The long pause

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Ask the Spirit to speak into whatever situations you’re facing today through today’s Scripture.

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Bible passage: Luke 4:14–21

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
 14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

 16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
 18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
      because he has anointed me
      to preach good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
      and recovery of sight for the blind,
   to release the oppressed,
    19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

 20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


Uncontainable influence
We see once again (as in yesterday’s reading) the convergence of Spirit and Scripture. It is the Spirit who anoints Jesus for mission (v 18a); it is the Scriptures that spell out what this mission entails (vs 18,19). ‘And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man’ (Luke 2:52). This commentary on Jesus’ ‘hidden years’ is also true of the early part of his public ministry. Awareness of Jesus is widespread (v 14b); he gains acceptance (v 15a), wins approval (v 15b), invites attention (v 16b), and arouses interest (v 20b). ‘… in the power of the Spirit’ (v 14), Jesus exercised an uncontainable influence.

A long pause
This first coming of Jesus heralds ‘the year of the Lord’s favour’ (v 19; Isaiah 61:2a) – a very long pause before ‘the day of vengeance of our God’ (Isaiah 61:2b) – which is the final judgement that will accompany Jesus’ second coming, the ‘other side’ of the coin of salvation.

Eternal implications
We don’t have the sum total of Jesus’ sermon, but the brief comment that Luke records represents a staggering claim: ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’ (v 21b). Jesus didn’t merely preach deliverance; he himself is our deliverance. Our response to Jesus now, during this long pause, has eternal implications.

Tanya Ferdinandusz


Spirit of the Sovereign Lord, for what work, for what tasks, have you anointed me today?

Deeper Bible study

The Spirit came on Jesus at his baptism (Luke 3:22), empowering him to undertake his new and difficult path. The Spirit then sent him to the desert (Luke 4:1), to learn how, in the power of that same Spirit, he could summon the inner resolve to overcome the temptation to deviate from that path. Now the Spirit empowers him for his ministry of teaching and healing (v 14). Luke’s research had no doubt provided a range of incidents from the opening of Jesus’ ministry; this one, in the Nazareth synagogue, clearly suited him well, with its emphasis on both Spirit and Scripture and its depiction, so early in Jesus’ ministry, of the differing ways in which people would respond.

Faithful as always to the discipline and rhythms of the old covenant, Jesus went to the synagogue ‘as was his custom’ (v 16). Jewish synagogue worship at that time began with the Shema prayer from the Torah: ‘Hear O Israel …’ (eg Deut 6:4), followed by the Ten Commandments, the eighteen benedictions, the readings, the psalms, the sermon and the blessing. By the first century, the three-year cycle of Torah readings was set, but readings from the prophets were probably not. While Jesus could have timed himself to be there for the Isaiah reading, it is more likely that he chose it himself.

Jesus the Messiah knew now that he was the bodily fulfilment of Isaiah’s anointed one. By using the Greek text rather than Hebrew,1 Luke arranged the Isaiah reading to emphasise the active verbs – to bring good news, to liberate and to proclaim. These actions will mark the whole of Jesus’ ministry. He will not flinch, though they lead to his death. They will also define the missionary vision of the early church, which also did not flinch, despite the martyrdom of thousands. These same actions must dominate our witness today.

1 Isa 61:1,2, Septuagint

John Harris

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

Genesis 34–36

Matthew 13


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Jesus is Lord
Stuart Townend and Keith Getty
Copyright © 2003 Thankyou Music/Adm by songs
Buy this and other great worship songs at

Martin Smith/Stuart Garrard
Copyright © 1999 Curious? Music UK
Buy this and other great worship songs at

  • Oakley Bookworm | Wednesday, 16 January 2019

    HYMN (GOD'S SPIRIT IS WITHIN MY HEART) He sent me to give the Good News to the poor, Tell prisoners that they are prisoners no more. Tell blind people that they can see and set the downtrodden free. And go tell everyone that the Kingdom of God has come. And go tell everyone the Good News that God's Kingdom has come. - Alan Dale WORDS & MUSIC

  • Rachael Hampton | Wednesday, 16 January 2019

    Haven’t sung that one for a long time Oakley. Very appropriate, thank you. Must have been joyful reunions with families and friends that day in Nazareth, maybe going off to synagogue together as they had done countless times. I wonder what they were expecting .... Makes me wonder when, or if, Jesus became a Rabbi officially, or whether it was used of Him as just a title, meaning Teacher. I’m sure Babara will know! Clearly at 12 He was the best of the best of the best rabbinic scholar. But we are not told whose dust He walked in ..... Andrew W, that is indeed a powerful strategy to manage our thoughts, which are a prime target for satan. David C, that verse caught my attention too. My understanding is that God gave Adam authority over the earth, but he forfeited it to Satan when he doubted God’s goodness toward him, and disobeyed the command given to protect him. In Matthew 16:28,as Jesus says goodbye and commissions His disciples He says ‘All authority has been given to me.’ Satan still has power to inflict harm and suffering, but he no longer has authority over us - unless we give it to him. And that’s good news as well! The authority that Jesus claimed on that day was won for us on the cross, and is now ours. Woo hoo!!

  • Rachael Hampton | Wednesday, 16 January 2019

    Found what I was looking for: in John 14:30 Jesus calls satan ‘the prince of this world’ and in 16:33 He declares (by faith?) that He has overcome the world.

  • Rosemary Fairweather | Thursday, 17 January 2019

    I just looked up the eighteen benedictions which are very beautiful. Another source explains how the Lord's prayer encapsulates these and why it is such a perfect prayer worthy of saying slowly and reflectively to gather our thoughts during prayer time or when it feels hard to pray. I learn so much from WL and the comments. Thank you John and Tanya . I hope Barbara, with her knowledge of things Jewish, will comment today.

  • Jack Russell | Thursday, 17 January 2019

    All going well for Jesus here with people praising him. What must it have been like to be part of that? Amazing stuff! Yet we know what's coming when he talks of a prophet being without honour among his own people. He's not afraid to say both what is pleasing to people and what people take offence to in truth and love. Have you ever known either? Of being praised by people or have taken the courage and forbearance to risk speaking out in truth and love in a way that almost inevitably people won't like and face the consequences?

  • Angela Munday | Thursday, 17 January 2019

    You require a strength and courage that is given us by God in order to bring changes into being; they need to come with a sensitivity that encourages others to accept the new. Jesus knows He is going to turn things ‘upside down’ and is prepared for all that will result from this.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 17 January 2019

    The OT prophesied the coming Messiah being anointed and this was fulfilled at Jesus’ baptism and He made reference to it here in v18. Jesus had no sin and no limitations in the sense that we do, and yet He didn’t begin His ministry until He was anointed, or empowered, by Holy Spirit. Even the Godhead doesn’t work independently of each other; they are totally dependent upon each other. This indicates how much more we must be dependent upon the power that we receive after Holy Spirit is come upon us. To spend time in His presence, to sit at His feet where His love surrounds us and makes us complete. This is our desire Oh Lord, this is our desire.

  • Roger Hall | Thursday, 17 January 2019

    Rosemary, I was very interested in your comment about the Lord's Prayer.. During turmoil of the last few days as despair as to what will happen in Gt Britain, I have found that using the words "Thy Will be done." are very helpful after what we've seen in the papers and heard on the radio. It is stating the obvious! however, as you say, saying the whole prayer, slowly and sincerely is very helpfully personally. By doing so, I realise that I've got a whole lot of forgiving to do!

  • Eileen Smith | Thursday, 17 January 2019

    Rosemary & Roger, I normally use the Lord’s Prayer as my outline guide for prayer each morning. Oakley- thank you, likev Rachel I haven’t sung that hymn for many years & it brought back happy memories of a Roman Catholic primary school i taught in - it was in a village & closely linked with the church - lovely to be able to talk,so freely about Christianity. I pray for Christian teachers

  • Barbara Sabin | Thursday, 17 January 2019

    Good morning friends I didn't post yesterday as I am not well at present have a chest infection which has been lingering on for a month and yesterday I did not feel good. Today I have spoken with my Dr who wants to see me this afternoon so hopefully some medication will help. Please remember me in your prayers as Dr remarked that my age was against me. I am nearly 79. God knows about me and I trust he will put the sparkle back in my eyes Psalm 13 v 3. I have copied this from the Messianic Bible it always refers to Jesus as Yeshua so I have changed that for us. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17) It is quite often said that Jesus had little appreciation for Judaism’s oral laws. But a great many Jewish people recognized Jesus as being a holy man, an observant Jew. In fact, many called Him Rabbi, which at the time meant Master or Teacher of the law, both oral and written. Rabbi Jesus, likewise, told the crowds and His disciples that the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. In saying this, He recognized their official right to make rulings and judgments according to Scripture and the oral tradition. The first synagogue Jesus entered after His mikvah (baptism) by John was in His hometown of Nazareth on Shabbat. He used the custom of the liturgical reading to declare that He is the fulfillment of what Isaiah wrote (61:1–3):Most people don’t realize that Jesus was born into a traditional Jewish family that followed the Jewish laws and traditions of His day. He was circumcised and presented at the Temple for the purification ritual. Throughout His life, He dressed as a Jew, remember the woman with the issue of blood touched the fringes on His garment which are what a Rabbi wears. He prayed as a Jew, and lived as a Jew. This is reflected in the New Covenant writings. “When the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” (Galatians 4:4; see also Isaiah 7:14; Luke 2:21–52) This Scripture is Jesus' Mission Statement. Lovely song/hymn OAKLEY it is our Mission Statement too.

  • David Chipchase | Thursday, 17 January 2019

    Eileen, keep on praying for Christian teachers. My last big school, which was secular, had a staff of 100+. Only the chaplain and I were the voice of Christianity in that school. It would have been encouraging to have more verbal compatriots.

  • Lynda Spencer | Thursday, 17 January 2019

    Yes indeed! We cannot pray too much for Christian teachers and members of staff. Our local primary school, where we take assemblies regularly, has a Christian Teaching Assistant - a lone voice. Our two sons and daughters-in-law and two of our nieces are all teachers, and believers, in secular schools. Pray for Christian governors too, like THELMA, who have some opportunities to witness and affect practice in their schools. God bless the prayer warriors!

  • Lynda Spencer | Thursday, 17 January 2019

    BARBARA, I do hope and pray you feel better soon. These winter bugs are persistent and debilitating.

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