Lenten Journey: Day 44 (Thursday, April 13)


Scripture:  Luke 4:16-21

When Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Step by step through this Lenten Journey we have entered into the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Being in his presence is an awe amazing experience, but it should be more than an experience, we must take it in—into our hearts.  During these past few weeks we have all experienced Him through the reading of the scripture and prayer—but have we allowed Him to enter our hearts.  This is the challenge because Jesus taught so often to love others, but until we are able to receive love, the love that Jesus is pouring out in his own life and death on the cross we will never be truly changed. 

Jesus lists his priorities and all who are restricted or confined are invited to freedom.  We should realize today that among the poor, needy, and sinful people we too are include in the invitation to freedom, this invitation of love.  Jesus lives among people whose vision was narrow and who found it difficult to accept his inspired words, and some were even ready to kill him.  Yet he remained part of them, and even going to pray with them as was his custom.  Jesus is also with us and inviting us in our own daily activities to accept his invitation of freedom and love.

The throwaway details in this passage tell us a lot about the ordinary life of Jesus.  It was his custom to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath even though he took issue with the details of the Law proclaimed there because He chose to join with his community in the worship of God.  Though he wrote nothing (as far as we know), he read, and was chosen to read to the assembly.  He read standing up, and then sat down which is a posture for serious teaching.  The eyes of all in the assembly were fixed on him.  It is a moment of grace and promise as he brings the good news to his own people—and even you. 

Christ is here!  The Lord and Giver of life is here.  The hour comes—and now is!  “Today, if you hear his voice do not harden your heart.”  Today, reach out hands of faith, and pray.  “Jesus think on me!” – James Stewart (The Strong Name)

Jesus’ good news is that we are all loved unconditionally by God, no ifs, no buts.  When we accept that and receive that, and truly believe and live by it we too will gain freedom of heart and mind along with a new insights into the way God works in our lives.  Enjoy the journey.