What would happen if Jesus came to preach at your church? How would you respond? Well, Jesus has come to preach there through His word, and His word is for us just as surely as it was for this synagogue in Galilee 2,000 years ago.

In our passage, Jesus is back in His hometown. He is in the synagogue that He grew up attending every Sabbath day. And He's got a word for them. How would you have expected them to respond? Were you shocked at their response to what He had to say? What in the world did Jesus say to them to make them so mad? And how in the world could anybody have dealt with Jesus in this sort of way?

I believe that Jesus' words to these church-going Jewish folk in Nazareth are particularly applicable to us well-scrubbed, well-heeled, church-going folk that care a lot about looking religiously good even when inside our lives tell a different story. And I want to suggest to you it's precisely Jesus putting His finger on that that enrages the people in the synagogue in this story.

I. What Jesus Teaches About Himself

The first thing I want you to see in this passage is what it teaches us about Jesus himself. They hand Him the scroll of Isaiah, and Jesus unrolls it and He deliberately finds the place where these words are written:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me

because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor...

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives,

the recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

And He rolls up the scroll, He gives it back to the attendant, and He sits down.

And you can feel the drama of this. This young man shows up at His hometown church and He reads from this passage which had huge significance for these people because this passage spoke to them of the return from exile and coming back to the land of Israel from Babylon. Yet, the old kingdoms of Judah and Israel were not reunited; there was no king from David's kingly line on the throne; and pagan polytheists were in charge of their country - Romans, for crying out loud! Every Jewish person was yearning for the day when everything was put right. And so Jesus reads from this scroll a passage that's about everything being put right, and He sits down, and all eyes are on Him and what does He say?

"Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

Jesus is saying that He is the man that God has sent to do this, and that He will do this. He can set captives free, give sight to the blind, bring relief to the oppressed, and bring help to the poor. Jesus is the anointed one.

And the people are astonished! Look at the language that they use: "They all spoke well of Him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming out of His mouth." But... some of them start saying, "Isn't this the carpenter's boy? I remember Him playing with my kids when He was growing up. Isn't this Joseph's son? That's the Anointed of the Lord? Come on!" The people in Nazareth do not believe Jesus is who He says He is, and has done what He has done. In other words, they are gripped with unbelief. They're impressed with His speaking, they are hopeful at His message, but they don't believe who He is and what He's done.

II. What Jesus Teaches About Our Sin and Need

Suddenly the happy homecoming turns into a mob lynching. Their plan is to take Him out to the edge of town and literally to throw Him off a cliff.

Why? Because instead of being convicted of their sins that He had uncovered and discovered they're going to "protect themselves." They're not going to admit what their hearts are like. They're not going to allow the convicting work of the Holy Spirit to show them what they're really like. No, they're going to get rid of the problem, and the problem is not their sin - the problem is Jesus! They are not going to have anybody speaking truth into their lives.

And, my friends, maybe you wouldn't grab Jesus today and take Him out to the outskirts of town and try and kill Him if He were preaching to you, but if Jesus is meddling in your heart and showing you your sin and you reject His conviction, you're no different from the crowd that tried to kill Him that day.

And He's got a word for us here. You see, Jesus says He has come to proclaim good news to the poor. That must mean that there are some poor that need good news. He says He's come to proclaim liberty to captives. That must mean that there are some people that are captive that need liberation. He says He's come here to give sight to the blind. That must mean that there are some good church-going folks that are spiritually blind. But there are a lot of people that are working really hard to believe that they're free when they're not. Some people are so committed to acting as if they're free when they know that they're not, that they're ready to kill people who tell them that they're not free. And that's what happened to Jesus.

III. What Jesus Teaches About the Good News

Now here's the good news. Jesus said He had come as the Anointed of the Lord to proclaim good news to people who are sinners like this. But until we admit who we are, until we admit our need we play the game of denial and blame-shifting. And if we play the game of appearances, then we miss the gracious hand of Jesus reaching out to us with good news.

But there are a lot of you that are trying to do that with your sin. You can fix it up. You can clean it up.

You can get that outfit clean. You can be ready to stand before the Lord. But it just gets bigger and bigger. And you see what Jesus is saying to you? He's saying, that kind of stain only comes out with one thing: it comes out with His blood.

You see what Jesus is saying is that He is going to absorb what your sin deserves, so that in His blood you are really washed and made clean. You're not going to be papered over; your sin is going to be liquidated in Him.

"He who knew no sin became sin so that you might know the righteousness of God in Him." "At the right time, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly."

Let's be Christians that are ready to be done with appearances, ready to admit who we are, and admit how much we need Jesus. And let's find grace that we never dared hope existed, offered to us freely in Him. I guarantee you He will do this thing. Listen to what He says: "He has anointed Me to proclaim good news...." Why? Because He was going to shed His blood so that that good news would be real.