Nazareth: synagogue

JesusIconNazarethHe came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read 17 and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written…” (Luke 4:16-17)

The Gospel of Mark has a similar account but records it later in Jesus’ public ministry near the end of the ministry in Galilee (Mark 6:1-6a). Luke reports the account at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. In doing so, Luke highlights the initial admiration (Luke 4:22) and subsequent rejection of Jesus (Luke 4:28-29) and presents it as a foreshadowing of the whole future ministry of Jesus. Moreover, the rejection of Jesus in his own hometown hints at the greater rejection of him by Israel (Acts 13:46). Luke’s account seems to have at least two emphases: (a) the announcement of Jesus’ ministry as the fulfillment of God’s promises from the OT in general, but in Isaiah in particular; and (b) a statement about the context of Jesus’ ministry (cf. Luke 4:18-19). In each case, the prophet Isaiah serves as the fulfillment text.

Brief as it is, Luke’s introduction to the ministry in Galilee gives the reader an indication of the nature of Jesus’ work (teaching), one of its common settings (the synagogues), the source of its power (the Spirit), its result (praise), and its extent (to all). Continue reading

Admonition Seven

Years ago I was invited to lunch with the teaching staff at a seminary in Kenya. I walked in on the middle of a good-natured debate.  On one side were the two scripture scholars – on the other side of the debate was the entire remainder of the staff.  The proposition was whether studying Scripture was the shortest route to losing one’s faith. Everyone was a faithful believer and the debate was all in good fun taking the opportunity to poke fun at their friends. Continue reading

Flying

As Christian we are Pentecost people gifted in the Spirit: There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God – writes St Paul in the 1 Corinthians. But these gifts of service and work – all stemming from the same Grace – all gifted in order to build up the Body of Christ – these gifts are founded upon the deeper gifts of the Spirit given: wisdom, understanding, counsel, courage, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (cf. Isaiah 11). I have been thinking about the gift of courage. Continue reading