Thank you for clicking on my blog. 2 reasons you should keep reading: 1) I am personally committed to writing more consistently and your gracious feedback on this article in the form of a comment would be appreciated, and 2) Perhaps you would like to wrestle with the Gospel of Luke, too.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me…”
“…the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.” Ironic, right? They were also crowding around and listening to the Word of God. The Word of God who put on flesh and moved into the neighborhood. The Word of God unafraid to seek out and spend time with the unclean, wandering, broken, diseased, and misfits.
Look back to the end of chapter 4. After healing Peter’s Mother-In-Law, Jesus spent time healing “all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one…” Whoa. The alarms, bells, and whistles remain mute for us; however, for those reading Luke’s account for the first time…I wonder if they shuddered in silence or leaped through the roof in jubilation.
The One who, after being handed the scroll of Isaiah, stood up in church and pronounced, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,” was not kidding. Immediately, he stepped into mission proving, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” However, even in the midst of such boldness, two problems remained.
Problem #1: Apparently, Jesus did not arrive on the rabbinical scene through the proper channels or with accepted credentials.
First, who is this guy? I mean, we know him. We know him as Joseph and Mary’s kid, the stonemason apprentice. The One with the amazing story born among the stench, hay, and livestock. But really, who is this guy? At first, the people were impressed with his composure, assurance, and confidence. “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.” However, as his sermon progressed, the crowd became less and less enamored. What began as the resounding ministerial inauguration of an unexpected rabbi abruptly ended as the unexpected rabbi slipped away from the crowd…the crowd that attempted to throw him off a cliff.
Problem #2: Apparently, Jesus did not arrive on the rabbinical scene to avoid undesirables, because he seems to purposefully welcome them.
Second, does he not know these people are unclean? Does he not understand that welcoming and laying hands on “all who had various kinds of sickness” can get a rabbi (or anyone else for that matter) in some serious trouble? In the words of some friends from my past, “We’ve never done things that way before.” What makes it worse is that he seems to seek these people on purpose. Demons are shouting his name. The diseased are stalking him. He’s not only putting up with it all. He’s running right on into all of it.
Amazingly, “…he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.” We’ve come full circle, and now, as Jesus stands on the Galilean shoreline, “…the people were crowding him and listening to the word of God.” While speaking, Jesus glances over to discover two boats left there by fishermen “who were washing their nets.” He has attracted quite an unconventional and unclean following. I wonder what he is going to do next.
“Part 2” will post soon. Until then, join the “Missing in Missional” dialogue by clicking here.