Luke 4:13-21 (NRSV)
Verse 13When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.
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."
As Jesus preaches in Nazareth, he quotes from the prophet Isaiah. You could say his words are one of the shortest sermons ever preached, but one of the most powerful. Coming at the beginning of his ministry they could be considered a kind of mission statement of Jesus. I am here to preach, to proclaim, and to set people free.
The gospel intends to include us too in the story of Jesus. We are set free so that Jesus’ mission becomes our mission. As Jesus closes the book of Isaiah and sits down, the One we read about is now here among us and living. Now we see Jesus and are called to follow him. Jesus brings the words of Isaiah to life. Look, listen, and follow me, Jesus is saying. Today do not just read the word of God but follow Jesus, the One who is the word made flesh. How will we follow that call in our life?
Jesus you are the living word, come to set us free from what holds us captive. Jesus you alone can make whole. Fill us with your love and help us to have you at the center of our lives. Send us out with your Spirit to bring words of hope, healing, and life to others. Amen.