Do we really want what Jesus is promising?
Imagine for just a moment, that the world has been completely transformed according to the words Jesus speaks in this passage. (take a moment if you need and read them)
Your turn on the TV, and see images of large crowds.
The poorest people, in the poorest places in the world.
Dancing, celebrating, smiling, tears streaming down faces.
Suddenly, those scenes are interrupted by a special report—not only have political prisoners around the world been released, but the doors of the prisons in this country are wide open, as well.
Changing the channel you now see glasses and contacts and white canes discarded on sidewalks. A reporter tries to interview a confused looking optician at the 1 hour eyeglass place—no comment.
Again, breaking news interrupts with footage of deserted sweatshops and empty farm fields and abandoned mines all over the world. The camera then cuts to store after store, shelves empty.
Flipping to the next channel, the screen fills with images of razor wire fences torn down, walls falling, crowds of cheering people clamoring over the rubble, armed guards stepping aside to let them pass.
Once more, a newsflash interrupts with reports of large crowds of students gathering, burning their loan paperwork in a large heap. In another city, another crowd gathers around an industrial shredder tossing in their medical bills, their mortgage notes, their credit card statements.
All the while, the ticker at the bottom of the screen reveals that the stock market is in free fall.
Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
This can’t be what Jesus meant…or can it?
When the crowd at Nazareth first hears his words, they are full of excitement. All speak well of him. That is, until Jesus goes on in the following verses to flesh out what the fulfillment of these words looks like with a couple of stories:
Foreigners, pagans, enemies receiving God’s favor. The Israelites get nothing.
This is not what the people of Nazareth expected when they heard: good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, the oppressed go free, the year of the Lord’s favor. The way these words are brought to life through Jesus, it’s not what they had in mind. Now, it doesn’t sound like good news to them at all. And so, the people of Nazareth try to push Jesus off a cliff.
The good news in Jesus may not be what we expected.
It may not sound particularly good for us, depending on who we are.
But if we can resist the temptation to push Jesus away, just maybe, we can find the patience to follow and see where he is heading with this.