In this episode we get a glimpse of what Jesus’ ministry will look like…fulfilling OT prophecies, being filled with/empowered by the Spirit, preaching good news to the marginalized whether Jew or Gentile…some will accept and some will reject.
Jesus is good news!
Jesus’ words are good news to the poor, the captive, the blind and the oppressed…to the outcasts and those on the fringe of society. They are good news for those who recognize their helplessness and hopelessness, their overwhelming need of rescue. For them, for us, they are the good news of salvation. But there is no good news without Jesus. God’s rescue plan depends on Him. His teaching exposes the reaction of human hearts to that plan…wonder along with rejection.
Is Jesus good news to you? Do you recognize your desperate need to be rescued? For some of us, we don’t need to be convinced that we need to be rescued…the poor man doesn’t need to be convinced that he’s in desperate straits, the captive doesn’t need to be convinced that he needs to be set free, the blind woman doesn’t need to be convinced she needs to receive sight, and the kid being bullied in the school yard doesn’t need to be convinced that he needs to be rescued from his oppressor…we just need to know that there is Someone who can rescue us. The good news is…the Hero has come, the Savior is here. Today can be the day of Salvation for you.
But some of us aren’t convinced of our need for a Savior…we see ourselves, like the folks at the synagogue that morning, as good people. We don’t need to be rescued…I pray that God would reveal that you, like all of us, are poor, captive, blind, oppressed…that sin and death are the destiny of everyone who doesn’t realize their need and humbly turn to Jesus, so that you too may be rescued.
Maybe you’re here today and have put your faith in Jesus, but have been going through the motions. You have lost sight that just like everyone else you are poor in spirit and need to humble yourself before Jesus. Ask God this week to begin humbling you, to begin bringing you back to him.
And maybe you’re like Jesus…your hometown crowd has rejected you. Often times we offend our family members or peer groups when we become a Christian or are bold about our faith, because they feel condemned…they feel like they are ‘good people who live good lives’. They can’t see you for who you are, a new creation in Christ, but only for who you were. Whether they are rejecting your words or you, it still stings. But know that Jesus had the same experience…His boldness caused some to accept and some to reject. The writer of Hebrews tells, “for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, despising its shame…” Knowing who we are and whose we are…knowing the bigger story should give us the courage to face rejection and persecution and the ability to love those who may not love in return.
I’ll close with a story: “A large prestigious British church had three mission churches under its care. On the first Sunday of each new year all the members of the mission churches would come to the parent church for a combined Communion service. In those mission churches, located in the slums of a major city, were some outstanding cases of conversions—thieves, burglars, and others. But all knelt as brothers and sisters side by side at the Communion rail.
On one such occasion the pastor saw a former burglar kneeling beside a judge of the Supreme Court of England—the very judge who had sent him to jail where he had served seven years. After his release this burglar had been converted and became a Christian worker.
After the service, the judge was walking out with the pastor and said to him, “Did you notice who was kneeling beside me at the Communion rail this morning?” The two walked along in silence for a few more moments, and then the judge said, “What a miracle of grace.” The pastor nodded in agreement. “A marvelous miracle of grace indeed.” The judge then inquired, “But to whom do you refer?” “The former convict,” the pastor answered. The judge said, “ I was not referring to him. I was thinking of myself.” The minister, surprised, replied, “You were thinking of yourself? I don’t understand.”
“You see,” the judge went on, “it is not surprising that the burglar received God’s grace when he left jail. He had nothing but a history of crime behind him, and when he understood Jesus could be his Savior, he knew there was salvation and hope and joy for him. And he knew how much he needed that help. But look at me—I was taught from earliest infancy to live as a gentleman, that my word was to be my bond, that I was to say my prayers, go to church, take Communion and so on. I went through Oxford, obtained my degrees, was called to the bar, and eventually became a judge. I was sure I was all I needed to be, though in fact I too was a sinner. Pastor, it was God’s grace that drew me. It was God’s grace that opened my heart to receive Christ. I’m the greater miracle.”
The folks that morning had a decision to make…and so do you. Who is Jesus? How will you respond to Him?
Until next time…stay salty.
“May we rejoice in both the message and the Messenger of good news, the King and His kingdom.”
This post is based on a sermon from our Luke series, Redefining the Family. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @ccclancaster