Jesus was in trouble. People were mad at him.
He had been healing people all around the region, an area about twice the size of Allen County. And then he returned to his hometown of Nazareth, a village about the size of Ashley or Hudson, maybe 400-600 people.
Most people in the community synagogue knew him or knew about him. They had seen him grow up, had talked with him about repair projects around their shops and tiny houses.
Eventually, he left the town. He traveled. We don’t know how long. We don’t know how the time between his visit to the temple when he was 12 and his visit to John the Baptist to be baptized actually breaks down. And apparently it doesn’t matter that we know. At least not to God.
So, Jesus has been away from Nazareth for at least months, and maybe more. On his travels around Galile, he taught and healed and blessed. Even as close at Cana, about six miles away, he had changed water into wine at a wedding.
His reputation was growing around the region. And then he came to Nazareth.
He went to the synagogue, as was his custom.
He read, as was his custom.
He sat down in the seat of the teacher, which may have been his custom.
And he started to talk.
He had read from the prophet Isaiah, THE prophet for the Israelites. Isaiah was the prophet of encouragement, of victory, of loss and recovery. He was the prophet of promises of God’s blessing for his beloved people.
Jesus read one of those passages. It talked about good news being taken to those who were suffering and struggling.
“This has come true today,” he says.
That was a tricky thing to say, actually, for the people who were listening closely. It meant that they were prisoners, they were suffering and struggling. On a good day, that’s not a good thing to hear. If I tell you, for example, that God is with those about to have an awful day and then I say, “God is with you”, you may think, “Yea God”, but you may also think, “I’m about to have an awful day.”
At first, the people there said, “He speaks well.” It’s the kind of thing that you say about someone you know before you start to think about what they’ve actually said. That little kid you watched grow up and you say, “My, haven’t they grown” and then you say, “Wait. They are scolding me?”
And you start to get defensive. “I knew you, I knew your mom and your dad. You are just one of us. What gives you the right to say anything about us?”
Jesus was in trouble.