Imagine what it must’ve been like 2,000 years ago in the temple. You are one of the crowd, in the local synagogue that you are a member of, worshipping on the Sabbath as you always do, and this upstart Rabbi is in attendance. You don’t know what to make of him, supposing he is just like any other of the many Rabbis you have listened to in you life. Now you are older, past the prime of your life and you are pretty sure you have witnessed it all. As you walk by you give him a cursory glance, sizing him up. He doesn’t look special, average in all appearances, so you dismiss him.
Everyone has made it to their place in gathering room. You are in your customary spot, near the front and to the right of the lectern. The meeting begins in the usual way and you participate in the rituals. On this occasion, since there is a visiting Rabbi, the Synagogue leader carries the scroll to him so that he can do the reading. As the Synagogue leader approaches the visiting Rabbi stands up to receive the scroll. And he reads:
“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
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
What just happened? I have never that read in that way before. You sit there like everyone else, mouth agape, head straining to see him because he sat back down after returning the scroll to the Synagogue leader. The leader is just standing there, frozen. The whole congregation seems to holding their breath but they do no why. Suddenly, he says in a clear voice, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
You are like, “What? What just happened?” But you know what happened, You have been a witness to something extraordinary, something that can only be divine, from the God you worship. And so it is, you have to make a choice about this Rabbi because there was something in way he read from Isaiah that prodded your brain and lit a spark in your soul. Without provocation, a thought enters into you head: the Messiah has come.
What a day!