For those who have eyes to see
I. SETTING the STAGE for the text. (3:23-4:15)
A. A GENEALOGY, and a TEST. (3:23-4:13)
B. LOCAL boy becomes FAMOUS. (v.14-15)
We’ve followed Luke’s telling of the story through Advent, and we’ve seen his focus on the fact that God comes to all people, even those we might think are the outcasts and lower class in the world. The theme continues today, as Jesus heads home and begins to challenge the status quo at the synagogue.
1. Kid’s Question: When have you met someone famous? What was that like?
II. A Biblical FOUNDATION for His MISSION. (v.16-19)
A. The CLAIM of MESSIAHSHIP. (v.18)
B. GOOD NEWS and FREEDOM. (v.18-19)
C. One more CENTRAL IDEA. (v.18)
Jesus is handed the scroll of Isaiah, and opens it to chapter 62, to express the Biblical foundation of his calling. Every eye is fastened on Jesus as He sits down to teach on this passage, and while they like what He says, the longer He talks the more it upsets the hometown crowd.
2. Try to place yourself in the audience that day in the Nazareth Synagogue? What would have been your reaction to Jesus’ words? Why would you have reacted that way?
3. Poor, captive, or blind? Which one do you most identify with and why? What does the gospel say to you in that situation?
III. OPENING of blinded EYES. (v.18-30)
A. SEEING clearly makes it PERSONAL. (v.22-24)
B. SOMETIMES seeing is PAINFUL. (v.23-27)
C. BLINDNESS brings a false sense of CONTROL. (v.22,28-29)
The message moves from a generic quotation of the prophets writing to something that hits home right there in Nazareth. This is not some travelling preacher, this is God come in the flesh. God will lead them, not be their hometown hero, and for many of them this is more truth that they want.
4. When have you experienced the truth hitting home in a painfully personal way? What did you learn/change through that experience?
5. Are there truths about Jesus that you would find easier (at least for the moment) to avoid? What are those and why?
IV. SEEING the truth clearly TODAY. (Heb. 4:12)
A. When the truth OUT THERE hits HOME. (v.22-30; Acts 2:37)
B. NOTICING the rise of EMOTION. (v.28; Mt. 12:34)
C. RESISTING the urge to CONTROL. (v.22,29; Gen. 3:5-6)
D. From painful SURRENDER to healing FREEDOM. (v.18-19; James 1:2-4;Mal. 3:3)
The challenging call is to let the truth that Jesus brings penetrate deep into our own lives, not matter of what consequences come along with it. The truth will set us free, although the journey of letting go of the falsehoods we built our lives on may be a painful process.
6. Think of an experience where you felt a strong emotion recently. What might God be saying to you through that experience? Share the story with someone you trust and have them help you process it.
7. In what areas do you struggle with trying too hard to control in your own life? How can you take proactive steps to surrender in those situations?
8. Have you ever had a painful moment of surrender to God? What was the result?