Sometimes, I wish I could preach like Jesus. Of course, he had that whole divinity thing going for him, and he is the Word that God spoke in creation, but still, I wish I had his depth of insight. I wish I could so easily make the points that I hope to make. His ability to spin a parable is much to be envied, but more to the point for this post is his brevity. With just a few words, a single sentence, Jesus could turn the whole world on it head.
Take this Sunday’s Gospel lesson, for example. Having been handed the scroll from Isaiah, Jesus reads, according to Luke, a conflation of Isaiah 58:6 and 61:1-2, both part of Third Isaiah’s Servant Song. He rolls the scroll back up, hands it to the attendant, and begins to preach. Except the beginning of his sermon is also his three points, poem, and conclusion; all wrapped up in one tidy package.
“Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Before the healing of Peter’s Mother-in-Law. Before his confrontations with the Sadducees, Scribes, and Pharisees. Before he raises Lazarus from the dead. Before his Triumphal Entry. Before his Last Supper. Before his death. Before his resurrection. Before… well, just about everything Jesus does in his three years of ministry. Before it all,
The Good News is fulfilled.
It may seem like I harp on this subject here on this blog and in my sermons, but I’m once again struck by the realization that the Kingdom of God is ALREADY here. We need not wait for death and our entrance through the pearly gates. We need not wait for Jesus’ Second Coming. No, we need not wait for anything because the Kingdom of God has been inaugurated in the Word made Flesh who dwelt among us. If we truly believe this sermon from Jesus, then it profoundly impacts the ways in which we live as disciples. We live not for tomorrow or the great beyond, but instead take seriously the challenge “to bring good news to the poor… to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”