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Researchers have spent a lot of time trying to understand the quick changes of crowds.
Some call it ‘group think.’
Others refer to it as ‘collective behavior.’
But it is clear that a crowd often reacts differently than a single person would in the same situation.
Today we are going to see how quickly a crowd can change.
This seems to be a common theme throughout the ministry of Jesus on earth.
Crowds either love Him or hate Him.
There is either a group flocking toward Him or a group seeking to destroy Him.
Many today are no different that those in Christ’s time.
They are crowd followers.
If it is cool to follow Jesus, they continue going along with the crowd.
If there is a cost involved, they quickly bolt for the exits.
As we study the rapid rejection of Christ in His hometown today, I want you to ask God to reveal your heart for Christ.
I want you to ask that God searches you inside and out and tests whether you truly believe in the Messiah - the Christ - namely our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Pray like the Psalmist:
May you truly understand and believe in the Messiah.
Join me as we read God’s Word for us today:
Today we will see four distinct attributes that Christ showed as He came to earth.
The first is…
I. Jesus, the Messiah, Came to Earth With Power (14-15)
According to most scholars and chronology experts, there is around a year to a year and a half break between the Temptation of Jesus ending in verse 13 and Jesus’s return to Galilee in verse 14.
This makes sense when we see that a report had gone out about Him in the surrounding country.
This was because He had done some private ministry in this time period that had begun to spread abroad.
I have made a slide of a simplified chronological view so that you can see this gap and where we are in Jesus’ ministry currently.
John 1-4 fills in the gaps of this ministry period for Jesus which takes place in Judea with a few months in Galilee as well.
During this time period, Jesus ministers with John the Baptist (John 1:19-34), He calls Peter and Andrew and Philip and Nathanael to be His disciples (John 1:35-51), He turns water into wine (John 2:1-11), He meets with and teaches Nicodemus (John 3:1-21), and He ministers to the Samaritan woman and other Samaritans (John 4:1-45).
This first period seen at the beginning of John’s Gospel is considered Jesus’ private ministry.
He has begun ministering, but it is more focused as He develops His disciples.
It is upon arriving to Galilee in Luke 4:14 that Jesus begins His actual public ministry.
He will now have around two years of public ministry after this initial period of a more private ministry.
I hope that timeline helps you understand where we are in Jesus’ life as we begin studying today.
Moving forward to verse 15, we see that now that He has returned, He starts off His public ministry by teaching in the synagogues of the area.
And it becomes obvious to all that this Teacher is coming with power.
Luke even asserts that the crowds are even glorifying Him.
They notice that His teaching is different than the others.
We see the people of Capernaum recognize the power and authority of Jesus later in this chapter in verse 32:
Jesus came to earth with authority and power.
He did not just come as a good man or as an example for us to emulate - although those are both true statements.
But He came as the Messiah - fully God and fully man and came with all power and authority.
May we never miss the truth of Christ’s authority and power.
He is not to be dismissed as just another prophet or a good man.
He is fully God and has all power and authority as such.
Next we see that…
Scripture References: Psalm 139:23-24, John 1-4, Luke 4:32
Jesus, the Messiah, Came to Earth With Purpose (16-21)
We have been told that Jesus came and started His public ministry in Galilee.
He has been preaching in different synagogues and has been recieved positively so far.
While in Galilee, He goes to His hometown of Nazareth and continues His custom of going and teaching in the synagogues.
For those who do not know what a synagogue was, it was not a replacement of the temple.
No sacrifices could be made in the synagogues.
They were, instead, places of worship for local Jews.
Interestingly, there were no full-time pastors or teachers but instead there was usually a ruler who would approve different people to teach.
Oftentimes, people from other areas would be allowed to give a sermon of sorts.
This day Jesus was given the role to teach.
Verse 17 lets us know that Jesus stood up to read from the scroll of Isaiah.
Isaiah is an extremely long book and would been an impressive scroll to read from.
The people of Jesus’ day didn’t have chapters and verses labeled like we do, so one had to know the Scripture well to find their place.
Jesus goes right to Isaiah 61:1-2 and reads.
We see how amazing His knowledge of the Old Testament was with how He picks out this Scripture and reads.
This is not just any average Scripture however.
There is purpose in what He reads.
You see, Israel recognized these two verses as being Messianic in nature.
Listen to what He read:
Jesus has come to:
1. Proclaim good news to the poor.
2. Proclaim liberty to the captives.
(Set at liberty the oppressed)
3. Recover sight to the blind.
4. Proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Let’s address these amazing, Messianic statements one by one.
1. Proclaim good news to the poor.
It is interesting that the Greek word for proclaim in the following two instances is the word for preach or proclaim while here the word is euangelizō (e-van-gah-leeze-oh) is used.
This word is specifically used throughout the Scriptures to mean preaching the Gospel.
This is a direct preaching of the Gospel of Jesus of Christ.
So who does Christ preach the Gospel to?
Those who are poor in spirit.
These are those who are marginalized and excluded - the outcasts.
It is more than economically driven, though.
It is those without hope.
And my friends, if we are not in Christ, we should recognize that we are poor, because it is only those who realize that they are spiritually poor that can obtain the free gift of salvation.
Only those who see their hopelessness and need for a Savior can be saved.
2. Proclaim liberty to the captives.
(Set at liberty the oppressed)
The word liberty here in Greek is aphesis (ah-pha-sees) which means pardon and forgiveness.
Jesus comes to free sinners from the chains of sin.
We can be liberated from sin through the blood of Christ.
If we repent of our sins and put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we can experience true freedom.
3. Recover sight to the blind.
My friends, so many are blind, spiritually speaking, in our world today.
They continually fall into pit after pit.
They are blind to reason.
They are blind to understanding the bad consequences of their decisions.
They are blind to the truth.
Jesus did not only give sight to physically blind men and women while on earth, He opened and continues to open the eyes of the blind in spirit.
Christ offers light in the midst of the darkness.
The light and truth of His Word can open the eyes of the blind and show them the way of salvation through Jesus.
And finally,
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