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    The ARC of His Story | Part 2: Isn’t This Joseph’s Son?

    July 3, 2020

July 3, 2020

The ARC of His Story | Part 2: Isn’t This Joseph’s Son?

We’re going to begin Jesus’ ARC with looking at His Announcement.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him.

Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then 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. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. (Luke 4:14-31, CSB)

We’re in Nazareth; a small town of maybe 400 people at the time. Jesus had spent His entire childhood here. He was known as Jesus of Nazareth, and that wasn’t really a compliment because Nazareth was a little no-nothing town, nestled in the hills below the sea of Galilee.

Jesus has gone out and has had some acclaim, some attention, the applause of many, and now He’s coming back home! There’s a sense of anticipation. Have you ever thought about that? Jesus had next-door neighbors.

Here’s a little story to help us visualize what that might have been like.

“The return of the local-boy-made-good is not always the triumph that legend has it. Early 1900’s James Lewis Kraft was a clerk in Ferguson’s general store at Fort Erie, Ontario, near Buffalo. Born on a farm nearby, Kraft. He was a good clerk, appreciated by his employer, and made good money.

A neighboring storekeeper, a man named Land, remembered him well. Many years later, when Kraft revisited the Land store on a trip home, the elderly proprietor recognized him right away. As a matter of fact, Mr. Land remembered him very well, and called him by his middle name Lewis. Actually, he didn’t use the more formal version of “Lewis”; he had shortened it to “Lew.”

A lot had happened since they had last seen each other. James Lewis Kraft had founded the Kraft Cheese Company in Chicago. The company’s products had reached almost every grocery store in the U.S.A. and Canada as well.

Millions of dollars in advertising had etched the Kraft name into public consciousness, and James Kraft had every expectation that his old friend, Mr. Land would have known this.

But Land merely said, “Why, hello, Lew. Haven’t seen you for years. You still clerkin’ up at Ferguson’s?” (Bits & Pieces, July 21, 1994, pp. 19-21)

I wonder if Jesus returned to Nazareth and had a little bit of the disappointment James Lewis Kraft experienced in that moment.

Jesus announces that the prophet Isaiah had prophesied about Him. He says, “Today in your presence, this prophecy is being fulfilled.” This is a hinge moment. Things change. They were amazed at what He said, but then they thought, “Wait a minute. Isn’t this just our neighbor’s kid?”

Kevin Wax

Kevin is a Pastor at Blackman Baptist Church.