Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read the story of Jesus reading from the Bible in his hometown, and then instead of teaching about the passage, he simply said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
It certainly seems he was claiming to be the one described in this passage. Why was all this fulfilled? Because he was standing in front of the people of Nazareth where he grew up. He’d begun his public ministry; kicking off his plan to save the entire world and bring into effect something he called the kingdom of God
Many people recognize Jesus as a good teacher, especially of morals and behaviour. But in this situation, a formative situation, he didn’t even take the opportunity to stand in front of his listeners and lecture. He simply said “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” and sat down.
Was he teaching? Absolutely. He was teaching in what he said and what he did, and this occasion he taught through both methods.
He was speaking about a world where the oppressed were liberated, the blind healed. These weren’t all he had planned, just representative examples of the kingdom of God’s state of affairs. The world restored to the way it was created to be. All the brokenness, like sickness, oppression, violence, even death wasn’t part of the world God created, and wasn’t going to be part of his kingdom either.
Jesus spoke the words from the scroll of Isaiah, written about 500 years before he walked the earth. These were his words, really, since they were words of prophecy that God spoke through Isaiah.
So, the event wasn’t really about Jesus saying the words – he’d said them before. The difference was that it was happening – it was being fulfilled. Those words were not empty; they were full of potential and activity.
This is why his actions were so surprising. He didn’t try to teach detail on this, or talk at all. He sat down and waited. As if what he was saying was self-evident, or self-fulfilling. He spoke as if his words had power in and of themselves, as if he could simply speak things into reality.
This is a sign of serious power. Think of those you’ve met who simply speak about their idea, their vision, or their needs, and people get right to work on making it happen. A powerful executive, maybe, or an overbearing parent.
Or think of my professor, who I spoke about on Monday. His words get taken very seriously – he has done the kind of research to earn a Nobel prize. When he speaks about his area of expertise, few people will bother to fact-check him – he’s a teacher of the calibre where his words can stand on their own, no references.
Question: What do you think Jesus wanted to communicate with his sitting down in silence?