December 06, 2010

Why Jesus Came

Isaiah 61:1-3

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Luke 4:21


Imagine what you would think if someone you had grown up with came to your town and claimed he was there to fulfill an ancient prophecy. Of course you would dismiss him; the notion is outrageous. But that’s what happened in Nazareth. Jesus, the son of a local carpenter, came and announced one Sabbath day that he was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 61.

He claimed to be the Messiah when he said, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” It seemed outrageous—even blasphemous, because he claimed to be God (which was true). No ordinary human being had the right to make that kind of claim. No wonder the elders of his town were so upset that they were ready to put him to death! (See Luke 4:28-30.)

But the people of Nazareth needed to hear the good news that God had sent his Son to be their Savior. They needed to know that the unbelievable had happened: that the divine Word was willing to take on a human body to set them free from sin.

Jesus had indeed come to fulfill the good news Isaiah had predicted 700 years earlier. And when they refused to believe, Jesus went out to begin his public ministry to show by word and deed why he had come.

Father in heaven, thank you for your Word. Give us ears to hear what you have told us, and give us the grace to believe that your Word is true. Help us to stand in awe as we listen. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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