Toorak Uniting Church

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Formed by the Word

Luke 4: 14 – 21
Rev. Ian Brown
21 January 2001


Gracious God, we thank you for all those prophets, scribes, teachers and preachers through the ages who have proclaimed, nurtured and explained your Word.
We thank you that people of faith still gather to expose themselves to the truth of the Word made flesh amongst us. Into our silence, a word has been spoken, into our darkness a light has come.
Lord, continue to enlighten us through your Word. Overcome our resistance to hear, and change, so that we may be a part of your Good News to the world. Amen.

Jesus returns home - where has he been?

Out on a wilderness adventure with some very questionable company. This episode follows the story of Jesus temptations.

The Spirit was with Jesus and he went about teaching in the Synagogues. The tour was all going well - everybody praised him, Luke tells us, but when he gets back to hometown Nazareth, the text he chooses is a radical manifesto of God’s promised order;

"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 let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Then Jesus sits down and with all eyes fixed on him says that now, this word is being fulfilled.

In the beginning of Jesus ministry is the word.

The good news of new hope and new life come to a world in need and this begins Jesus preaching.

Just as in the beginning of Genesis we hear "In the beginning

God created the world. And God said, let there be light.

The word is spoken and the world begins.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

The Word is creative and formative and the church has always gathered around the word, created and formed by it.

If you watch a child of three or four having a picture book read to them, the page is turned and Mum says "That’s a Zebra, Zebra". Next time that page is turned, the child says "Zebra!" Something has been added to the child’s world through the power of the word. In Genesis, after God has spoken the world into being, God invites Adam into the creative, forming process to name the animals - they are not complete without words!

In Nazareth, where they knew who Jesus was, it was harder for them to accept the reality of the Word that offered so much. The preacher they knew and the words too. Familiar words from Isaiah, but Jesus claims these words as a reality, creative words, words that form the shape of God’s new reign, the only problem with these words was that they were coming to life.

In a profound way this is the definition of the Christian church - a place where the Word come to life, a word that brings life, words that are not just good news on paper, but good news coming to life. By God’s grace, may it be so in us. Amen.

© Rev. Ian Brown, 2000

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