Home     Luke     Series     Audio     Notes           

LUKE 4:14-30 - part one
Series:  Released - Part One

Pastor Stephen Muncherian
November 30, 2008

Please turn with me to Luke 4 - starting at verse 14.

Not too long ago we had an election.  Remember that?  Voters narrowly passed Proposition 8 - defining marriage as between a man and a woman - and once again the argument over marriage is in the California Supreme Court.  Many people asked,
“Why do we even need to discuss this let alone vote on it?” 

Voters narrowly defeated Prop. 4.  Remember what Prop. 4 was?  Establishing a waiting period and parental or guardian notification before giving a minor an abortion.  Voters overwhelming passed Prop. 2 - standards for confining farm animals.  It may be that more Californians care about chickens having aerobics than young girls being abused.

Watching the debates - the issues - the propositions - the results - and the ongoing results of the election - many have expressed a profound sense of sorrow - uneasiness - a deep concern - over the direction that our society is heading - morally and spiritually.

Do you feel that America is growing more indifferent to God?  More anti-God?  Maybe even more antagonistic to God and His people?

There are additional questions - uncertainties - about what’s going on economically.  How will we live?  Provide for our families?  Make ends meet?  Retire?

Bob is constantly quoting the Chinese proverb. 
“May you live in interesting times.”  These are interesting times.

So often we’re tempted to allow what we see go on around us - tempted to allow all that to effect us spiritually - rather than the reverse. 
Who we are in Jesus - our relationship with Him - should effect how we respond to what we see taking place around us.

What we’re going to be focusing on these next few Sundays - is to think through together the reality of Immanuel - God with us - who Jesus is - the implications of His coming for our lives - the encouragement - the perspective - the strength He offers us as we respond to the circumstances of our lives.

Look with me at Luke 4 - starting at verse 14: 
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about Him went out through all the surrounding country.  And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified - or praised - by all.

Let’s pause and take in some background.  Previous to these verses Jesus has been down at the Jordan River - where He was baptized by John the Baptist.  Familiar scene.  God the Father speaking from heaven,
“You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.”  And the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus.  Familiar.  Right?

Then Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit out into the wilderness east of the Jordan River where’s He’s gone through 40 days of being tempted by Satan.  Remember that? 
“Tell the stones to become bread.”  “Man shall not live on bread alone.”  “Worship me.”  “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”  “Jump!”  “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”

In verse 14 we see Jesus being led and empowered by the Holy Spirit traveling back up north to the area around the Sea of Galilee to begin His public ministry.  As Jesus is ministering to the people - part of that ministry involves teaching - specifically teaching in the synagogues. 

What Luke tells us is that Jesus - as He’s beginning His ministry - empowered by the Holy Spirit - teaching in these synagogues - Jesus is getting a reputation.  People were saying good things about Him.  They’re impressed - favorably.

Verse 16: 
And He - Jesus - came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up - born in Bethlehem - raised in Nazareth - And as was His custom - meaning that this wasn’t just a photo-op for the currently popular Rabbi.  Or, that Jesus just showed up at the synagogue on the high holy days - Yom Kippur and Hanukkah.  Going to synagogue on Sabbath was something that Jesus did as a part of who He actually is in real life - as was His custom, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day - probably the synagogue He attended growing up - and He stood up to read.

Let’s pause for some background.

This is a drawing of what a synagogue would’ve looked like in Jesus’ day.  It was about the size of this room.  Maybe about 20 feet or so longer that way.  They packed about 400 plus people in - sitting on stone benches around the outside - not cushy teal colored chairs.  Imagine 400 people in here.  Pretty packed. 

The synagogue - outside of Jerusalem - the local village synagogue was the center of Jewish worship.  The entrance faced Jerusalem - a reminder that - in Jesus’ day - Jerusalem was where the Temple was.  But the local center of worship was the synagogue.

Sabbath services included singing - prayers - a reading from Scripture - probably in Hebrew with an Aramaic translation.  That reading would include a passage of the day - probably taken from the 5 books of Moses - Genesis to Deuteronomy.  Then a reading from the prophets - which was a preselected passage or a passage the reader would select.  Then there would be a teaching from the Scripture that had been selected.

Probably - on that Sabbath - the synagogue was packed - 400 plus people crammed in - people hanging around outside - to hear Jesus - the local boy Rabbi made good.  At the appropriate time in the service Jesus stands up - because that’s what you did.  You stand up to read and sit down to teach.  Jesus stands up to read.

Verse 17: 
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 proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  And He rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down - to teach - And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.  And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  And all spoke well of Him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from His mouth.

In coming Sunday’s were going to come back to this passage and even move on through it to verse 30.  But today - thinking about the significance of Jesus’ coming for us - where we live our lives today - I’d like to have us focus on verse 18 and these words of Jesus - Jesus quoting Isaiah,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He - God - has anointed Me.”

That is an amazing statement with huge implications for our lives.  
Jesus is God’s Anointed One.  Say that with me, “Jesus is God’s Anointed One.”

“Anointed” in Greek is the verb “chrino” - which is were we get the word “christos” or what from?  “Christ.”  Christos translates the Hebrew word what?  “messiah.”  The idea behind anointing is to set something - or someone - to set them apart for a sacred - a holy - special purpose.

We know this - right?  Christ isn’t Jesus’ last name.  Its His title - the description of His ministry among us.  Jesus the one set apart by God - anointed - the Messiah - the Christ of God.

To help us think through the reality of what that means for us - of Jesus - the Christ - God’s Anointed One - I’d like to invite you to turn with me to Colossians 1 - starting at verse 15 - and look with me at how the Apostle Paul describes Jesus.  Colossians 1 - starting at verse 15.

- Jesus - is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Thinking about what it means that Jesus is the Anointed of God - we need to grab onto
The Divinity of Jesus.  Say that with me, “The Divinity of Jesus.”

You all recognize this place?  Good old Planet Earth - terra firma - our home planet - with certain key locations highlighted.

Think with me about our place in the cosmos.  Earth in comparison to the other planets in the solar system.  Bigger than the other inner planets.  But far smaller in comparison to the outer planets - Jupiter and Saturn - excluding of course Pluto which may or may not be a planet.  Compare our Earth to the Sun.  The Sun to other stars in the area.

In the words of the great astronomer Steve Martin,
“Let’s get small.”  By comparison terra firma is terra pretty small. 

Light travels how fast through a vacuum?  186,000 miles per second.  Takes light 1.3 seconds to go from here to the moon.  This fuzzy picture - with the white dot is an image of Earth taken by Voyager from 4 billion miles out - what would take us about 6 hours traveling at the speed of light.  Not very big.

Travel at the speed of light for 16 years and we’d end up at 40 Eridani - one of the closest stars to Earth.  This photo is of the 40 Eridani star system - 3 stars in one system.  40 Eridani A - the brighter star on the right - is the one Gene Roddenberry said that what planet is suppose to orbit?  Vulcan.

Our Sun is - of course - part of the what galaxy?  The Milky Way.  This is an artist rendering - showing our location.  “You Are Here.”  Its an artist rendering because the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy on a flat plain - so we look across it.  Normally looks like this - if we can get out into the mountains and away from all the lights.  Ever see it like this?  Impressive.  Kind of looked like that down at Puerta Trampa with the lights off.   The Milky Way is about 100,000 light years across.  Travel at the speed of light - 186,000 miles per second - for 100,000 years and we could go from one side to the other.  That’s a mind boggling distances.

This is galaxy M31 - also known as what?  the Andromeda Galaxy.  Andromeda is the nearest major galaxy to us - only 2 million light years away.  Just right next door.  There are an estimated 100 billion galaxies in the universe.  How big is the universe?  We don’t know.  Big.

Paul writes - Colossians 1:16 - that by Jesus all things were created.

Jesus is the
source of creation.  The material universe:  stars, galaxies, planets, solar systems - trees, grass, mountains and seas.  And not just the visible - but the invisible:  Jesus created electricity - radiation - magnetism - the atoms and the basic stuff that holds everything together.  And not just forces and things - Jesus created concepts and attitudes:  grace, mercy, truth, love and essence of life itself.  All that exists - because when God spoke creation into existence Jesus made it happen.

Jesus is the goal of creation - Colossians 1:16 says that creation is “for Him.”  All of this operates for Jesus.  A while back Einstein said that space is not a linear concept - extending outward in a straight line - but space is curved in on itself - joining again with itself.

Creation originated within Jesus - and converges again towards Him.  He
s the reason why all things have been made.  Eventually all of the cosmos and all the events of history will find their place in the great purpose of the Father to honor and glorify Jesus.

And then
in verse 17 Paul writes that its Jesus who holds all things together.  Jesus is the sustainer - the preserver - of creation.

Anyone recognize this place?  This is the Stanford Linear Accelerator. 
You’ve probably seen that long building that runs under 280 down by Palo Alto.  Under that long building is a long tube - looks pretty much like this - this long tube runs under that building.  Scientist send particles of matter through that tube - accelerating them to pretty close to the speed of light - and then they shoot these particles into different types of materials to see what happens.  Basically they’re trying to smash atoms and sub-atomic matter apart.

To do that takes a tremendous amount of power - enough power to run the entire
cities of the greater Merced metroplex - Turlock - Modesto - Fresno - and have gobs of power left over.  Something holds the atom together with enormous - incredible power.  That power - according to the Bible - is vested in Jesus.  He has the power to sustain creation.

Thinking about what it means that Jesus is the Anointed of God - first we need to grab on to the divinity of Jesus.  Point being:  Jesus is God.  Say that with me,
“Jesus is God.” 

Second, we need to grab onto
The Humanity of Jesus.  Let’s say that together, “The humanity of Jesus.”

In Colossians 1:19 - Paul writes,
“For in Him - Jesus - all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.”  That’s an amazing statement.  All of what it means to be God - dwells in Jesus.

“Fullness” is the Greek word “pleroma.”  It has the idea of being stuffed to the maximum possible.  “Fullness” isn’t like when we buy a box of cereal that’s half-empty.  Contents may settle in shipping.

Ezekiel is brought to the temple in Jerusalem.  Ezekiel - looking into the temple - says,
“The glory of the Lord filled the temple.”  (Ezekiel 44:4).  There’s so much of God there that there’s no room for anything else.

All of what it means to be God - dwells in Jesus.  Point being that Jesus is fully God - and - and that’s a huge “and” - and all that fullness of God is within Jesus - who is fully human.

Keep your finger in Colossians 1 and turn with me back one book to Philippians - chapter 2 where Paul explains this fullness of God in humanity in more detail.

The apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2 - starting at verse 6: 
“Though He - Jesus - was in the form of God - meaning that He is eternally the God - Jesus - did not count equality with God - His being God - a thing to be grasped - to be held on to - but - Philippians 2:7 - but - Jesus - emptied Himself

What did Jesus do?  He emptied Himself.

The word “emptied” is the Greek word “kenosis.”  The meaning of that one word is essential to our faith - crucial to understand.  Say it with me
“kenosis.”  Kenosis is the description of Jesus - God - dwelling in humanity.

If I take my coat off - and put it here on this chair - have I changed?  No.  I’m still the same person.  A little colder maybe.  But the same person.  Has my coat changed?  Same coat.  I’ve set aside my right to use it to keep myself warm.  But, its still my coat - my possession.  And it is my right to pick it up and wear it again any time I please.  I’ve just chosen to take it off.  That’s kenosis. 

Imagine with me that my coat represents all of my rights and prerogatives and powers as God.  I realize that’s a stretch.  But, hang in there.  All those “Omni's” - omnipresence - omnipotence - omniscience - those impossible things to understand that make God uniquely God - the fullness of God.  My coat represents my rights and prerogatives to exercise those divine indwelling attributes.

Putting all that together - at the same time Jesus was taking off His Godly prerogatives - He was putting on humanity.  And yet - Jesus never changes.  Point being - Jesus is still fully God and yet fully human.

Then Paul writes - Philippians 2:7, when Jesus emptied Himself He took on the form of a servant - took on all the inner stuff that makes a servant a servant -
“being made in the likeness of men.”  Paul describing what it means that Jesus is fully human.

Paul says hat Jesus became a what? a “servant” - in Greek the word “doulos” - meaning the Almighty God became “a slave.”

In the Roman world s
laves were the possessions of their masters - looked on with the same regard as a shovel or hammer - a tool to be used.  Jesus should have been worshiped - adored by people - angels - animals - served by all of creation.  Yet, Jesus set all that aside to serve.

Having become a man - Jesus didn
t come as a king - a ruler or a rich person - someone insulated from the worst parts of our human condition.  He became the son of a common family - in a conquered nation - born in the humility of a stable.  In humility He came and embraced us as brothers and sisters - without any advantage over us - facing life as we face life.

If all that is a little hard for us to get our minds around we’re in good company.  How does the eternal Creator God take on His creation’s humanity?  Grab the bottom line:  He did.  Praise God.

Turn back with me to Colossians.  Paul writes - in Colossians 1 - starting at verse 18: 
“And He - Jesus - is the head of the body, the church.  He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent.

In Matthew 13 Jesus said that,
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”  (Matthew 13:45,46)

Jesus’ parable is interpreted to mean that Jesus is the pearl of great price and that we should sell everything to buy Him.  But that doesn’t fit with what the rest of the Bible teaches.  How do we buy God?  How can we buy our salvation?  Impossible.

is the merchant looking for a fine pearl.  And He finds one - the church.  For us, “He went and sold all that He had and bought it” - us!

at really makes a lot of sense when we think about how a pearl is made.  A pearl starts out as and irritated oyster.  A grain of sand gets under an oyster’s shell.  And its really irritating.  So, the oyster tries to get rid it.  The oyster begins to cover the grain of sand with nacre that hardens into a beautiful pearl.

That’s how the church was born - from the wounding of Jesus.  We are the irritation -
because of our sinful lives Jesus choose death on the cross - and His blood covers our sin and He heals us - making us into a beautiful pearl of great value.

Dying on our behalf -
Paul writes - Jesus is the first to be born from the dead - never to die again.  And as the first-born of God’s household - He is sovereign in rank over all of us.  Jesus is the beginning of the church - and so He’s the head.

Do you see what Paul is getting at?  Colossians 1:19: 
“For in Him - who? - in Jesus - all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell - fully God - fully man - and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.”  Jesus - the servant - dying on our behalf to reconcile us to God.

“To reconcile” means to to heal the hostility that exists between us.

In Ephesians 2, Paul speaks of the healing of hostility between Jew and Gentile.  He says Jesus has come and broken down the barrier - the wall that divides Jew and Gentile - reconciling Jew and Gentile into one body - the church.

In 1 Corinthians 7 - Paul says that husbands and wives are to be reconciled to each other.  Parents and children need reconciliation at times.  Friends often need it.  Families need it.  The healing of hostilities.

In Colossians 1:20 Paul is saying that the day is coming when the hostility of evil against righteousness will be brought to an end.  Evil men and angels won’t be able to continue in their hostility against God.  And, for those who have trusted in Jesus as their Savior that reconciliation is now.

We have a cross in our sanctuary - not to make us think that the cross is a beautiful piece of art - but to remind us.  The cross was a dirty - bloody - painful means of death.  But out of that death has flowed life and reconciliation to the whole universe.

Bottom Line:  If Jesus is not God then we have no Savior.  If Jesus is not man then what’s the point?  
But Jesus is - fully God - fully man.  Deity and Humanity.  God has bridged the divide between us to reconcile us to Himself.

Starting in Genesis - right after the fall - God begins explaining to us - humankind - how He will restore us to a healed relationship with Him.  A male descendant of Eve will bruise the head of the serpent.  Moses and the Passover Lamb - blood on the doorposts - providing salvation for God’s people.  The whole Old Testament sacrificial system.  David and the prophets - writing of the Messiah to come. 
In the Old Testament there are 60 major messianic prophecies given to us by God to help us identify God’s Anointed One - the Messiah.  270 Ramifications of those prophecies.  All of which were fulfilled in Jesus the Christ.

I love this illustration.  You’ve probably heard me give this before.  So hang in there.

probability that any one man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled just eight of these prophecies is 1 in 1017.  That’s a one followed by 17 zeros.

Suppose we take 10
17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas.  They will cover the whole state of Texas two feet deep.  If we took a Sharpie pen and put red mark on one of them.  Throw that silver dollar on the pile.  Then stir the whole mass thoroughly - all over the state.  Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wants - in any direction - north - south - east - west - with the idea that that man must pick up that one marked silver dollar on the first try.

The probability of that man picking out the marked quarter on the first try is the same probability
that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.

Grab this:  Bottom line:  Anointed doesn’t mean that God went “eenie meenie minie moe catch the Messiah by His toe” and by chance or dumb luck Jesus - out of all the people wandering around the earth - somehow Jesus got chosen.  Somehow picked out to be the Messiah. 
“Hey, why not Him?  The carpenter’s Son.”

“Anointed” means that God is purposefully working in human history - purposefully entering into human history - purposefully has entered into our lives.  The apex of God’s work - the focal point - is the coming and ministry of Jesus the Christ - Immanuel - God with us - who has come, and is, and is coming.

When we’re tempted to allow what we see go on around us - tempted to allow all that to effect us emotionally - physically - even spiritually - remember that Jesus is the Anointed One of God for you.



Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible®, © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.