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Jesus preaches

Luke: The Story of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Luke’s gospel
Luke 1:3 TNIV
With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
A thorough, ordered and accurate account of the life and ministry of Jesus.
We’re introduced to to babies. John the Baptist and Jesus and told of the rather unusual stories that surrounded their conception and births in chapters 1-2. At the end of chapter 2 we see something of Jesus as a boy in the temple. A special child indeed.
Then we see that in adulthood, John the Baptist has a ministry of preparing people for the ministry of Jesus by preaching repentance and baptising people, in Ch 3. Jesus comes and is baptised and then in the first part of Chapter 4 he is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by Satan. Jesus never gives in and his temptation proves that he will be faithful to his heavenly Father’s will at all times.

Jesus’ ministry begins

In our reading today we see the beginning of Jesus’ ministry proper.
Jesus’ ministry is primarily based in Galilee (v14)
His ministry is spirit led (v14)
His teaching brings great interest, news spreads, and people praise him. (v14-15).

Jesus preaches at Nazareth

The fulfilment of long held anticipation.

If you’re a parent here today you might know something of the building excitement and anticipation that getting pregnant creates. You find out your pregnant. You wait and hope that the pregnancy survives. You get closer and closer to the day of birth until finally one day you’re sitting the hospital holding your brand new baby and enjoying this thing that has been greatly anticipated.
The people of God were anticipating the coming of the Messiah. They’d been expecting it for a long time.
And as Jesus picks up the scroll and reads from and he proclaims that the wait is over.
Luke 4:
Luke 4:21 TNIV
He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
But just what have they been waiting for?
We need to dive a little deeper into those passages from Isaiah that Jesus read:
Luke 4:18–19 TNIV
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Someone who is divinely anointed by God. We saw that in Jesus’ baptism. Jesus is the anointed Son and a prophetic figure.
Someone with a message that is good news for the poor. For those that realise they are in need of God’s rescue. To those that are humble. Often this is the actual poor, but can also refer to those who are spiritually poor.
Someone with a message that brings freedom from oppression. A spiritual sense again, that the anointed one will bring down those things which cause humanity to be oppressed. Sin, pain, death. Jesus’ ministry brings freedom.
Someone who proclaims the year of the Lord’s favour. This was the year when debts were canceled and slaves were freed. This points to the fact that Jesus brings hope and freedom for those who trust him.

The people are amazed by his preaching.

Luke 4:22 TNIV
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
They can’t believe a carpenters son could be so good and speaking publicly.
In fact they aren’t really sure that Joseph’s son could be the one they’ve been waiting for. Not only that but as his reputation has been spreading prior to this sermon, they want him to do more to prove himself to them.
And Jesus knows this and he responds to their doubts in verse 23-27
Luke 4:23–27 TNIV
Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ” “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “prophets are not accepted in their hometowns. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”
Luke 4:23-27

The people want Jesus to prove himself to them.

Show us what you did at Capernaum they say.
And perhaps part of you thinks well why didn’t he? Why didn’t he just find the closet blind man and heal him and then people would believe right?
Well wrong actually. Because the Bible is full of stories of God working powerfully in miraculous ways, only for people to reject God. Take the story of God’s people fleeing Egypt. You’d think that after you watched God roll back the Red Sea so you could walk through it, and then you’d woken up every morning to find food on the ground to eat, that you’d be pretty set on following God. And yet, Moses goes up a mountain for a few days and the people build a golden calf and start to worship it. See miracles on their own are no help at all.
In fact later in Luke’s gospel Jesus says this about miracles:
Luke 16:31 TNIV
“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”
People must be willing to hear the Word of God and receive it before they will see anything as God’s work. I’ve seen it in my own life too. A girl who used to go to youth group with me had chronic knee pain. She got prayed for and healed and came to youth group for a year and then got a better offer doing other things with her life. The miracle wasn’t enough.
And in Jesus’ case the people are not willing to believe God’s word. And so a miracle would simply be like a party trick.
And so Jesus cannot prove himself to these people if they fail to heed God’s word. In fact they are just like their ancestors:
Elijah and Elisha were both prophets rejected by God’s people (; ).
There were many Israelite widows in Elijahs time but he ended up being helped by a gentile widow from Zarephath. Likewise with Elisha. There were many lepers in Israel, but it was a Syrian Naaman who was healed. This was because the Israelites had rejected God and his sent one. Just as the people are in danger of doing with Jesus.
These two stores from the OT that Jesus tell are a warning to the people. The price of rejecting God’s message is severe… mercy moves on to other locations. You will miss out.
How do they respond?

The people reject Jesus

Luke 4:28
Luke 4:28–29 TNIV
All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.
They try and throw Jesus off a cliff. They reject him.

How will you respond to God’s word?

Will you hear it, trust it, and obey it? Jesus brings to you freedom from sin and death. Release from oppression. Life everlasting.
Or will you ignore it and hope for something better. Maybe you’ll get angry at the idea that you need to be freed? God’s mercy will move on to others who heed his word, if you fail to.
So I pray all of us will respond with trust and faith to Jesus Christ.
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