And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-21)
When our Lord returned to his hometown of Nazareth He was invited to read in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Jesus reads from Isaiah 61. It’s an extremely powerful and significant moment in the gospel accounts because Christ proclaims to be the Messiah in front of all in attendance, and also let the entire crowd know how hard hearted they were. This made everyone furious. They could not accept that this very same Jesus who grew up in town was claiming to be the Savior of Israel prophesied for hundreds of years, and on top of that He was calling them out for being blind to the truth. “The son of Joseph?” they muttered most likely with smirks on their faces. Jesus knew that He would be rejected that day. He knew the people would “gloss” over all the passages in Isaiah that prophesied of “the suffering servant” expecting a king that would “vanquish” all those opposing Israel by defeating and killing off her enemies just as an earthly political king would. How do we know this? The very passage He chose to read from, Isaiah 61, He chose not to finish in front of the crowd that was gathered to listen to him read. He could have easily let everyone know about the coming judgement of the tribulation period to come, but He didn’t…why? Here is the passage as it is in Isaiah 61…
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Jesus stops here and the preceding is the portion He omits) … and the day of vengeance of our God. (Isaiah 61:1-2)
Why did Jesus choose not to finish the passage from Isaiah that day in Nazareth, because He knew one day that YOU would read the Bible. He knew that YOU would apply it to your life allowing His word to change your heart. He also knew that YOU and I would study His word closely. He knew that we would notice that He did not finish the passage to convey the point to us that His earthly ministry was about love, kindness, mercy, grace, and not about wrath and condemnation. Not yet anyway. So if scripture is clear that Christ’s ministry was not about condemnation, then Christian, let’s make sure that our ministry isn’t as well. We can’t be light to others or display an attitude of forgiveness by pointing a finger. What’s the ultimate weapon against sin, darkness, and the forces of evil? LOVE, which according to His word, is the number one fruit of the Holy Spirit. The greatest spiritual gift of them all.