. He is becoming quite the famous preacher, all is going well until he enters Nazareth.His home town. There is no doubt that the people in the congregation know him and his family. They watched him grow up, and now he is there as this well know preacher. He begins to preach a sermon from the book of Isaiah, but the invitation is cut short when the people reject both Jesus and his message.
Who is the preacher?
Obviously we know that Jesus was the preacher, but did they know that in that synagogue the day he preached it? Yes, they knew that Jesus was the one reading the text that day, but did they know that the one reading the scroll that day was the some preacher mentioned in the book of Isaiah that he was reading? Jesus starts out reading this school form Isaiah 61. He reads, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me.” That kind of language would be recognized by any Jew to be language about the messiah. The word anointing was not used lightly and here in this passage it says that the Spirit of the Lord is upon him and then he says it again almost redundant that he has anointed him. The mind of the Jew in the audience would have gone immediately to the messiah.
The Jews were expecting this great hero to come and set them free from captivity. The Romans came in and conquered the people, they had to answer to a foreign government with whom they did not agree. The Romans did not understand the customs, culture, or religion of the Jews, and they were not sensitive to those disagreements. It was not a comfortable time. Therefore, the Jews were waiting patiently on the anointed one of God to come and set them free from Rome. It was the bedtime story for their children, it was the conversation around the water cooler at at the office, it was at the forefront of their minds. Therefore, there is no way that would miss a reference like this. What they did miss however was that this promised messiah was the one standing right in front of them.
When Jesus finished his sermon, he sat down and said, “today this scripture has been fulfilled din your hearing.” He is saying that he is in fact this anointed one of Isaiah 61 and he is this long awaited messiah. They however do not take this claim the way we would expect. But rather they proceed to not only kick him out of town, but they try to throw him off a cliff. It is a very sad event, Jesus was there with his kind of people, the ones from his hometown, but they totally missed it.
Who is the audience?
The people in the room obviously don’t get it, so the question remains, “who are Jesus kind of people?” Jesus mentions, the poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed. That sounds like a group of people that you want to use to build a mighty kingdom. Please pardon the sarcasm, but in all honesty if we were to go and pick the kind of people that we were going to use to continue the kingdom work, I highly doubt we would gather up a group of blind impoverished prisoners to do it, but that is exactly the method Jesus used.
Look at the ministry of Jesus. There is the story of the woman at the well, the call of the tax collector disciple, the blind man in John 9, the parable of the lost sheep, coin, and prodigal son, Mary Magdalene, etc… The message of Jesus is carried on the backs of my kind of people, outcasted, “least of these” folks who do not matter all that much to the world. Christ however openly says, “these are my kind of people.”
What is the message?
Now let’s answer the last question, What is the message? The message is; good news, liberty, recovery of sight, freedom, and the year of the Lord’s favor. There is great hope for “my kind of people” because the message of God is good news. The kingdom of God is our world turned upside down. The poor are rich and the rich are poor, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. It is a completel reversal of our system of value and this is good news. We call this news the Gospel. Jesus came and preached this great news to this kind of people and that means there is good news for you and there is good news for me. The good news is not that we will become rich if we are poor, it is not about early rewards, but it is about eternity.
If you were to go back and read Isaiah 61 you would find that Jesus left out a part of the text. It reads in Isaiah 61, “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God.” The day of vengeance did not need to be declared in that day, because the day of vengeance was the day of the crucifixion when the Lord took God’s judgment for my kind of people. Therefore, today I also proclaim good news of salvation to everyone no matter what kind of people you think you are. You are God’s kind of people.
-Brayden L. Buss