"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, 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 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
I seriously can't help but sit here and grin as I read this passage. I'll refrain from using the word I want to use to describe Jesus' demeanor in this passage, sparing you all of its inappropriate nature, but let's just say Jesus is straight fearless and indomitable. Just imagine him walking into the synagogue. Nobody really knows who he is. Back then it was often the custom to afford any visitors in a synagogue the opportunity to speak or read to the congregation. So Jesus, being the unknown, casually struts to the front. He is given a passage from Isaiah 61 wherein the prophet Isaiah is addressing the deepest questions and needs of our human history.
Isaiah prophesied years ago to God's people that one day, a King would come and fulfill this passage. Ever since, people have been left asking, "Is it really possible for someone to come and make things right? Is there such a person who can establish justice, peace, and righteousness once and for all? Is it possible for the weary soul to be set free from the burden of captivity? When will this constant brokenness end?"
Jesus, in know uncertain terms, answers these questions with a resounding yes! He essentially answers, "I am Him. I am that King, and I am here right now! I am the One who comes to restore life and reclaim what has been broken. I have that kind of authority and power. Now, turn from being the king of your own little kingdom, and turn to me and my Kingdom, where I rule and reign with love and righteousness."
This is such an incredible announcement. I wonder what it would have been like sitting there and seeing Jesus roll up and hearing him speak these words. Either his words have no meaning and he is completely delusional and belongs in a mental hospitable. Or, he is who he says he is and his words have infinite weight that demand a response. Our response is either to fall at his feet in repentant joy that the King is here, or we continue on our way, choosing to live in self-autonomy.