Scripture:    Jesus said in the local synagogue, reading from Isaiah:  “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.”  (Isaiah 61:1 and 2; Ps 146:7 and 8; Isaiah 58:6; Isaiah 49.8)

“And all spoke well of (Jesus) and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from His mouth…”

(But just a few moments later) “When they (the folks at this same synagogue) heard all these things (that Jesus explained and clarified), all in the synagogue were filled with wrath…and drove (Jesus) out of town (to a place where they could throw Him off a cliff)….Luke 4:18-19; v. 22; v. 28-29 (paraphrased in some parts)

Observation:    My goodness how the crowds can turn so quickly.  Talking about the Gospel is ok until you start explaining the implications.  Isn’t the Good News of the Gospel good all the way around?  Yes…and no.

Application:   I read somewhere that a prominent theologian was asked “what is the most significant thing you have learned over your many years of studying the Bible.”

His answer after a few moments of deeply thinking:  “Jesus loves me, this I know.  For the Bible tells me so…”

And so it is.  But, the simple Gospel isn’t always simple to many—mostly because we don’t learn enough about why it is simple.

I have written before that the Gospel is like a multifaceted jewel: every facet (and there are more than can be counted) is a marvelous piece of the Gospel to be studied and adored.

When any of these facets are studied with focus, a couple of possible responses may be:

  • Oh Lord, my God: thank you thank you thank you, and/or;
  • Oh Lord, my God: who then, can be saved from the wrath to come?

Jesus stood up in the local synagogue and read from Scripture.  He was talking about Himself (“Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing…”) and every one in attendance went “Aw…isn’t that sweet!  Look, Joseph’s boy is doing good.  Listen how well-spoken he is.  I just love hearing him talk…”

And then Jesus started to explain with examples, basically pointing out that there were a number of pretty big issues in Israel’s past that could have used a good dose of deliverance…but God chose to address only a couple of individuals.  Jesus took the “Oh how sweet” and brought a dose of Gospel reality to the congregation.

Thinking about proclaiming the Gospel screws up many heads.  Take me for instance: Preaching the Gospel in my younger days became a sales job…how many notches can I put in the spine of my Bible?

Preaching the Gospel has a particular root: Proclaiming the supremacy of God and that He (the Trinity) alone provides a way for rebellious, traitorous, sinful Man to enter His presence—redeemed and adopted as family.

Paul in Acts 24 spoke to Felix about “righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgement.”  Felix’s response?: “He was alarmed and said ‘Go away…’”

A disciple’s responsibility is to “proclaim the coming of the Lord”, in essence: The Gospel.  Nowhere is there a place where that disciple is responsible for anybody’s response except for one: the Face in the Mirror.

Prayer:   O mighty Three in One: Please make my heart continue to be amazed at the beauty and depth of the Gospel and all the implications.  Make me adore all the facets, even those that are so very difficult to think about.  Help me to make the message of the Gospel simply and complete.  AMEN

 

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