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Is Jesus Easy to Recognize? (Y1.T1.D25)


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In today's verses, Jesus returned to his hometown " in the power of the Spirit" (Luke 4:14). He'd already permitted the Samaritan woman to tell her town that he was the Christ. So while in a Nazareth Synagogue, he read from the book of Isaiah about the coming Messiah.


When Jesus closed the book and announced, "Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:21). The crowd judged him based on their past encounters. "Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:22). And the community that watched him grow up decided he couldn't be more than what they knew of him.


These former neighbors became enraged at Jesus' proclamations and banded together to toss him off a cliff, only to have him passed "through the middle of them" (Luke 4:30). It’s amazing that the same people who'd known him for years and would easily recognize him in a line-up, couldn't find him to kill him.


Jesus is easy to recognize for those who seek him but impossible for those who don't.


I know I never wanted to kill Jesus but there are thousands of minutes in a day when he’s standing right next to me and I fail to see him. The days when I'm successful come when I slow down and pay close attention to his words.


Let's listen more to what he said about himself and less about how the world describes him.


Lord, Reveal Yourself to Me


43 After the two days he went out from there and went into Galilee. 44 For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. 45 So when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast, for they also went to the feast. 46 Jesus came therefore again to Cana of Galilee, where he made the water into wine. There was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him, and begged him that he would come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will in no way believe.”


49 The nobleman said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 As he was now going down, his servants met him and reported, saying “Your child lives!” 52 So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. They said therefore to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour,[a] the fever left him.” 53 So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” He believed, as did his whole house. 54 This is again the second sign that Jesus did, having come out of Judea into Galilee. (John 4:43–54)


14 Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and news about him spread through all the surrounding area. 15 He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.


16 He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, (Luke 4:14–17)


Isaiah 61:1–2, Luke 4:18–19


3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion,

to give to them a garland for ashes,

the oil of joy for mourning,

the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,

that they may be called trees of righteousness,

the planting of Yahweh,

that he may be glorified.


4 They will rebuild the old ruins.

They will raise up the former devastated places.

They will repair the ruined cities

that have been devastated for many generations.

5 Strangers will stand and feed your flocks.

Foreigners will work your fields and your vineyards.

6 But you will be called Yahweh’s priests.

Men will call you the servants of our God.

You will eat the wealth of the nations.

You will boast in their glory.

7 Instead of your shame you will have double.

Instead of dishonor, they will rejoice in their portion.

Therefore in their land they will possess double.

Everlasting joy will be to them.

8 “For I, Yahweh, love justice.

I hate robbery and iniquity.

I will give them their reward in truth

and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

9 Their offspring will be known among the nations,

and their offspring among the peoples.

All who see them will acknowledge them,

that they are the offspring which Yahweh has blessed.”


10 I will greatly rejoice in Yahweh!

My soul will be joyful in my God,

for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation.

He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland

and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11 For as the earth produces its bud,

and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring up,

so the Lord Yahweh will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:3–11)


20 He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began to tell them, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”


22 All testified about him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, and they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”


23 He said to them, “Doubtless you will tell me this parable, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in your hometown.’” 24 He said, “Most certainly I tell you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But truly I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land. 26 Elijah was sent to none of them, except to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 There were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed, except Naaman, the Syrian.”


28 They were all filled with wrath in the synagogue, as they heard these things. 29 They rose up, threw him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill that their city was built on, that they might throw him off the cliff. 30 But he, passing through the middle of them, went his way. (Luke 4:20–30)

Meditation Moment


Dear God,


I don't want to be blinded by my own ideas of what You can and will accomplish in me and those I love. I don't want to be like a horse or mule, without understanding, which must be bridled to stay near You (Psalm 32:9). I'd rather be like the sheep who know Your voice and follow You (John 10:27). For there is nothing hidden that You won't make known (Mark 4:22). Help me be part of those who know and see.


Amen.


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