Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 2 Study # 4
August 20, 2006
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
1901 ASV Translation:
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read.
17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book, and found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him.
- I. Jesus' Choice of Texts.
- A. He "stood" to read...
- 1. The paragraph has this word at 4:16 and 4:29.
- 2. The minimal meaning is that one "gets to his feet" -- i.e., he "stands" as opposed to "sits".
- 3. In many of Luke's 27 uses of this word, there is a sense of "determination" involved -- "I will get up in order to do." In several, there is a sense of "focus" -- "I will stand so that the eyes of others will turn toward me." In a few, there is a sense of "resurrection" -- "I was dead, but now I am up and doing again" -- particularly in reference to Jesus' claim that He would be put to death and "rise again" on the third day.
- 4. On that particular day in Nazareth, Jesus intended to voice His rejection of all of those "Nazarenes" who had hardened their hearts against the "Nazarene God" (i.e., the God Whose most fundamental characteristic is that of setting "self" aside for the sake of others). Since love and humility are at the very highest levels of the divine glory, there can be no tolerance of the selfishly proud. This intention began to be fulfilled when He went to the synagogue, but it gained its "focus" when He deliberately "stood" so that He could read from the selected scroll.
- 5. The scroll of Isaiah "was given" to Him. Isaiah is identified as a "prophet" and Jesus is deliberate in verse 21 in His use of "fulfilled" -- i.e., the Truth-speaking God has dominated history so that what He predicted would come has come. The place in the scroll from which He read was of His choosing ("...He found the place where it was written...").
- B. The "problem" with "reading"...
- 1. Luke only refers to "reading" three times in his Gospel.
- 2. In Luke 6:3 Jesus confronts the rigid legalism when it ran aground on His disciples' action of "rubbing grain in their hands" in order to eat on the Sabbath. In His confrontation, He basically accused the Pharisees of having "not even read" their Scriptures at the place where David's "eating on the Sabbath" was "contrary" to their misunderstanding of the Law. Even the most cursory reading would set off bells of alarm for anyone who was thinking that the Sabbath was supposed to make life more difficult for men rather than make their lives easier. The Sabbath was the "sign of the covenant" that signalled a kind of loyalty to God that does make life easier in certain respects. But, the Jews, according to Roland de Vaux, had turned observation of the Sabbath into a "guarantee of salvation" (Ancient Israel, p. 482) so that salvation was the consequence of behavior: an intolerable yoke (Acts 15:10) that no man could bear (Galatians 2:16).
- 3. In Luke 10:26 Jesus confronts a "lawyer" because he seeks to discredit Jesus by raising the issue of what must be done to "inherit eternal life." Jesus, rather than just answering, asked him how he "read" the Scriptures. Then, when he put the full yoke of the Law upon all who would inherit, Jesus told him what the Law said: "Do this and you shall live."
- 4. Clearly, "reading" can be done without "sense" and be completely nullified if it is done to the tune of "theology" rather than "desiring to know Truth." When "theology" dominates reading, nothing is gained. Thus, when the "Nazarene God" is turned into the "Nimrodian god of Babel" before any reading is done, no reading afterwards is of any use. Those who use theology to dominate others to their loss are "Nimrodian" (imitations of Nimrod who used others for his own exaltation).
- C. He read one of the most hopeful texts in Isaiah.
- 1. He read this text as a fulfillment of John's prophetic announcement of One coming Who would baptize with Spirit and Fire.
- 2. Clearly, as the story unfolds, there is more "fire" (as a judgment) here than "spirit" (as blessing) -- the axe has already been applied to the roots of the trees (3:9).
- 3. Thus, the focus upon "reading"...