Jesus reads the Scripture. What he says next shocks them all.

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16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17And 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 proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”  Luke 4:16-22


First Audience

When we read the Scripture as followers of Jesus we may miss the moments that profoundly impacted the first audience to Jesus. The first audience on this day in Nazareth was astonished. Jesus had come home. The carpenter’s son was back. Taking his turn to read the Scripture in the synagogue he read a familiar text from Isaiah and he sat down.

What Jesus said next shocked them. “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Identity Claims

Jesus is saying, this is my mission. This is who I am. This is true of me. I am the Lord’s Servant. I am The One. Right now, right here. I have fulfilled this text.

“The Spirt of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good new to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Those who believed Jesus would never read the Scripture the same way. Now they saw Jesus as the fulfillment of all the Law and the Prophets. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Scripture. He is the author and finisher of their faith. The Scripture, His Scripture a gift from Him them points to Him. Jesus is the Suffering Servant completing God’s work for humanity. All history moves to its completion in Him.

Can’t Ever Read The Scripture the Same Way

They could never read the Scripture (the Old Testament) without the person of Jesus before, behind, and present in the text.

Peter, a follower of Jesus would write to the 2nd generation audience to Jesus’ words and identity of how they should read the text:

8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.  1 Peter 1:8-12

Love for Jesus might not come first when one hears His word and hears His claim for identity as God. Its possible that we might shocked, argumentative and resistant. But when we believe, we read the text with Jesus as a word that finds its fulfillment in Him.

Why bother reading the Old Testament?

Scripture:  1 Peter 1:9-12

9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

 

 

Observations:  The Gospel of Jesus is connected to the Old Testament.  Peter, writes of the “prophets” and their desire to see into God’s salvation plans — to reveal Jesus Christ and bring us into the Kingdom of God.

The prophets of the Old Testament were not serving themselves, they were serving the church– the people– that Jesus would call to Himself through the Gospel when they wrote about the salvation that was to come through Christ.

The prophets prophesied about the grace that is ours through Jesus Christ.

Applications:  How to read the Old Testament?  Peter had the OT as his Scripture.  We get the benefit of the whole cannon — New Testament and Old Testament.  But how to read the Old Testament?  Why “should” we read the OT?

 

Peter gives us a clue:  the Old Testament is preparing people to recognize Jesus Christ and receive His grace.  Understanding who Jesus is and why Jesus suffered on the cross comes through the OT.  When the Apostles began to write about the life of Jesus they linked the history of Jesus to what they learned from the OT.  Not only that, Jesus Himself used the OT as the reference for teaching the Disciples why the Messiah must suffer.  (Luke 24:25-27)

The OT shows us what God is up to in the sufferings of Christ and then the glories Jesus had after the Crucifixion and Resurrection.  The OT provides us with confirmation about the identify of Jesus.  It also shows us why God has acted through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus to bring salvation to us.

Prayer:  Thank you Heavenly Father for letting me experience today what the prophets longed to see and even angels long to know about.  Thank you for the salvation you have brought to us.  Through Jesus’ suffering and His glory you have forgiven my sin.  You have overwhelmed me with grace.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit who brings me into your family and makes the reality of salvation an experience I have today.  May I not neglect your Word… show me the glory of Jesus as I read it.  AMEN.