This text contains the first public appearance of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. This occurs in a synagogue in which Jesus announces the coming of the
The Spirit plays an important role in the Gospel of Luke and so at the beginning of his public ministry Jesus is led by the Spirit and begins teaching in the synagogues and wins the approval of all people.
In the synagogue of
Jesus’ first words after the reading are electric. He announces that the centuries of waiting on God’s blessing have ended: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” The words from Isaiah spoke of an anointing by the Spirit, the work of a prophet, and dramatic signs of God’s redemption. The townspeople had heard reports of Jesus’ teaching elsewhere and might reasonably have expected that if he was a prophet endowed by the Spirit of God he would favor his hometown with his mightiest works. Thus they would share in the fame of the prophet from Nazareth so that no longer would anyone be able to say (however wrongly) that there were no prophets from Galilee (John 7:52). In short, they heard Jesus’ declaration of fulfillment as a promise of special favor for his own people and his “hometown”
As confirmation of the crowd’s initial enthusiasm for Jesus’ announcement, Luke reports that they bore witness to him and marveled at the “gracious words” he spoke. Luke is depicting a positive response to Jesus based on the content of Jesus’ proclamation. If the people find him eloquent it is because they are pleased by what he has said.
By placing this text at the beginning of his Gospel Luke makes clear what the Mission of Jesus will be about not only throughout the Gospel, but even after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The summary of the