Jesus had grown and was now about 30 years old. He had been traveling in different towns, but returns back to his hometown of Nazareth where he had grown up with his family. He had been teaching in the synagogues and on this particular sabbath, he went into his hometown synagogue in Nazareth.
Jesus had stood to read the scriptures and he was handed a scroll that contained the prophecies of Isaiah. Jesus unrolled the scroll until he reached Isaiah 61 where he read these words:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,Luke 4:18-19
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jesus read from Isaiah 61 verse 1 and the first half of verse 2 and then says:
“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”Luke 4:21
Before going on, here is a dramatization of this time in Nazareth. It isn’t precisely what we see in the Bible, but for a dramatization, I think it captures the scene pretty well and how the people felt – the good, the bad, and the ugly – of Jesus’s revelation to be the Christ, God’s annointed One.
The first thing that we see is that Jesus selects Isaiah 61, and in this passage in Isaiah, the annointed One of God is speaking. This is the Christ, the Messiah, that is speaking to the people of Israel through Isaiah, and now, Jesus reads it to the people in the synagogue in Nazareth and then tells the people that the scripture is fulfilled in their hearing.
Jesus is telling them that he, himself, is the Messiah. He is the Christ. He has come to:
Proclaim good news to the poor.
Bind up the brokenhearted.
To proclaim freedom for the captives.
To release the prisoners from darkness.
And proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Later, the Jews begin to think that Jesus may be the Messiah and they fill these words with a different meaning. They think that the “good news” for the poor is that Jesus will make them rich. They think that binding up the brokenhearted means that he will turn their emotional sadness into happiness. That he will remove the people from their captors, the Romans. That he will let prisoners out of Roman prisons. And that they will be favored by God so that the political nation of Israel will be restored.
But that is not at all what Jesus is referring to. Jesus isn’t a political king. He is much, much more than a political king. He is a spiritual King, the King of kings. He rules over not only the political nations of the world, but also all of heaven and earth. He rules over the evil forces and principalities of the heavens. No, Jesus has come to reveal his Kingship to the people, setting them free from everything that stands in opposition to the Kingdom of God, reestablishing God’s reign on the earth because he himself is the King.