DayBreaks for 02/12/13 – A Time of Favor

DayBreaks for 02/12/13 – A Time of Favor

SynagogueIsaiah 61:1-2 (NLT) – The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.  2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.

My guess is that you would recognize this passage better as the words of Jesus when he sat down to teach in the synagogue in his hometown.  Only there’s a difference.

You may recall that when Jesus read this passage in the synagogue as he explained his mission – and that the passage was that very day fulfilled in their hearing – it caused quite a ruckus.  It puzzled me for a long time as to why this was the case.  There is the obvious: Jesus was essentially telling them that he was the Messiah (for this was understood as a Messianic prophecy), and that certainly didn’t help matters any.  But I think that there’s another reason, too.

Read the passage yourself from Luke 4:18-19.  Do you see it?  In the passage in Isaiah, the end of verse two is about the day of God’s anger against the enemies of the poor.  In Luke, Jesus stops reading before the part about God’s anger…and he abruptly closed the book without speaking of the time of God’s anger.

I don’t for a moment think that was an error on Jesus’ part, nor just a strange oversight.  I believe he did that intentionally.  He was here to seek and save…and that’s good news any way you cut it.  He was, in a sense, announcing a change of emphasis that came with the Incarnation.  Now that it is “God with us” the time of His favor has arrived.  There wasn’t much of a sense of “favor” among the Israelites who were reminded by constantly repeated sacrifices, by bloody priests and a boat-load of “Thou shalt and thou shalt not’s”.  Jesus has changed that!

There were surely some there that day who were incensed that Jesus wasn’t preaching fire and brimstone.  There was a time and place for that…and still is.  But that isn’t what his ministry was focused on.

The message of God’s love is the most radical message the world has ever heard.  It makes many mad because they don’t want to believe it…or to accept it.  I sure would like to think that we, unlike those who heard him that day, would not seek to throw him off a cliff and kill him!

PRAYER:  What a joy it is to live in the time of Your great favor!  Thank You for this message of joy!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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