Dear Friends in Christ
The Gentiles, like Luke himself, had believed in Christ on the testimony of others, not because they were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life, ministry and resurrection. To build up their faith, Luke wrote down an orderly account of the events and encounters of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry ‘just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word’. Luke’s Gospel shows the continuity between God’s promises made through the prophets and their fulfilment. Jesus, reading from the prophet Isaiah the promise that God would send one who would free his people from oppression and imprisonment, and restore their freedom and liberty, announced: ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’. His words electrified his audience. They had heard this promise many times before. But now Jesus, in front of their own eyes, was saying: ‘I am fulfilling this great promise of God. I am the Spirit-bearer foretold by Isaiah and, I am bringing in a new age of freedom and divine favour, restoring men and women to health, and casting out demons’. It’s not surprising that ‘the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him’. It’s also unsurprising that they could not accept him and ‘rose up and put him out of the city’.
Jesus now stands before us. He still proclaims the Good News, making us see with new eyes that we are loved and forgiven, and leading us into his Father’s presence as beloved sons and daughters. He restores to us our inheritance as God’s children, freeing us from oppression and liberating us from whatever imprisons us. Do we believe this and go to Jesus to receive his grace and life? Or do we not believe that he can do all things for us and so reject him? Jesus stands before us as he stood before his fellow townspeople and challenges us to come to him for healing and freedom. The choice, however, always remains ours.
Lord Jesus, you restore all things. You break the power of evil. You heal our sins. Help me to come to you with complete faith and confidence. Teach me to fix my eyes on you.