by Joe Alain

Today Is the Day
Joe Alain
Luke 4:14-30

Luke begins his portrayal of Jesus with the account of Jesus' first sermon which is important because it sets out Jesus' mission and ministry in his own words. If you want to know what Jesus is about, if you want to know what his church is all about, here it is, this is Jesus, this is church. Read Luke 4:14-21.

Jesus has come to his hometown of Nazareth where he grew up. Already Jesus is popular among the people. He's already performed his first miracle in Cana of Galilee (Jn. 2), he has talked with Nicodemus about the Kingdom of God and entering it through the new birth (Jn. 3), he's been to Samaria where he spoke of the living water that satisfies the thirsty soul (Jn. 4), and he has healed the son of a prominent Roman officer in Capernaum (Jn. 4:46-54). It's not surprising that ''news about him spread through the whole countryside'' (v.14). In Nazareth he visits the synagogue, Luke tells us, ''as was his custom.''

This is the oldest account we have of a synagogue service. During this service there would have been the singing of a psalm, the reading of the Shema (Deut. 6:4-9; 11:13-21), the repetition of the Eighteen Blessings; a reading of the Law, a reading from the Prophets (which is what we're witnessing in this passage), a sermon on the Scripture, and a concluding blessing by the ruler of the synagogue.

It's implied that Jesus was invited to read and comment on the Scriptures. It was not uncommon for recognized teachers or visiting Rabbis to participate in the worship service. In days gone by in the small country churches, visiting preachers might be called on to preach on the spot. This was common in the church that I was first apart of. You had to be ready ''in season'' and ''out of season.''

In the synagogue, the whole of Scripture would be read over a period of a few years. There was probably a section to read that day but Jesus could highlight certain aspects of the passage ju ...

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