Renew, Isaiah 61

Isaiah 61

The sermon that nearly got Jesus killed!

The Gospel writers each have their own way of portraying Jesus’ first miracles. It was as if John interviewed people at Cana. “We hear that Jesus worked his first miracle there at a wedding. What did he do?”

“It was incredible, the host of the wedding ran out of wine, Jesus just took 6 stone jars of water and made them into the best wine anyone had ever tasted! He saved the reputation of that bride’s family as well as the owner of the vineyard.” It was just incredible!

Mark interviewed people from Capernaum where Jesus began his teaching ministry in their synagogues. “What was happening, there, Peter?”

“It was unbelievable! There were people in the synagogue possessed by evil spirits and he drove them out. People were coming with all kinds of diseases like leprosy or paralysis and he healed them one after the other. He come to my home not far from the synagogue where my wife’s mother was sick and getting worse. He just picked up her hand and she got up out off the bed with no effort, completely restored!”

And then there was Luke. Luke tracked down people from Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. “I’m writing an orderly account of the life and ministry of Jesus. I heard he also came to your town during his first Galilean tour. How did it go? Did he work any miracles?

“Well, he DID technically work a miracle, but none of the ones we were hearing about. It quickly became a problem. He did all these amazing things in Capernaum, but just stared us down after reading the scroll of Isaiah in our synagogue. We took him out to the precipice and were about to cast him down. That’s when the miracle happened.”

Jesus’ first Miracle in Luke’s Gospel

“Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'” “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown…

When you visit the Holy Land today, this is were you’ll be taken – Mount Precipice, Nazareth.

“All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” (Luk 4:23-30 NIV)

Jesus supernaturally quelled his deranged hometown. That was the only miracle he worked at Nazareth that day. What did Jesus say about Isaiah 61 that could have ignited mob violence? Why does Luke begin Jesus’ ministry like this? Isaiah’s prophecy is a famous redemption oracle about God renewing his people. Maybe the Nazarite response shows us that God’s idea of renewal isn’t what everyone wants. Let’s dive in and see why.

Click here for a clean copy of the Isaiah 61 Manuscript.

I’ve divided the chapter into 4 sections. I did this because of the change of voice in vv 8-9. The messenger (evangelist) is speaking in the fist part. The LORD himself declares his intentions. Then the messenger returns to his oracle starting in vrs 10. Here are a few questions to get you started:

1- What do you notice about the anointed messenger’s intended audience?

2- List everything the messenger is commissioned to do.

3- What do you make of the vivid contrast in vrs. 2? What seems to bring together the ideas of FAVOR and VENGEANCE?

In the next section (vv.3-7) notice what renewal will bring to God’s people.

4- There are several identity statements. List them. How would you describe the impact of renewal on what these people will become?

5- In addition to renewed identity, what will God’s people do and experience with the new life they’re being given?

6- What challenges exist for people who have been deprived for generations (not merely for many years)?

Vv. 8-9 is the LORD, Yahweh himself speaking.

7- What is motivating the LORD’s redemptive actions?

8- There is another change in voice in v.10. What else do we learn about the anointed messenger in this last section?

Learn more about the prophet Isaiah at this article from the Zondervan Academic blog.

Grab a copy of the manuscript and get a friend or two to read it with you. What do you think of Isaiah 61? We’ll finish our study in the next post. Remember to write your questions in the margins as you scribble up your manuscript.

Blessings, and Peace

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