Jesus declared that He is the promised Messiah and predicted that like the prophets, He too would be rejected by the people.
Day 1: Read Isaiah 61:1-7
Unlike political leaders, the Messiah alone could speak into existence the idyllic dynamics of the new creation (vv. 1-3). Nonetheless, the Messiah graciously opts to use His people as instruments to bring about blessing and redemption to the world (vv. 4-7). The messianic community thus serves as a team of emissaries and ambassadors for the Lord’s Anointed, announcing His gospel and serving others in the hope of seeing lives transformed through repentance and faith in the Messiah.
God’s people were always meant to live as a royal priesthood and holy nation that mediates knowledge of His grace to the world around it (Ex. 19:5-6; 1 Pet. 2:9). As followers of Jesus, we are indwelt with the same Spirit who anointed Jesus and are charged to proclaim the same good news that He provided through His life, death, and resurrection.
How does reading Isaiah’s description of the Messiah and His mission deepen your hope for the future Jesus has purchased for His people?
Day 2: Read Isaiah 61:8-11
Every human being has an innate sense of justice, that our actions matter and that good should be rewarded and evil punished. However, this innate sense and perceived entitlement to justice does not in itself guarantee the actuality of justice. In other words, the mere desire for justice does not necessarily mean that we will see it carried out. Yet we as God’s people can have confidence that in the end we will truly see justice for all. Why? Because of the immutable character of God and His unwavering promises.
After promising to bring about restoration and redemption through His anointed Servant in verses 1-7, Isaiah 61 then puts forward the assured grounding of these promises: “For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them” (v. 8). God made creation and made it good, and in the end, it will be good. He will settle for nothing less.
How can people’s undeniable desire for justice aid our efforts in evangelism and apologetics?
Day 3: Read Luke 4:16-22
It’s called “the mic drop.” The phrase refers to when a speaker makes such a strong and compelling statement that it requires a prolonged pause or stage exit for full effect. Dropping the mic, whether physically or figuratively, adds a dramatic ending to bold and shocking words. In the synagogue of His hometown, however, Jesus did not end but rather began a worship gathering with nothing short of a mic drop (or perhaps more accurately, a “scroll roll”).
Imagine how presumptuous, pretentious, and potentially blasphemous Jesus’ claim in verse 21 must have sounded to the folks with whom He grew up. Yet as Luke records, initially this claim alone was not enough to raise their ire, which is a reaction we will see in verses 28-30. Regardless of people’s attitudes, Jesus nonetheless proceeded to “drop the mic” in applying Isaiah’s messianic prophecy to Himself: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (v. 21).
How can we avoid committing superficial “mic drops” when it comes to speaking to people about the gospel and its serious implications for their lives?
Day 4: Read Luke 4:23-27
After Jesus’ apparent “mic drop,” the people’s confused and perhaps antagonistic response led Him wisely to point out the basis for their resistance. Jesus was not taken aback at all. Indeed, He proceeded to force the issue by citing two examples from redemptive history when Israel previously rejected its own prophets, Elijah and Elisha.
Because of Israel’s failure to recognize God’s truthful messenger at a given time, God has acted to extend His grace elsewhere, such as in the cases of the widow at Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian. Those of Israelite descent cannot, in other words, presume upon God’s grace; they are not entitled to it by birth or culture. They must receive God’s message with attentive, repentant ears. Likewise, we who constitute the Christian church today should not presume anything either. We must be careful to heed God’s Word whenever it is being proclaimed truthfully, regardless of the messenger.
What are some illegitimate reasons that sometimes make you hesitant to respond in faith and obedience to God’s Word?
Day 5: Read Luke 4:28-31
It takes a village to raise a child. And apparently it takes the same village to carry out a would-be public execution of this same child once He is grown. Despite knowing what their unbelief would lead them to do (see Luke 5:22; 6:8; 9:47; 11:17), Jesus did not hold back in His pronouncements about His messianic identity. Jesus entrusted Himself to the Father’s plan, recognizing that He would not die until the appointed time (22:53; John 7:30). In verse 30, we even see God’s supernatural preservation of Jesus’ earthly life.
We then can observe Jesus’ steadfast trust in the Father evidenced further in verse 31, which mentions almost casually how He continued onward in His ministry. Though none of us are the Messiah, we too can trust in God to complete His plans knowing that no harm will come to us unless He permits it (Luke 12:4-7).
How does this passage speak to your biggest fears about telling others that Jesus is the only true Messiah and Savior?