And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 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. 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."
- Luke 4:16-21
What are you expecting for Valentine’s Day?
A letter? A rose? A box of chocolates? A box of candy? What about a box of disappointment?
I once had a highly successful businessman tell me that the key to success in life was determined by setting the proper expectations. He said if you set expectations properly, everything will fall into place. He continued, and I sat on the edge of my seat. I was like a freshly, unwrapped sponge just longing to absorb every ounce of wisdom he would pour out in front of me. He smiled and said, "I told my wife before she married me ... don't expect anything." We all laughed. And he concluded, "We have had a great marriage!"
The people of Nazareth longed for a Messiah to save them but He was not what they expected. Maybe they imagined He would arrive with a large cape surfing on a lightning bolt. Maybe they thought the Messiah would come in armor and destroy the persecuting soldiers right in front of them. The people were watching and listening for the Messiah to return; a Messiah that they expected.
Enter Jesus. You know, Jesus, Joseph's son. It was great to have Him home again and He was the Bible reader and teacher of the day. The servant would have reached behind the silk curtain, grabbed a scroll, and handed it to Jesus. The unrolling of the scroll would not have been unusual ... that was expected. The reading would have been familiar ... that was expected too. It's what happened next that shocked everyone. After reading the scroll, Jesus sat down to teach. Luke tells us all eyes were fixed on Him when He said the unexpected:
"Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
You can feel the tension and hear the gasps. The people had their idea of who the Savior would be. They never imagined the Savior would be Jesus; they were wrong.
Maybe you have an idea in your mind of who or what your Savior will be. Maybe it's a new job that you think will solve your problems. Maybe it's a political leader or the passage of new legislation. Maybe you think about your new workout, your new home, your new friend. So often we receive nothing but a box of disappointment.
Time and trial have proven that none of these things we think of will save us now or into eternity. There is sin and evil in the world and we need a Savior. We have one. Jesus came to announce the Good News to the poor, proclaim liberty to the captives, give sight to the blind. Jesus came for sinners, like me and like you. He said so. Turn or swipe the page to Luke 5:31-32. Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance."
Some think that being Christian means you will have a five-star luxury life. No disappointments; nothing but roses. But nowhere in scripture does God say that. In fact, after the reading and teaching, Jesus didn't get a banquet or a reception. There were no cookies and cake, no punch or coffee. There was no letter, no rose, and certainly no box of chocolates.
Jesus got a death sentence. His own friends and family tried to throw him off a cliff! Why? Because Jesus was not what they expected.
So, what can you expect? One word ... Peace.
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."
Struggles and trials in our lives will continue until Christ comes again. They just will. But Jesus came to save us eternally from the death we all deserve and took our sins upon Himself so we can live in Him. We can live in our struggles with peace and confidence knowing that Christ came for us, died for us, and saved us. I don't know about you, but that brings me peace. Happy Valentine’s Day.
In Christ’s Endless Love,
See ya Sunday - I can't wait