Let’s take a look today at the days leading up to Jesus’ ministry, Luke chapter four will be our primary source. Here we will find the period just before His ministry began. Jesus was recently baptized in the Jordan by His cousin John the Baptist, to which God had responded, “this is My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased!” In chapter four we learn that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and lead around in the wilderness for forty days. During this time Jesus was fasting and He was being tempted by the devil. When the days were completed He became very hungry! At this time, Luke records three very distinct temptations the devil laid out before Jesus and each and every time Jesus responded with the Word of God rather than answering based on His own thoughts, feelings and desires. Jesus was fully submitted to His Father and the Word. Because of this, Jesus was victorious over the temptations and returned to Galilee and began teaching in their synagogues and found favor and praises among the people.
Jesus was in Nazareth and as usual, he entered the synagogue where they handed Him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Jesus opened it to the section that we recognize as Isaiah 61 and He began reading: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them,“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:18-21 (NIV)
My very first thought is how much I love this prophecy written by the prophet Isaiah about the coming Messiah; my second is how did those listening respond to Jesus’ reading and the claim “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”? The very next verse tells us: “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.” Luke 4:22. The word used for gracious is the Greek word Charis which we are tracing through the New Testament. Surprisingly, as Jesus continued teaching, the crowd grew enraged and drove Him out of the city; planning to throw Him off a cliff and giving credibility to His words, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.” Verse 24 Entering Capernaum, Jesus continued on His journey teaching, healing, delivering people all along His way.
How interesting that those that had known Jesus longest and should have known Him the best were so quick to turn on Him, run Him out of town and threaten His life. Something’s never change in life unless we make an intentional decision to address them. You’ve no doubt heard the old saying “you always hurt the one you love”, this should not be! All of our words should be gracious, seasoned to be palatable and kind especially to our loved ones but to all others as well. Can you just imagine the difference that it would make in our world if everyone intentionally chose to speak graciously (that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech, good will, loving-kindness, favor) to our loved ones, friends, acquaintances and even strangers? Like many in generations past, my Mom used to say, “If you can not say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Sadly, too many things are said hastily or harshly, out of fear, anger, panic, or some other untamed emotion. Once spoken, they can’t be retracted. Even if they are forgiven, seldom are they forgotten! Words are powerful, may God teach us to use them well; to bring life and healing rather than death and destruction!
May grace season our words and be found upon our lips!