Over the past weeks we have been following the revealing of Jesus as a babe of Bethlehem, boy in the temple, through the ancestry and heritage of Jesus, Son of Adam, Son of God. Each of these revelations privilege us to see the relationship not just of God and the Son of God, but of an intimate scene of a Father and a Son. From this belovedness Jesus now tells the world and boasts of his Father. From this belovedness the courage and passion for ministry rises.
Such boasting does not come without risk, for these are bold claims and temptations will be real and many, subtle and enticing. If they were not, they would not be temptations. Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, now faces the temptations of the devil. The devil is the one who with subtlety and slight of truth proposes an alternative to the ways of God which Jesus both discerns and resists.
Now Jesus goes home. As he stands in the Synagogue, he reads from the scroll of Isaiah. And as he reads, … “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” Jesus, still full of the Holy Spirit, feels these words taking power in him. He continues, “because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,” significantly omitting Isaiah’s line about “the day of vengeance of our God.
These are not just words for a better world, but for a transformed world. It is not about self-improvement. It is a life change. Freedom and sight and favour, there is no greater change than these for these people. Now, this same Spirit is upon and within us. These words are being fulfilled in us today. Will we let those words, even trembling though they may be, transform us too?