We are studying Luke 4:14-22, Jesus’s announcement of his mission, for Sunday, January 3. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are some questions we might want to consider or discuss:
In v14, Luke specifically tells us that Jesus is “filled with the power of the Spirit.” The similar idea of the Spirit of God being “upon” him repeats in v18, in the quotation from Isaiah. What is the significance of Jesus’s Spirit-filled state, do we think? Why do we think it is important to mention?
Is Jesus’s being “filled with the power of the Spirit” related to the report that spreads around the region, or to his “teaching in their synagogues,” do we think? How? Why do we think this?
Does it seem important that Jesus begins his ministry by teaching in the Galilean synagogues? What is important about that? Does it tell us anything? What?
We might be able to call Jesus’s reading from Isaiah as a “mission statement.” If we look at each of the elements of that statement (“good news to the poor,” “release to the captives,” etc.) what impression do we get of this mission? That is, what does Jesus seem to be saying he will do or is doing?
Who do we think fits into these categories of people (that is, “the poor,” “captives,” etc.) these days? What would “good news,” “release,” etc. mean for these people these days?
[More personal] Do we ourselves fit any of these categories (that is, “the poor,” “captives,” “blind,” etc.) in any way? What way? Is there any result we ourselves hope for concretely when we hear this statement of Jesus’s mission? What is that?
[More personal] Do we, ourselves, have the sense of this scripture having been fulfilled? How or in what way(s)?
How is Jesus’s mission related to the mission of the church today? To the mission of individual Christians? What makes us say this?
[More personal] How do we see ourselves or our congregation participating in this mission? What thoughts or feelings do we have about that?
We might want to give some thought to this: what do we think Jesus has in mind in v23 when he says his audience will say “Physician, heal thyself”? How would that proverb be related to what he has just said? What light does that shed on the meaning of this text?
Overall, we might want to consider what it means to us that Jesus fulfills the prophetic text of Isaiah 61:1-2, what it means for Christians that Jesus articulated this as his mission, and what this mission might look like concretely in our own time.