Seeing that many others have undertaken to draw up accounts of the events that have taken place among us, exactly as these were handed down to us by those who from the outset were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, I in my turn, after carefully going over the whole story from the beginning, have decided to write an ordered account for you, Theophilus, so that your Excellency may learn how well founded the teaching is that you have received.
Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him.
He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll he found the place where it is written:
The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for he has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives
and to the blind new sight,
to set the downtrodden free,
to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.
He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’
Gospel for 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke undertakes to give an ordered, a reasonable and understandable account of Jesus and his work.
And – after his account of the conception and birth, and setting them in contex, and after the account of the Baptism and the immediate consequence of that – Luke continues with a rather strange and startling account of what happened in Nazara.
The Lectionary text is somewhat odd, I think – but it is more or less forced on us because the editors want to to give as much of Luke as they can and because they do not want to repeat on a Sunday texts that find a more fitting place on other Sundays or seasons. So we leap in today’s reading from the introduction to the start of the Nazara episode (which concludes in next week’s reading).
Jesus sets out for Nazara his self-understanding, and reminds of what God longs for. It is a vocation for all who seek covenant with the one true God.
The message is set before the world by Isaiah; fulfilled in his person by Jesus. It continues to represent a challenge to Jews and Christians who wish to live in covenant with God. A challenge, and an opportunity to live lovingly.