We are in the middle of a sermon series called “The Mission of Jesus in the World.” We’ve read and heard from Amy about Jesus’ baptism and how his mission was revealed (Mat. 3:13-17). Then Jed preached on the passage of scripture about the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11) and how his mission is fully received. There were those who were with Jesus, when he was baptized, who could be considered part of his “inner circle.” Then comes his first miracle at the wedding, where he turns water into wine. There was a sense of excitement and joy at what was happening and people wanted to be a part of it.
The key to understanding this whole series is Kolby’s sermon from last week which was based on the story of Jesus going to the synagogue in Nazareth, his hometown, and reading a passage from Isaiah 61 (Luke 4: 14-20). The people in attendance were probably those who watched Jesus grow up. They knew him and his family well. I imagine many in his community had some very interesting stories about Jesus. No doubt there was a sense of anticipation as he got up, unrolled the scroll and began to read Isaiah’s words. As Kolby shared, it was Jewish tradition that a member from the community would read from the scroll and then provide a commentary. They would have been familiar with this particular passage. They would have known that that this passage held great prophetic significance.
But where was this going and what was he going to say?
Jesus chose this passage because he was trying to connect all the fame that has come from his baptism, teaching and miracles, to an authority that the community would have been familiar with – Isaiah, one of the greatest prophets.
This passage also tells exactly who Jesus is and describes the mission he will fulfill. The scripture says, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Isaiah 61:1-2). The beginning of the passage reveals what we have talked about these past two weeks at Restoration:
The Spirit of the Lord literally descends upon Jesus at his baptism.
The Wedding at Cana shows that Jesus came to bring good news – his mission was one of hope and joy.
The reading of the Isaiah passage in the synagogue makes clear that the mission of Jesus was one of bringing righteousness and restoration to the brokenness of all humanity and all of creation. Jesus’ mission is realized when he says, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).
So, what does this all mean for his followers, for you and me?
I don’t know about you, but I want to be in the “inner circle.” I want to join the mission of Jesus, but this means walking alongside him in all that I say and do – not an easy task. As we finish this series and look toward the beginning of Lent I encourage you to look closely at the mission of Jesus in the scriptures and then listen carefully for how he is inviting you to join him today.
I leave you with the Sunday collect Kolby read taken from the Book of Common Prayer:
May almighty God give you grace to answer the call of our savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the good news of his salvation, that you and indeed the whole world may perceive – may fully realize – the glory of his marvelous works, not just the hype, but the mission to bring righteousness and restoration to all things. Amen.
Listen to Kolby’s message on the sermon page of the Restoration website.