Jesus Brings Good News
You are my son, whom I dearly love. (Luke 3:22)
Synagogues are places of worship for Jews. In Jesus’ time, Jews gathered together in the synagogue for worship and for teaching the Scriptures and the law. After Jesus’ baptism and his experience of being tempted in the wilderness, he began to teach in the synagogues. The Bible tells us that it was Jesus’ custom to go to the synagogue on the sabbath.
While Jesus was in the synagogue in Nazareth, his hometown, he was handed the scroll of Isaiah to read. During worship in a synagogue at that time, there were usually several readers. Each would read a part of Scripture and then preach on the text. The Bible tells us that Jesus stood to read from the scroll and then sat down to teach. This was the customary practice at the time. Jesus chose to read a passage from Isaiah that essentially announced what his ministry was to be about: bringing good news to the poor, proclaiming release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind. It could be said that Jesus was reading his mission statement.
The last part of the story is more difficult to understand. The crowd in the synagogue turned on Jesus. In verse 22 we are told they were \ amazed at the words that he spoke. In verse 29 they were attempting to hurl him off a cliff! It has been speculated that the crowd became upset when Jesus insisted that his message was for everyone and that those in Nazareth were not to receive special privilege. The people of Nazareth may have wanted Jesus to spend extra time in Nazareth and bestow extra blessings on them, becoming upset at finding out that this was not Jesus’ plan.
Since Jesus’ mission included helping those in need, one of the suggestions in this lesson is to do a service project with your children. The lesson plan suggests having the children organize a food drive for your congregation. Often there is an emphasis on collecting food in the time prior to Christmas, but the reality is that this need lasts all year. If there is a specific need in your community, modify the service project to meet that need.
God chose Jesus; Jesus chose God.
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