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Let the Oppressed Go Free…
“He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives to let the oppressed go free” (Luke 4:18). When Jesus rises and selects this reading from Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth, his listeners are impressed, indeed moved by the way he reads it. We can assume that it was like they were hearing those words for the first time, or in a way that they had never heard them before. They could not take their eyes off of him. Then they hear him say: “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in our hearing” (verse 21). At first they all look at him with amazement and speak of him with admiration. But then their eyes fall away, they come back “down to earth” and they can only see him as the “son of Joseph” the carpenter. They cannot accept that “someone of such common stock” could fulfill what the prophet Isaiah had written in that scripture. Like so many today, they wanted proof. They wanted him to do in Nazareth, his native town, what they had heard he had done in Capernaum. Jesus tells them, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place” (verse 24). At this they became furious at this “upstart.” O, how quickly the human mind changes. One moment they are thinking of him with great admiration, the next, they want to throw him down the brow of the hill that Nazareth is built on. Are we any different? How many “prophets,” good men and women of God who grew up with us, were just like us, but suddenly started challenging us with their obvious goodness, or made us see our sinfulness and tried to call us out of it, have we told to “get lost”? This message that…