April 12, 2002 • By Ed Wrather
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. - Luke 4:16.
And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ - Luke 4:17-19.
Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. - Luke 4:21.
So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath. - Luke 4:28.
Last year a deputy sheriff in Sarasota, Florida had a little bit of a shock. He was going about his day just as he always did, driving his sheriff’s vehicle to the same spot he usually used, to catch speeders beside South Oxford Drive in Englewood. To the great surprise, and shock, of Deputy Tim Czachur his vehicle rolled into a newly created hole of about five feet by five feet. The speeders in Englewood, received a brief reprieve that day. Deputy Czachur said, "Someone must have been ticketed and got upset."
It must have a shock similar to that of Deputy Czachur, that the residents of Nazareth received the day Jesus returned to his hometown. After hearing Jesus speak, the people of Nazareth were at first in shock, and later shock turned to rage as they sought to kill the hometown boy who made Himself equal with God. The Messiah had come to Nazareth, but He most definitely was not what they had been expecting.
Often as we walk through life with our Lord, we find that we encounter the unexpected as well. We find that we become the hands, feet and spokespersons for the Lord. We encounter the lost, and we "preach the gospel" to the poor in spirit. The brokenhearted are brought into our lives, and God uses us to bring healing. We find captives to the world, and the flesh and we "proclaim liberty." We find those who are blind spiritually, and help them with "recovery of sight." We help those oppressed by the devil to be "set at liberty," and we proclaim to all that now is the "acceptable year of the Lord."
As we become "Ambassadors for Christ" to our own families, neighbors, and hometowns, it may be that they will be just as shocked as the people of Nazareth on that day so long ago when Jesus returned to his hometown. What unexpected thing would God have you to do today?