Vicar Matt Doebler
Matins Devotion: April 17, 2023
The gospel is good news for those who want good news. It’s good news for the poor who always seem to be targets for exploitation. It’s good news for those who are living in captivity to addictions they can’t break. It’s good news for those who have been living without hope so long that their eyes have grown blind and they’ve stopped looking. It’s good news for those whose lives have been shattered into pieces by the sin and wickedness of this world. For those who know they need to be healed, rescued, forgiven, and made whole—the gospel is good news.
And that’s Jesus’ big announcement here in our reading from Luke this morning. He is a preacher of the gospel, yes. But he is more than that. He is the substance of the gospel. He is the one who is anointed with the Spirit of the Lord. He is the one who is the healer, the rescuer, the forgiver, and the bringer of God’s peace and wholeness. He is the promise. He is the fulfilment. He is the good news.
The problem with these folks in Nazareth though is that they don’t want good news. They don’t see themselves as poor or blind. They don’t think of themselves as addicts or slaves. They are good, hard-working, pious people. Life is a little boring here in Nazareth. They want a hometown hero. Word has gotten to them about all the amazing things Jesus—the hometown kid—has been doing in other places. Finally, something good has come out of Nazareth! Something that inflates their ego. Something they can feel like bragging about. They want more from Jesus than good news. What they really want is to see him dance. They want a show.
This conflict in Nazareth lets us see a bit more of the beauty of the resurrection miracle. The resurrection was the most incredible display of God’s power ever to happen in all of creation. And who was there to see it? Just a few Roman guards who fell down like dead men. Because Jesus’s resurrection wasn’t a spectacle that God performed to entertain and awe the masses. But to comfort those who sorrow over their poverty. Who long to look upon hope. Who yearn for freedom from addiction. Who cry out for God’s mercy in the midst of their shattered lives. For all those who live in the fear of the shadow of death, the resurrection is the most beautiful miracle that no one ever saw. Because it is the most beautiful word that ears have ever heard. It is the good news that death is conquered, sins are forgiven, and the year of the Lord’s favor is now among us. It is the good news of promise made and promise kept. It is the good news that Jesus is more than a hometown hero—Jesus is Lord of all.
Alleluia, Christ is risen!