Fall colors

Bit by Bit Biblical Poems

October 31, 2023
The passage from Isaiah that Jesus read in Nazareth summarized the essence of his faith. Because Luke shared the story of Jesus' mission of good news to the poor and the release of those captive and oppressed, Luke spread the social teachings of Jesus into nascent Christianity. New England fall colors suggest hearts aflame with faith.

Jesus preaches his summary of faith.

Luke 4:14-21

 Prose Introduction

 Verses 14-16 are a prose introduction.

14 Then Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding region. 15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

Embedded Poem

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
        to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to set free those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Prose Conclusion

Verses 21-22 are a prose conclusion.

20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus had editorial skills or the good fortune of the attendant selecting the passage from Isaiah that summarized the essence of his faith.  He was not well-received in Nazareth his home town. Lack of regard in Nazareth is confusing because poor peasants, who would welcome Jesus’ caring, lived in this village. Perhaps wealthier men were in charge. (Deduction is based on reading Acts of Empire, Second Edition: The Acts of the Apostles and Imperial Ideology by Christina Petterson, Cascade Books an imprint of Wipf and Stock, 2020.)

Luke makes it clear that Jesus is a true prophet like Isaiah.  In her book, Rejected Prophets, Jocelyn McWhirter, chair of the religious studies department at Albion College states: “This prophecy states everything Luke wants to convey about Jesus’ mission. The Holy Spirit rests on Jesus.”  God has anointed Jesus with a mission to those in need.

Thoughts for you to prayerfully ponder:

Do you have a mission? Please be kind to yourself if just getting through the day is enough. Some people will identify with Jesus’ mission. Others might feel oppressed by various circumstances. In either case, “accept the fact that you are accepted” as the theologian Paul Tillich maintained.

Thinking of you as you discern your callings or cast your cares upon Jesus or the Universe,



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For new readers:

My goal is to present information about biblical poetry in short, readable pieces. The motto is “Bit by bit, insights lit.” Blogs will generally be 200 words or less; not counting the biblical quotation. The plan is to send 2 blogs per month for a total of 10-12 essays.