23 October 2008

of favor, fulfillment, and our falsification of his thesis

Remember your English and Composition classes? Remember when the teacher explained a thesis statement? Remember how they told you that everything that follows the first sentence is in some way directed back at that statement as support?

Consider how Jesus began his ministry. It is his introductory sentence or thesis, if you will...
When Jesus came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come."

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them.

The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day.
He read the Scripture that had been handed to him. I don't think it was a matter of coincidence that he would read the bit he did.

He came to fulfill that writing. He came to bring the Lord's favor. He came for the poor, captive, blind, and oppressed. Knowing all of that...is our perspective of Jesus changed at all? Do we still feel like the object of his ministry? Have we successfully continued his ministry if it was indeed to bring favor to those folks?

What is the reason we don't often talk of this Christ-thesis? Could it be that it is easier to follow the Christ we have created for ourselves, in our image, than it is to follow the one who stood in the synagogue that day?

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