The Story: The Beginning of the End

H-Icon_Ch16_Quill“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.” – Luke 4:16-21

This Week’s Scripture References:  2 Kings 17-19, Isaiah 3, 6, 13-14, 49, 53

Out of love for God and God’s people prophets deliver messages that the people often don’t want to hear.  It’s challenging to hear a message even if it’s in our own best interest.  The prophets share a message of judgement by urging God’s people to change their ways.  Prophets share a message of social justice as they direct messages to people in power to use their influence for necessary change.  Prophets share a message of care and concern for the least and those most vulnerable to injustice: poor, widows, children, strangers.  We are reminded that God’s ways are not about power but about care and compassion for others.

“When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.” – Deuteronomy 24:21-22

Prophets have the gift of interpreting what’s going on today and how that projects to the future.  Isaiah warned that continued neglect of the poor and turning from those in need would tear at the fabric that holds God’s people together. Isaiah warned that Israel would no longer be a strong nation.  Isaiah reminded the people how important it was to follow God.  Isaiah warned about what would happen if the people didn’t listen to God.  And so Isaiah’s message was not easy for the people to hear.

But in Isaiah’s message there is also good news.  Isaiah also gave the people a message of hope, grace, forgiveness.

Isaiah 7:14, 9:2, 9:6, 11:6-9, 40:3-5, 43:16, 18-19, 25

Isaiah talked about the Messiah, Jesus, whom God would send to be a Savior for the people.  Through Isaiah’s message we can see that God doesn’t give up on his people.  And we can trust that God won’t give up on us.

Who are the prophets today?

How are they calling and warning us?

How might God be calling you to be God’s messenger in the world today?

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8

To listen to this week’s sermon,  The Beginning of the End, Sermon 2/3 in “No Outlet” The Story Mini-Series, click here! 

For Family Devotions related to this week’s message, click here!

For more information and additional resources for The Story at Faith UMC, click here!


About faithumchurch

Spiritual Formation Director at Faith United Methodist Church in North Canton, Ohio
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