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December 19, 2021 12:01 am
Why did the people of Jesus' hometown seek to kill Him after He read in the synagogue from the book of Isaiah? Continuing his series in the gospel of Luke, today R.C. Sproul examines what Isaiah' prophecy reveals about Jesus' mission in the world.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. And so Jesus roots the prophecy of Isaiah is anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives. This was really the greatest Emancipation Proclamation in the history of the world making the leap to God's people living room from the yoke of slavery to sin on this, the sun, the addition of Renewing Your Mind. We have been making her way through the gospel of Luke and the sermon series by Dr. RC Sproul today. RC focuses on chapter 4 where we discover that Jesus is in the synagogue and reading from the book of Isaiah concludes the reading with a rather startling declaration immediately after Jesus temptation in the wilderness. Luke tells us that he returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee and news of him spread through all the surrounding region and he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all know this brief statement is transitional statement that goes between the conclusion of the temptation in the beginning of the recitation of the event that took place in the synagogue at Nazareth.
We don't know how much time actually took place between the temptation and his appearance at Nazareth. We don't know where his travels took him but looking at the rest of the Gospels, it makes it clear that there was a considerable period of time of Jesus ministry that took place between his temptation and his appearance at Nazareth, perhaps as much as a fool year but obviously in Luke's arrangement of the material that he is presenting of the life of Jesus. He wants to focus our attention on this event that Took Pl. in Nazareth because in this incident we see clearly the agenda the mission of Jesus we see it in the light of the Old Testament teaching of the coming Messiah, and obviously the mission of Jesus was the mission of the Messiah. And conversely, the mission of the Messiah was indeed the mission of Jesus because Jesus was the promised Messiah of Israel and so we really that he came to Nazareth, where it been brought up, and as his custom was one of the synagogue on the Sabbath day and he stood up to read.
He appears here as a guest as a visiting Rabbi as it were, and it was the custom in the synagogue to allow visiting Rabbi to give the meditation worthy exposition of the word of God by way of the sermon, and so first, Jesus stands up in order that he may read the text of the day every week at the synagogue. The customer was to read a portion of the Torah portion from the law and then another reading from the prophets in this day the prophet that was to be read was the prophet Isaiah, and so Jesus stood up and was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah, and when he opened the box he found the place where it was written. Now the place from which Jesus reads is from Isaiah chapter 61, which in all of the over 2000 prophecies in the Old Testament that point to the coming Redeemer at the Messiah. Perhaps there is none more important than this prophecy from Isaiah. It is included in Isaiah's book in which he describes the mission of the servant of God that culminates, or at least it been explained earlier in chapter 53 of the mission of the servant of the Lord to be the sin bearer of the people to be the Savior of the people, but this servant is not only to be the Savior of the people by bearing their sins supposed to be there Lord and their conqueror will bring two things ultimately salvation and judgment, the redemption of God and his wrath. And so in that critical passage in Isaiah, Jesus reads it to those who are assembled in the synagogue begins with these words, the spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. I like to spend a few moments and that introductory statement from the prophet Isaiah and begin by saying that obviously one of the greatest mysteries that we encounter at the very heart of the Christian faith is the mystery of the Trinity and contained within the mystery of the Trinity is the profound mystery of the incarnation where we find that in the incarnation of God, the incarnation of the low gloss of which John speaks the second person of the Trinity who takes upon himself a human nature so that the person Jesus has two natures, a divine nature and the human nature and the incarnation we have the second person of the Trinity perfectly united with the human nature of Jesus.
And when we look at the earthly ministry of Jesus, we have to ask this question by what power was he able to perform the marvelous miracles that the New Testament records what are the miracles that Jesus performed a manifestation of his divine nature. That is where these works empowered by the second person of the Trinity working through the human Jesus or was it that human nature of Jesus endowed by the power of the Holy Ghost that rested upon in able to perform these miracles. Now you may think that that's a an insignificant question.
Maybe it's a question you never even thought about. I have to confess it's one I never stop thinking about I've seen so much confusion about the mystery of the incarnation where classical liberalism so denies the deity of Jesus that they allow the human nature of Christ to swallow up his deity and on the other side of the aisle evangelicals that are so zealous to proclaim the deity of Jesus Christ will often so strongly affirm his deity that they end up allowing the deity to swallow up the humanity. So there's nothing human left of Jesus we see it in the hymnody but sings about God's dying on the cross. I say what will will will will wait God can't, God is eternal, self existent, immutable, and I told you before that if God died, so would Jerusalem so would Jesus so would the soldiers so with the whole universe vanish, because it is only through the power of the living God than anything else exists in the universe or continues to exist. God can't die. So whatever else happened in the drama of the cross. It wasn't the divine nature that died, but was the God man.and the divine nature were certainly united to the human nature when that human nature expired on the cross. We know that but again, what about Americans we find other men in the Bible who perform miracles beside Jesus, you see it and Moses you see it in Elijah. You see it. And Elisha, you see it in the apostles of the New Testament. Moses didn't have a divine nature.
Elijah didn't have a divine nature like you never divine nature. Deposit them at the bargaining. So, by what power that these men perform. The Americans what the Bible makes it clear by what power they did it. They did it by the power of the Holy Ghost. The power of the third person of the Trinity, who, though he is distinguished from the father and the son cannot be separated as they are all one in being and in essence I think it's important that the ministry of Jesus on this earth takes place after he's anointed by the Holy Ghost. So I think it's safe to assume that even God incarnate, was performing these mighty works through the power of the third person of the Trinity, the holy ghost.
Remember that the name Christ is simply the Greek translation of the Old Testament word for Messiah and means literally the anointed one, and he's anointed by the power of the sovereign God. So when Jesus comes into the synagogue and reads this text that promised a future Messiah who would come and minister in the power of the sovereign God being anointed by God himself and again to be anointed meant to different things.
On the one hand, one could be anointed by the Holy Spirit, in the sense being set apart or consecrated for a sacred vocation. Kings were anointed they were set apart profits were all anointed, set apart just as we ordain ministers and elders today in the church. It's an act of consecration, but when Isaiah speaks about the anointing of the Messiah is not simply speaking about the Messiah's being set apart and consecrated, but rather that he's being charismatic leaf endowed with power of the first manifestation of that's power is here in the text, the spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me. First of all to do what to preach the gospel to the poor thing that this tells us is that the Messiah would be in Jesus was anointed by the Holy Ghost to preach the most anointed preacher that ever walked the face of the earth, the one who had the greatest function whose preaching was so powerful. Thousands of people could be converted to a single sermon with Jesus of Nasser who had the full unction promised to the Messiah and he was anointed to preach the gospel to the poor. Not just of the physically poor as we see in his teaching on the Beatitudes with those who were poor in spirit those who are numbered among the broken hearted.
Those who are poverty stricken spiritually, you can be persons of great wealth than still be spiritually impoverished people who desperately need to hear the preaching of the gospel in any time the Lord Jesus preached that gospel when the Holy Spirit quicken those words.
Everyone who heard him knew immediately of their poverty-stricken spiritual condition until they were awakened by the power of the preaching of Jesus and the accompanying ministry of the Holy Ghost. It was anointed to be sent to heal the brokenhearted and so Jesus reads the prophecy of Isaiah is anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives. This and the appearance of Jesus was really the greatest manumission the greatest Emancipation Proclamation in the history of the world because he came not only to proclaim liberty to those who were in slave and chain with those who were held captive by Satan himself, those who were in bondage to sin. Slave to the power of evil Jesus came to set them free. He came to proclaim liberty to all of us who by nature are enslaved to the impulses of sin. He came to give the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, the year of Jubilee. The time when all debts are canceled and that cyclical experience in the history of Israel was only foreshadowed the aldermen work of the Messiah who would cancel the debts of all of his people permanently. The Messiah says I am anointed to do all of these things until after Jesus read this brief summary. That Isaiah gives of the mission and the agenda of the Lord's Messiah Jesus handed the scroll back to the attendant and he sat down now.
Sometimes you visualize that you think of the synagogue were you're having the time for the reading of the scroll and this man comes out of the congregation. He comes up in the attendant answered in the scroll he stands there and reads the scroll and when he's finished to give the scroll back. The attendant goes back to his seat now known when he sat down. That was the signal for the beginning of the sermon because in the synagogues. The preacher sat on a chair or bench and the rest of the people sat on the floor at his feet so we get that idea of sitting at the feet of a great teacher of a great preacher, but in any case, Jesus sat down and that was the signal.
Now for him to give his exposition.
His explanation of the meaning of this text that he is just read in the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on him what is he gonna say. We know this man. We watched him grow up here in Nazareth and he's been gone for a while always been living in Capernaum and we have heard all the rumors all the stories of this incredible ministry that he's performed doing miracles and healings, and speaking to multitudes all throughout the land, and especially your in Galilee, but he hasn't come home now, here he comes to preach in his hometown synagogue for the first time that every person in that crowd was on the edge of his or her chair, their eyes fixed on him. Their ears listening intently. What's he going to say this of course is the shortest sermon recorded by anyone in all of sacred Scripture. Jesus sat down and looked out at this congregation who were peering at him relentlessly and he began to say to them today this scripture is fulfilled in your very hearing and in the sermon you just heard the mission of the Messiah set forth by the prophet Isaiah people of this nation have been reading that prophetic agenda for hundreds and hundreds of years the people of Israel had been waiting generation after generation, for the Lord's anointed the Lord's deliverer, the Lord's conqueror to come in today.
He's here right now.
They got the message. What Jesus is saying is you're looking at him you are listening to in so after all these this centuries when the anointed one, of God appeared on the scene people from his hometown didn't get was their response just before we look at this response in regard doing just a minute short.
I can't cover. This affects the there is no more important act of evaluation and judgment that you will ever make in your life than answering the question, who is Jesus sit there for a moment in your imagination on the floor in the synagogue just heard the text you just heard the word of God and now you hear the son of God say I am he which response you leap for joy and say thank you God. We've waited so patiently as you want to run up and hug his neck and say all were so glad Jesus to know that you are the Messiah that was not the response in Nazareth. People heard these words looked at him shocked and they said is this not Joseph son yes it was Joseph's adopted son that it was Yahweh son. It was the servants of the sovereign God, the anointed son in whom the father was well pleased, but they couldn't take it. They were choking on the words of Jesus, God willing. Next time we look at this text, we will explore further. How Jesus responded to their unbelief and how they further responded to his response to their on belief that he did not get the orator of the year award in Nazareth. Rather, they wanted to kill and will let you. Would you be happy without him or you see that he was sent to heal you to set you free. The Messiah was in their presence. They couldn't stand his message when the tragic response, but Dr. Sproles question there is pressing and worth repeating. What about you, Jesus the Messiah has come, what will you do with this call the repentance and belief. Glad you joined us on this Lord's day addition of Renewing Your Mind each week were making our way through the entire Gospel of Luke. Dr. Sproles was a theologian of the first order, but I think you also heard the heart of the pastor there that the care and concern he displayed for his congregation at St. Andrews Chapel. You'll find this same pastoral wisdom in RC's commentary on Luke's gospel.
I hope you will contact us today and request is nearly 600 page commentary in digital form on this gospel will send it to you for your donation of any amount to leader ministries are offices of course are closed on this Lord's day, but you can give your gift online when you go to Renewing Your Mind.org. I want you to know that the financial gifts of listeners just like you are having an impact where hearing from people all over the world who have access now to new teaching series. The Reformation study Bible translation projects online training in discipleship. All of it is a result of your generosity. So we are grateful to you probably heard the saying that a prophet has no honor in his hometown that comes from Luke chapter 4 next Sunday will discover how that applies even to Jesus.
I hope you make plans to be with us next Sunday for Renewing Your Mind