Saturday

02 January 2016

“They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’” (v. 27)

Psalm: Psalm 1


Background

Jesus was driven, he looked for trouble, or it found him. He and his followers arrived at Capernaum on the Sabbath. He went to the synagogue and burst onto the preaching scene. He went straight in, in front of everyone and started preaching; there was no sign of the rabbi. 'I'll be your guest rabbi,' he said. The congregation were expecting the usual thing - 'Rabbi Akiva said, the midrash on this portion is …' but he surprised them with his passion and authenticity, he wasn't really any kind of rabbi.

This was his text (this is from the parallel reading in Luke 4:18-19, quoting Isaiah 61):

God's anointed me
to bring good news to the ghetto
freedom to felons
sight to the sightless
liberty to the locked up
to tell everyone: God is on your side. 

This was the entire length of his sermon: 'It's happening now!'

No one said a word, so Jesus himself stopped speaking and watched them. Then someone shouted out, 'What areyoudoing here, "Jesus of Nazareth"? Come to shake everything up? I know you. You're God's Special One.' He had a 'devil' of a mental health problem …

'Enough!' Jesus commanded, 'You're healed!' The man shook, shrieked and was silent. The crowd went wild, they couldn't believe it. This wasn't what they came to synagogue for, if only it was like this every Sabbath. But they didn't understand - how did he do it, where did he get his power from? There was no doubt though, he had arrived on the scene, he had the power and he was in control.


To Ponder

  • How would you have felt to hear Jesus read from Scripture, then preach a three word sermon?
  • Should preaching be getting reactions like this? To what extent have we tamed Scripture and the story of Jesus (or not)?


Bible notes author:  Julian Bond

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