Sunday, January 24, 2010

Epiphany 3

Resuming our whirlwind tour of area churches. Today's readings were Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a; and Luke 4:16-30 (sermon text).

Among the misconceptions about Christianity is that we are prideful do-gooders who go to church to earn points with God. The truth: we know our sinfulness, so we go to beg forgiveness and receive Christ's gifts. In the text, the Greek shows that Jesus worshiped weekly, habitually. He fulfilled the Third Commandment thus. Old Testament worship included readings from the Torah, Psalms, and Prophets. Today He read from Isaiah a prophecy about Himself: good news in a world full of bad. Liberty! Forgiveness! The year of the LORD's favor! This got the undivided attention of the crowd. Then the clincher: a Messianic claim!

The crowd was amazed also because He had omitted the second half of the verse. Gentiles were not to be judged, at least not now. No revenge for the Jews. Jesus rubbed it in with Old Testament examples of God ministering selectively to Gentiles. Thus His liberty was for all. Mob fury ensued. Let us not despise the Gospel because we're so familiar with it, as they did. Thankfully, it was not His time. Later, He would not be thrown down a hill, but raised up on it. Then He rose, clinching THE Good News for us: the Truth, Christianity embodied.

Soli Deo gloria.

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