Public Reading: Luke 4:16-30
• Jesus returns home from being baptized and spending 40 days in the desert fasting and prayer.
o Goes to ‘church’ as normal
o Stands up and reads a passage out of Isaiah 61
o It is a messianic passage written by Isaiah pointing towards the day when the rule of God would break into this evil world and destroy sin and death
o Jesus says that it was fulfilled through him.
o It becomes Jesus’ “vision statement” for the rest of his ministry
o It should be ours…
• “God’s Community Center” => on the forefront of what God is doing worldwide
o It is a pioneering ministry.
o Free food, free clothes, free prayer, and free hugs
o A center that can be used to teach people how to break the cycle of poverty and spiritual bondage as well as a place to belong
• Anger at giving mercy to the wrong people
o Nazareth => settlers town of conservative Jewish people
* Jesus grew up in Nazareth and would have known the folks and the mindset
o Left out portions of Isaiah 61
* Jesus only read the first few lines
* Left out
• Vengeance of God upon the Gentiles
• Israel will be called oaks of the Lord
• Ruins rebuilt to former glory
• Gentiles will work their fields and take care of their animals
• All of Israel will be priests => no work, just study and worship God
• Gentiles wealth will belong to the Israel
• Israel will have a double portion and glory instead of shame
* The people of Nazareth were astonished at this!
o Jesus told two stories
* Widow women
• famine in the land
• Prophet of God goes outside Israel to a Gentile women
• Instead of casting the prophet out, the Gentile women believes in God
• She becomes a model of faith for the Israelites
• Military leader of a nation at war with Israel
• The prophet of God heals him
• Becomes a model of faith
o Jesus was telling the people that the purpose of being a child of God is to fight the evil one and to destroy injustice around them.
* The Jewish people were called by God to be a light to everyone else – to tell them that God was there and wanted to love them.
* The same is for us – the church in the only organization on the planet that exists for its non-members
o People get really, really angry because of all this
* Folks try to Kill Jesus
* He walks away somehow
• The cross
o In the end this same desire of Jesus to bring those on the outside in gets him killed
o Think about it…
* Yet in talking about mercy and love he took control away from the religious leaders who said that people had to come to God a certain way
* Jesus was killed because of his desire for people to meet the Living God
o We are to do what Jesus did
* To love and welcome those who look different and act different
* Just like Jesus, I hope and pray that we have people here at church who don’t act ‘right’ or dress ‘correct’ or smell ‘perfect’ or say the ‘right’ things
* I want people who have never been to church – those who don’t have a clue about Jesus or anything
o This is going to get some folks upset
* Some folks think that church if for those who look right, who believe the correct way and know the right things
* It is going to cause problems….
• People are going to get offended
• People are going to mess up
* That’s alright
• People are more important than looking good
• We are actually going to have to follow the words of Jesus and talk to each other when someone offends us
• We are going to have to actually open the Bible and forgive each other
• We are going to have to follow the words of Paul when he says to live in peace and love with each other the best we can
* There is no simple answer or solution…
* In fact this is going to give us a reputation….folks are going to talk about
• I pray that it will be the same one Jesus had (Luke 7:34)
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”
• The question is:
o Are you going to be ok with being known as Jesus was known?
o He wasn’t popular with the right people…in fact, he was looked down upon…
o The early church was slandered and thrown aside for following a criminal who died upon a cross
o The choice belongs to each one of us…we each have to make this decision… in fact, we have to make it each day as it is easy to forgot it..
o I think this is part of what Jesus meant when he said to pick up our cross daily and follow him…
• It is communion Sunday and I want you all to reflex on what Jesus is doing among us right now…
• As you remember what Jesus did on the cross – as you remember how He died for you…
o I want you to think about how he died for your neighbor who is a jerk
o He died for the druggy, the alcoholic, the greedy, the glutton, sex predators, the murders, the homeless, the hungry, the unemployed, the rich, the wealthy…
o Jesus died for everyone – not just those who we like or look like us…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” –John 3:16
• Let us live this way
• Let us build a church that reflects this heart and mission….
• Let us do what Jesus did.