Luke 4:14-21 (NRSV)
Verse 14Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. Verse 15He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone. Verse 16When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, Verse 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: Verse 18"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, Verse 19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Verse 20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Verse 21Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
We are moving through the Epiphany season, Christmas now a month behind us. Two weeks ago we recalled Christ's baptism in the Jordan and the beginning of his public ministry. In the liturgical calendar we've entered what the church year sometimes calls "ordinary time." Last week we reflected on Christ's first sign at the wedding in Cana. Today and next week we hear Luke's account of Jesus' first sermon in his hometown.
At the beginning of a new year we get all these firsts. In some sense, in all our readings this week, we are going back to the basics—first things first. So Jesus begins: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor ... release to captives ... recovery of sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." More about Christ's first sermon tomorrow.
Christ Jesus, remind us that in our baptism we were anointed to go out with good news for a hurting world. Help us proclaim the good news of release, recovery, and freedom wherever we go in the beginning of this new year, announcing the year of the Lord's favor. Amen.