Jesus of Nazareth—Messiah!

10 Apr

from Google Images

When Jesus was at Nazareth on the particular Sabbath that Isaiah 61:1-2a was to be read, it turned out to be a fateful day for the whole world. The Messiah, in the person of the Son of God had finally come. He was important not only to the Jews as their promised royal descendant of David, but he was also important to the gentiles through God’s promise to Eve (Genesis 3:15). In fact, according to the Jewish Targum on Genesis 4, Eve thought Cain was the promised Messiah, believing the Savior would come immediately. It is really thought provoking that she presumed the Messiah would be the Angel of the Lord:

And Adam knew Hava his wife, who had desired the Angel; and she conceived, and bare Kain; and she said, I have acquired a man, the Angel of the Lord.[1] [Targum Pseudo-Jonathan – Compare Genesis 4:1-2] (emphasis mine)

Psalm 2 concerns the coronation of the Messiah (Psalm 2:2) and alludes to conflict between him and both Jewish and gentile authorities. In verses 7 to 9 we find that God tells his Son to ask, and he (God) will give him (the Son or Messiah) the nations, he (the Messiah) will rule them with a scepter of iron. Psalm 2 is a record of conflict and warning, but Isaiah 61:1-2a speaks of grace, forgiveness and liberty. Both passages are Messianic, but they seem to express the Lord’s public ministry differently.

At least according to Jesus’ interpretation of Isaiah 61 (Luke 4:19), the passage he read in Nazareth incorporated the intent of the whole of his public ministry. He hadn’t come to make war, as was generally assumed, at least not the sort of war we have come to understand through our own behavior. Rather, the Messiah had come to preach Good News to the meek (poor), to feed them (Isaiah 61:5-6, 11), cloth them (Isaiah 61:10), shelter them (Isaiah 61:4) and draw near to them in their affliction (John 1:1, 14; cf. Isaiah 58:7; James 1:27). Although the Messiah did come to break the nations is pieces (Psalm 2:9), he didn’t come to do so through violence. Rather, it was through his Spirit pleading with our spirits (John 16:8; cf. Ezekiel 20:35) that his will would be accomplished. The term: “rule with a rod of iron” concerns a spiritual battle in which the Messiah would wage war and rule through his word. Notice how the phrase is used in Psalm 2:6-9 and compare it with how it is used in Revelation 19:15, where it is expressed as a “sword” that proceeds out of his mouth (cf. Isaiah 11:1-4). Jesus’ disciples are also called to rule the nations with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:27), but notice what Paul claims about our battle armor:

Ephesians 6:11-17 KJV  Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  (12)  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  (13)  Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  (14)  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  (15)  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  (16)  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  (17)  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

What is of particular interest to this study is verse-17 where Paul tells us to take “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God!” In other words Jesus, the Messiah, makes war with the nations through preaching the Gospel—i.e. the word of God, the sword of the Spirit, the sword that proceeds out of his mouth (Revelation 1:16). It is with this rod that he, the Messiah, both judges and makes war (Revelation 19:11-15)! In this perspective even the war Jesus wages against the Jewish and gentile authorities of Psalm 2 is a war of grace, forgiveness and setting at liberty those held captive by another.

Luke 4:18-19 Isaiah 61:1-2a Isaiah 58:6-7
Preach the good news to the poor Preach good news to the meek 1.       deal your bread to the hungry

2.      bring the poor (cast out) into your home

3.      cover the naked

4.      don’t hide from your own flesh

Heal the brokenhearted Bind up the brokenhearted undo heavy burdens
Preach deliverance to the captives Proclaim liberty to the captives let the oppressed go free
…recovering of sight to the blind Open the prison to them that are bound break every yoke
Set at liberty them that are bruised loose the bands of wickedness
Preach an acceptable year of the Lord Proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord Is this not the fast that I have chosen?


This is the fast God has chosen (Isaiah 58:6). That is, the Son of God, who had been equal with God (Philippians 2:6), emptied himself (made himself poor – 2Corinthians 8:9; 9:9-10) in order to be **with** us (Philippians 2:7; cf. John 1:1, 14) and lift us up; so that in his death (Philippians 2:8) he would be able to destroy the works of him who had made us poor, enslaved us, and broke our lives in pieces (Hebrews 2:14; cf. 1John 3:8).


[1] If one cannot agree that Eve would have this depth of understanding, we still must come to grips with the understanding of Jewish targumist of the 1st century AD or before who wrote that she did. See a study I offered quite awhile ago on my main blogsite, entitled “Eve’s Messianic Expectations”.

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Posted by on April 10, 2019 in Gospel of Luke


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