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."
I remember my first sermon while in seminary, preached in my hometown, in the congregation that raised me and watched me grow up. Truth is, they knew me. It was actually a traumatic experience! I was so nervous, I ended it before it was over because I had dry mouth. Jesus' first sermon in Luke's gospel is kind of an inaugural address, in which he lays out his whole mission. By the end of his sermon, which we will read in next week's gospel, he'll face some resistance. In fact, by the time he's done preaching, they'll try to throw him off a cliff!
We too can face resistance when we speak truth—when we stand up against the wrong use of power, when we give testimony to what we actually believe. Today we hear Christ's manifesto concerning the truth of the gospel; his words embody the in-breaking reign of God's justice in our world.
God, may those who hold power understand that it is a gift from you to be used, not for personal glory or profit, but for the service of your people. Drive from us cynicism, selfishness, and corruption. Give us grace to live together in unity and peace. Amen. (adapted from ELW prayers)