Third Sunday After Epiphany
Here is part of Pastor Joan’s sermon for today”
“ Back when I went to Bible Camp we used to gather round the campfire in the evening and sing what we called Bible Camp songs. As I read these words in today’s gospel I thought of one of those choruses.:
“And the eyes of all those who were in the synagogue were fastened on Him.”
We used to sing “ Turn your eyes upon Jesus”
I found the chorus on U-tube and I will share it with you this morning through the magic of power point.
That morning in the Synagogue people turned their eyes to Jesus . They looked intently at Him. He had just read a Scripture about the Messiah and then all but said that he was the fulfillment of that text. One has to wonder what those people saw when they turned their eyes upon Jesus. Some , I’m sure, saw the Messiah , some saw a hint of God breaking into this world and some saw a man who they did not understand and had just said something weird. That look would bring some into the early Church as it came into existence after the Resurrection. But some walked away and forgot they ever saw Him.
Every Sunday I call on you to look into the face of Jesus. Some of you looked and you saw God. You were set free from the oppression of guilt and sin. You were able to see God’s love for you and the old blindness dropped away. Your life was changed forever.
Some of you will yet have that experience because God doesn’t give up on us.
But a few will walk away and forget you ever saw Him. Others will be bothered enough to deny that He is God. You will convince yourself and as many others as you can that it is all nonsense and there is no God. The Good News is God will keep loving you and reaching out to you.
Today is a great day for you to:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
In the liturgical churches following the Common Lectionsary today is celebrated as the Thrird Sunday after the Epiphany. The Gospel for the day is Luke 4:14-21
Luke 4:14-24 (New International Version)
14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."[a]
20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
There were no poor that had good news preached to them that Sabbath, no prisoners set free, no blind people given sight, and nobody was released from oppression but Jesus says to the congregation “ Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ How could that be.
The scripture is not about the events described but about the one who would be sent to do them, the Messiah. In effect Jesus is saying I am the Messiah. He is the anointed one promised by Isaiah.
The congregation had to decide if he was or wasn’t.
We have to decide in our own life if he is our Messiah.
He would set us free from the oppression of guilt and shame.
He would lift the blindness tat keeps us from seeing God.
He will if we let Him be our Messiah.
Give it some thought.