The Savior Who Challenges Our Assumptions

Will we realign our heart with His, or will we, too, march Him to the edge of a hill?

One minute everyone is nodding in pride at Mary and Joseph’s boy, the One who is going to put Nazareth on the map and the One who has come to do, think, and say everything they expected Him to. But at the moment of their highest pride of assumption, Jesus flips over the tables in their minds and hearts. As He goes on to speak, He references instances from the Old Testament where God worked not in Israel but outside of it; He talked about people of faith not of their bloodline but outside of it. This, it seems, is not exactly what the people had in mind for their Savior.

 

Jesus, Mary and Joseph’s boy, had been out making a name for Himself, but now He was coming back home.

Nazareth was abuzz. The excitement was palpable. The people were whispering to each other and the synagogue was packed to the brim. Standing room only. Everyone had piled in to hear from Jesus. The service began with the traditional reading from the Torah, the law, what we know as the first five books of the Old Testament today. This was a prescribed reading; the reader did not choose the text they wanted but instead read from the assigned portion. The reading happened and people listened politely and nodded their assent respectfully to the law of their God. And that’s when a hush fell over the crowd because then it was time for the reading from the law and the prophets.

This reading was different; it was not prescribed, but instead was chosen by the reader. He would find his text in the scroll and then read, following it with some of their own comments and teaching. This was what they all came for because Jesus was the rabbi in town. And he started walking toward the scroll.

Now let’s just pause for a second here and grasp the immensity of what’s happening. Jesus, the living Word, is going to read a portion of the written word, and He is choosing that passage. So what will He choose? And then what will He say?

Of any passage He might have chosen, Jesus opens the scroll and reads from the prophet Isaiah. It’s a messianic prophecy, one the people would have been familiar with. It was one of the promises they had clung to about God’s coming chosen one, through all the years of oppression, through the destruction of the temple, through the occupation by the Romans. 

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