Kingdoms in Conflict

"The Lord has put his Spirit in me,
because he appointed me to tell the Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to tell the captives they are free
and to tell the blind they they can see again.
God sent me to free those who have been treated unfairly
and to announce the time when the Lord will show his kindness.
Jesus closed the book, gave it back to the assistant, and sat down.
Everyone in the synagogue was watching Jesus closely.
He began to say to them,
"While you hear these words just now, they were coming true!"
John 4:18-19
"Kingdoms in Conflict"
Charles Colson
READ LUKE 4: 1-44

SITUATION The Jewish people had been expecting the Messiah for a long time. They believed that he would free Israel from foreign rule and restore the nation to its prominence and greatness. As Jesus served, performed miracles , and spoke words with wisdom, the people were amazed and confused. Jesus was not the type of Messiah they had been expecting.

OBSERVATION Because the Jews assumed they knew what the Messiah would look like, they had a difficult time recognizing Jesus as God 's Messiah.

INSPIRATION Early one Saturday morning Jesus returned to Nazareth to speak in the synagogue. His friends and relatives and neighbors gathered in great excitement. They had watched him grow to manhood; they knew His parents, Mary and Joseph. So they were astonished at His air of authority as He strode to the center of the crowded stone room and was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah from the Torah shrine. He found the passage He wanted, then read the ancient prophecy: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

Jesus handed the Scriptures back to the attendant and stared quietly at the rows of townspeople: "Today," he said slowly, "this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

At first they were gasps, then excitement murmurings. Was Jesus claiming that their hopes were to be realized? Had the long-dreamed-of day of the Lord --the coming of the Messiah--arrived?

Jesus knew what they were thinking, "No prophet," He said steadily, "is accepted in his hometown." Then He reminded them of two stories they knew well from their heritage: During a great drought, the prophet Elijah had not brought water to the dying widows of Israel, but to a heathen widow; and his successor Elisha had ignored Jewish lepers and cleansed a Syrian instead.

His words were like a dash of cold water in the faces of the crowd. They expected liberation from the Jews and judgment for all others. Now this arrogant young man was extending the long-awaited promise of their liberation with one hand and insinuating their own judgment with the other.

The crowd surged forward and dragged Jesus out of the building, shoving Him to the brow of the hill on which the synagogue perched But when they reached the edge, they discovered that in the confusion, Jesus had slipped away.

This humble message at the remote Nazareth synagogue was the inaugural address for Jesus' entire ministry. Through it He formally announced His messiahship and the rule of God in this world. As a result, human history was forever altered.

The Kingdom of God had come. (From Kingdoms in Conflict by Charles Colson)

APPLICATION Who is Jesus? Don't try to squeeze him into your own mold of a Savior. The bible gives a clear picture. Study the Word of God and discover the real Jesus. God in the flesh who wants to change lives.

EXPLORATION The Messiah -- Matthew 3:17; John 1:1-18; 10:30; Colossians 1:15-20.

The Devotional Bible - Max Lucado General Editor, Thomas Nelson Publishers, New Century Version


Still Learning said...

That was an excellent lesson. I think perhaps we sometimes try to squeeze Jesus into a mold of what we think He should do in our lives and in the world and don't like to accept what we hear back. I enjoyed reading this very much! Thank you.


sarah said...

great lesson...I yearn to go and tell what He's done for me..I never wanted anyone to know before but now...I hope He opens doors for me to do that. I owe Him...If it had not been for the touch of His gentleness...

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